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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Malawi: Lake, Smog & People

One of the poorest countries in the world.  We arrived at a difficult time in this country.  Fuel shortage has led to long queues of vehicles outside every petrol station, ready to battle over what little fuel is made available.  Prices of everyday products, we were told, had shot up to unbearable levels for the Malawian people.  Corruption was endemic and we saw teams of policemen collecting ad hoc, unjustified and undocumented fines from those motorists who had enough petrol to cruise.  Crime was also rampant, and we were warned not to wonder on the streets on foot.

The fuel shortage caused enormous uncertainties over the simplest of all: city tour of the capital, Lilongwe.  We had to wait for the guesthouse to secure fuel for a day trip to the famous Lake Malawi, whose biodiversity had earned it UNESCO World Heritage status.  Ultimately, even our exit to Zambia was at doubt, but eventually resolved when our lodge managed to find sufficient fuel.  Or so we were told, perhaps even that was a ploy, to perpetuate an atmosphere of panic and an attempt to squeeze precious dollars from us.  Who knows... 

Malawian cuisine was uninspiring and I felt unwell after all the drastic swings in weather from cold to hot to cold.  This certainly wasn't the most memorable episode of our odyssey.

Posted via email from Nomadic Republic2

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