Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Blantyre to Mangochi

The room, at the Mt. Soche was well air conditioned – a high compliment as opposed to other criteria such as comfort and cleanliness. Helene and I had dinner at a restaurant next to the Protea Ryall Hotel – the number one choice of Trip Advisor and we made reservations there for Monday and Tuesday of next week when we return to Blantyre. The rooms are much nicer but let’s hope the air conditioning works.

Because of the good A/C and a queen sized bed we slept fairly well. Breakfast is provided in virtually all hotels in Malawi so we headed to the dining room. We had a fairly typical breakfast – omelets, toast, etc. Noel, the department head showed up around 10 and we met for a few hours discussing the sections of the workshop. He had a need to identify each section for every day and to indicate when the tea breaks would happen.

Lunch, packing and our driver picked us up around 2. First a stop at the People’s Grocery store for water and peanut and then a brief stop at the Polytech Management development centre and then on our way to Mangochi.

The terrain was quite surprising to me. I’m not sure what I was expecting but the rolling areas as well as climbing and descending mountains was a surprise. The vegetation went from basic scrub to forests and with every inch in between filled with maize/corn plants or tobacco. Housing/shelter was either red brick covered with thatch or completely made out of thatch.

The highway was a two lane highway with many, many, many people walking on either side and filled with cars, bikes and the occasional motorcycle. This didn’t cause our driver (Fredson) to slow down it only encouraged him to use his horn more.

Needless to say the air conditioning didn’t work so we drove with the windows down – the breeze was nice but the humidity and heat built throughout the day.

Out of Blantyre, past Zomba, past the Liwonde Barradge and finally through Mangochi and out to the lakeshore resort called Sun and Sand – another one of the Sunbird chain.

We have a bungalow right on the water – 506. A front room with a tv, sofa and chair and a bunk bed. Down a hallway, bathroom on the right – fairly large and a nice sized bedroom with a queen sized bed, a tv and mosquito netting.

No internet tonight – perhaps tomorrow – I’m told

Dinner was complimentary and was a barbecue with tables set up on the grass – made me a bit nervous to be on the grass in the middle of Malaria country but no one else seemed to mind. The BBQ was steak (without steak knives) chicken and Chambo – a local fish.

We met many of the people that will be at the workshop tomorrow and sat for quite a while enjoying the steaming heat.


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