The sister-in-law, asked me the other day what we do to entertain ourselves in the evenings… so in summary then:
- Drink gin & tonic (if we’re lucky and the bar stocks it/hasn’t run out)
- Drink beer
Normally in that order and normally during and/or after sunset. It’s my favourite time of the day; the heat drops, shadows are cast from little hillocks of sand and the sun trails behind a palette of citrus, setting fire to a technicolor skyline.
We’ve been lucky enough to meet some jolly folk on our merry ramblings across the African continent. . There was German Michael, a fatherly and knowledgeable fellow, cheeky Danish Danny, an absolute sweetheart and Spanish Carlos, who had a great many countries under his belt. All seasoned travelers who motivated us to the top of a hot
mountain, taught us addictive card games and the classic foreign-friend initiation: rudest ways to swear in their language.
Senga bay brought forth another four fun chums to drink and laugh the night away with. hailing from the motherland this time: Lois, Louise, Adam and Jenny. Having dismissed the idea of venturing out to sample the local nightlife on our own, with extra group members to swell our numbers, meant that it was now a possibility.
A recommendation from the owner confirmed that it was safe to leave the gates of the hostel and head to the nearby drinking den, warning as we left ‘ be careful – the men will want to marry, the women will want you out of there‘. The local bar consisted of a large concrete room, a pool table at its heart and some loud raunchy lady-videos on the TV. Bottles of Malawi gin lined the bar, but all of us opted for beers from the fridge – gotta take a cold beer when you can get it! Our presence – particularly that of the ladybabes – delighted the local men who couldn’t believe their drunken luck! Mzungus! As predicted, snotty looks were shot at us from the only other ladies present. These were prostitutes who saw us as competition. We sat and chatted with them for a while, being ever made aware how differently each others lives had played out. Chicken kebabs laid out on a small homemade BBQ made tasty bar snacks for the hungry. Wandering back through the dark sandy night by phone torch light, we discovered that our own bar at Cool Runnings had closed for the night. What to do when such a tragedy strikes? We clubbed together whatever alcoholic liquid we could find: 1 small bottle of tonic + 1 litre bottle of vodka between 6! Sensing our dilemma, the security guard then piped up with an offer of running an beverage errand on our behalf, for a small tip of course. I love Africa.
One of the giggliest nights in my living memory was born quite naturally in a bar in Cape Maclear with two South African dudes, Steve and Clinton. The chucklesome duo were kayaking the entire length of the lake and two weeks in, had drummed up some crazy tales; a hippo attack which took them, understandably unawares and the negotiation of a what could have been a very terrifying robbery. They had been held up by six men wielding pangas (machetes) who stole from them all their belongings. Seeing it as a right pain in the royal proverbial, Steve and Clinton managed to negotiate the return of everything except their money because really, what did these guys need with a GPS, their passports and a camera? Only in uber-friendly Malawi! Check out their kayak journey on: earthsea.org. The same night of hilarity also brought into our lives, three lovely ladies: Lindsey, Ashleigh and Grace (all volunteers), two locals: staff from Mumbo Island (X-ray-Axley- and Hester) and a Dutch NGO whose name I never learnt. My favourite game of all time: ‘would you rather’ was our entertainment of choice and it wasn’t long before we were being reduced to tears of laughter. There were hilarious consequences when X-ray finally worked out the rules and posed a question to Clint in great detail, involving beheading various family members. At first, listening nervously, nobody knew where the story was going (it all sounded a bit voodoo/confessional) but ended up being right on the money so I’ll definitely be taking it back to the UK! A lot of silliness ensued that night, mainly involving animals, but that’s all I’m going to say, otherwise you might think sh*t had gotten weird.
I’ll leave you with some inspirational words from Steve:
Live in uncomfortable places,
Destroy your reputation,