Phew! We made a second trip to Malawi and it was… eventful. The trip started with Jon needing to break the telescoping handle of my suitcase at the airport because it wouldn’t go down. More importantly, we got to go to a lovely wedding of one of Jon’s colleagues, Katie, and her awesome Malawian husband, Adam. The trip was also filled with time with friends, good food and the warm Malawian culture. But there were certainly a few hiccups along the way…
We arrived on a Friday afternoon and went to Jon’s office so he could do some work before we left for the weekend at Lake Malawi. (As you may recall, my first visit to Lake Malawi was challenging so I was excited to be visiting in the winter this time.) We arrived at the hotel – a nice place with stunning views of the lake – and went to the rehearsal dinner. We met lots of nice people and Jon was reunited with people he knew when he lived in Malawi from 2010 – 2012. Showing their real harmony as an international couple, a ‘braai’ was started (our first real braai was on our hiking trip in January) to make s’mores! (The bride’s sister even brought Hershey’s bars and marshmallows from the U.S.! Now THAT’S commitment to authenticity and I like it.) What was a seemingly simple trip around the fire to roast my marshmallow ended with me running into a pile of logs, tripping over them, tearing a hole in my pants and holding the s’more in the air the whole time, yelling, “It’s still good! The s’more is good!” (Fast-forward 10 minutes, it wasn’t. Sand everywhere…) 😦 I tried to shake off the embarrassment of falling on my face in front of strangers and Jon and I went to talk to some folks. Then, we noticed that my foot was super bleeding and then, as if out of nowhere, it started to KILL. So, we went to wash it off* and… I’ll spare you all of the details. Let’s just say there were puncture wounds, lacerations and a partial detachment. Needless to say, I wish I’d been drunk when this happened because what was initially a gross mess ended up being a super annoying infection that I’m still dealing with almost two weeks later. Yahoo! (I decided not to post all of the gross pictures I took for fear of someone reading this over their lunch break. Feel free to message me if you’re curious and I’ll send them.)
Jon and I decided to make the most of the next day so we hung out around the lake, played games and got ready for the wedding. The wedding was lovely and filled with so much happiness. It was really nice to be there and meet more of Jon’s colleagues and friends. (It seems to be customary here to invite everyone you know, essentially, so there were a ton of people there. It was great!) I couldn’t really dance – my FAVORITE part of a wedding reception – so we headed out shortly after that started and went to bed. The next day, we checked out of the hotel, drove to Lilongwe and ran some errands – we bought airtime for our cell phones, changed money from U.S. Dollars to Malawian Kwacha, bought first aid supplies, got followed around the parking lot by people asking for money, etc. By that point, I was tired and fed up so we went to our hotel, Latitude 13. We were excited to try this newly-renovated, hip hotel that was in town and close to things I could check out while Jon was at work. Long story short, we had a lot of drama with them (see my rage-filled TripAdvisor review) and ended up at Kumbali Country Lodge, where Jon usually stays. It’s a lovely, professional and easy-going place.
I ended up going to the local hospital for my foot which was an interesting and pleasantly-easy experience. (In the U.S., I’m guessing it would’ve taken much longer… I’ve never been to the hospital as a patient but I’ve heard horror stories…) The one interesting thing was that the x-ray technician was sick and it apparently took the replacement tech 2 hours to show up that day. The MD was not pleased… No break, yes infection, I got some antibiotics and we were on our way.
Throughout the trip, we got to have some really yummy meals with friends and some solo dinner dates for some Crisp-time. We also went to a trivia night at a local bar and came in 1st! It was so much fun… (Let’s just say that the puzzle involving different egg dishes made my month.)
I left before Jon – he still had a few meetings to go to – so he took me to the airport and I started the journey home with a group of the most annoying American men I’ve seen since college. (Actually, it felt like they were grown-up frat boys…) Drinking beers, complaining about the ‘luxury lounge’ at the airport, yelling across the waiting area, etc. Blech. I got to the airport, got my visitor’s visa renewed (phew) and drove myself home from the airport. (My first time driving on the left side of the road without Jon in the car! A possibly silly feat to some but I was very proud of myself.)
So, all in all, this trip was much more successful! (The foot thing was decidedly NOT Malawi’s fault.) 🙂 Looking forward to our next visit to ‘The Warm Heart of Africa’!
– By Naama
*Thanks to Risa and Brad for helping me when I got injured despite the temptation of s’mores and alcohol that they were missing out on.