Friday, March 4, 2011

Day 142 - Senga Bay to Nhkata Bay, Malawi

It was raining hard, monsoon like rain.  Frank showed up at 8am as promised to deliver the carvings for the shirt I gave him yesterday.  He was going to bring some paintings I may be interested in as well.  He actually came wearing the shirt I gave him.   He didn’t feel right doing business on the lodge premise so he motioned to a beat up wooden pontoon boat resting on the beach.  I got soaked walking the 50 feet from the beach lodge to the cover of the boat. We hunkered under the deck of the boat to get out of the pouring rain where he proceeded to lay out the canvas paintings.  Rain dripped through the cracks in the wood onto the paintings as I thumbed through them.  His colleage tried his best to keep the water off with an umbrella.  He handed over the key chains he made out of mahogany.  3 pieces for the trade of the T-Shirt.  Very nice carvings.  I found a painting of a tall African woman with a baby done in black and white.  I handed over my flip flops.

 The boat where our business was done is just past the fence.

I walked back to the lodge and was dripping wet, soaked right through.  Decided on waiting out the storm because there’s nothing worse than starting a ride in the rain.  Finally, around 10am it stopped raining so I loaded the bike, said my goodbyes to Leon and Ingrid and hoped the dirt road through the village out to the highway was not too muddy and slippery.  Turned out to be not too bad except for a few dicey spots.  

Took the coastal road (M5) up to Nhkata Bay and the last 50kms were amazing twisties which I hadn’t seen for some time.  What a ride!  One curve led into another and it just continued on.  Wow.  Nice pavement too.  Couple more police barricades and I was in Nhkata Bay.  Didn’t realize the last kilometre to the Makoya Lodge was a rocky, rutted, dirt road that climbed a hill, did a switch back and came down to where the lodge was.  It was a little nerve racking as I had to dodge people, animals, bicycles along with trying to pick a line through the mess of the road without dumping the bike in one of the ruts.

 One of the lakes I saw during the ride.  I can only assume it was muddy from all the rain washing the hill side dirt into the rivers that drained into the lake.

What a place this lodge was!  All the cabins were built into the side of the hill with moss covered stone walkways meandering around them connecting the cabins, restaurant, bar and reception area.  Every cabin with an amazing view of the lake and all of them rustic in appearance.  No beach to speak of but it had a nice cove with some fishing boats and a multi tiered deck just off the restaurant.  Got myself cabin #15, a stone and wood two level rustic structure with an en suite. The en suite being on the upper level.  Had to climb 10 stairs along a stone corridor.  It had a tree as the center support beam in the middle.  Two balconies with magnificent views of the lake, coffee machine and a fan ... all for 20USD! 

Spent last night talking from about 7pm to 1am to a Portuguese guy who had been working in Angola, a Kenyan woman from one of the most violent tribes and her American boyfriend and a Malawian guy about African politics in Kenya.  Wow.  The woman herself was part of the last election corruption where one million votes needed to be fabricated.  She added zeros to some of the ballet counts.  The Malawian summed it up, “Africa is immature when it comes to politics”  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, blatant corruption and violence.  “Welcome to Africa”, was the Malawian’s response.  He looked very dejected.

 My humble cabin

Side note:  I had noticed that the emergency service vehicles, ambulances in particular, were either old Land Rovers or a pick up trucks with a cap on the box.  Wonder what the inside of these things looks like?

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