Sunday 25 Feb
So many islands and palm trees!
The capital of Malawi doesn't really exist. It's just a small collection of buildings surrounded by some dirt roads and some market stalls. I caught a minibus from there to a nearby town, along with 30 other people and 250 chickens -- no joke. Then I caught a bike to a small harbour: in this part of the world, it's quite normal to catch a lift on a bicycle rather than in a taxi.
I spent an amazing day and a half on a large ferry that chugged its way up Lake Malawi. Every time it stopped, I and the other four white people on board jumped from the top into the water below. It was a 12-metre fall and lots of fun until we noticed some floating shit that had come from the boat. We later found out that there are crocodiles in the water. It was nice of people to warn us!
We disembarked on a small island in Mozambican territorial waters. It was dark and we had no idea where we were. A small boat took us away from the few lights on the island to a small embankment on the opposite side. There a man with a torch and no English took us on a 20-minute walk through the bush and across the rocks to a small beach where we were to spend the next few nights.
We went snorkelling and did all of the usual things one does on an island, but the most exciting part was visiting the local witch doctor. The guy is a complete nut case. We heard him before we saw him. He was making strange loud noices. Then our he came into a nearby courtyard. Everyone in eyeshot of him crouched to the ground, as if the guy were a god. He then proceeded to climb a small mound of sand and stand on his head. A woman then spread flour around the mound, which the chickens in the vacinity promptly ate.
He was incredibly intimidating to begin with. He carried a machete and a whip. He did strange things with his eyes. I was afraid of making eye contact with him. Then he broke a smile and insisted that we take photos of him. He was a complete show-off and a complete joke.
Some local men the next day rowed us four kilometres to an even smaller island, where there wasn't much food but there was plenty of alcohol. So alcohol for us became a food substitute.
I'm now in Zanzibar -- part of Tanzania, although the folk in Zanzibar won't acknowledge that (we even got our passports stamped when we arrived). There are many more tourists here than on the Malawian islands, but that's good because we're not pestered as much by local kids thinking that we're here to save them from their woes.
There will be some more photos soon!