Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The joys of travel kuno ku Malawi

The day started off super hot and sunny. It has been like that all week. Not quite Hot Season hot, but walking out in the bright sun is not pleasant, and pretty much whatever I do I will be covered in sweat. There have been some thunder rumbles the last couple days, but no accompanying rain.

So off to the Boma I went this afternoon, to meet up with a couple PCV friends and discuss our plans for World Malaria Month next month. While we were having lunch, it started pouring. Of course. But by the time we finished it wasn't so bad. More a light sprinkling.

There weren't many mini-buses about, and I hate sitting at the bus depot waiting for the mini-bus to fill up, so I decided to take a bike-taxi. The easiest way to catch one is to start walking. They'll ride by and ask where you are going. So I start walking towards the next village. You know what happened next, right? Yep, it started raining. So at this point my only options are to a) wait it out at a shop, b) try to catch a mini-bus or c) keep on going and catch a bike-taxi.

Well, I'm not afraid of a little rain so I decide to keep going, and soon a bike-taxi guy stops and picks me up.

We go flying down the hill, and the rain starts coming down faster, and we are both totally soaked. People are laughing and pointing at us as we go by because apparently I am the only person in Malawi that would take a bike-taxi in the rain without an umbrella. And I can't keep my eyes open because the rain is hurting them, which makes me wonder how the bike-dude is keeping his eyes open, which I really hope he is, and I start to get kinda scared and I wonder if this is how I will die. But then we slow down as we approach the destination, and I get off and all is fine. Soaked, but fine.

After I ran my errands in the trading center, it was time to take a mini-bus home. I had to negotiate a bit to get the normal price because the conductor wanted to charge me the Azungu-tax (as in they charge me a higher price for being a foreigner cuz they think I don't know any better), but I was firm and he gave me the real price.

There were already a few people on the mini-bus so I opted for the third row which only had one man in it. He had stuff next to him, which he wasn't moving, but I moved into the row so he picked up the stuff and held it on his lap. Then a man gets on the bus, takes the stuff from the guy in the seat next to me, and angrily says to him, "You don't speak good English". Then he sat in the row behind me which already had two men sitting in it. So I guess I inadvertently took his seat, and he was blaming the man next to me for not saying anything. I would have felt bad, but it was kind of funny too.

Later a woman hailed the mini-bus down and there was a bit of a discussion. She only had K100, but it was K160 to get to her destination. I think she was on the way to the health clinic so she was probably sick. The driver and conductor decided to let her on for K100. That was really nice of them. Of course they made her sit in the first row facing backwards in the seat that isn't really a seat. But it was still nice.

Another day of traveling in Malawi. I think I will be able to handle any and all public transport when I get back to America.

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