Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Malawi vs Moldova: Porridge

Porridge is a delicious, filling way to start the day. Just ask Goldilocks and the three bears. It is also a popular breakfast in both Malawi and Moldova. Which one do you think Goldilocks would choose?


In Chichewa we call this "phala". It is made by mixing maize flour with boiling water and adding a little salt. It is typically served with Malawian brown sugar, which Colii pointed out is not brown sugar at all, but just unrefined cane sugar. But it says brown sugar on the bag!

I make this most days except for the peak of hot season (which is just around the corner). I use the whole-grain maize flour known as "ngaiwa". My preferred toppings include sugar, dried fruit, and banana slices. Sometimes I make it with a little pumpkin pie spice. Mmmm!


In Romanian, hot cereal is "terci" (pronounced "tairch"). The type below is basically the same as Cream of Wheat, but i don't know what kind of grain it is here. Mama-G makes it for me at least once a week. I think she makes it with milk, butter, and sugar. Sometimes she busts out the homemade preserves that i'll add to it. And there's always honey. But, like i said, she already sweetens it, so i usually don't add more sweetness to it...i already get enough sugar in Moldova.

Next to the terci is my black cafea (coffee). Moldovans don't understand how anyone can drink cafea or ceai (tea) without at least sugar...spoonfuls and spoonfuls of sugar. Mama-G knows i don't put sugar in my cafea or ceai, but most Moldovans will add it automatically before serving it. 

And, apparently i've lead by example cuz Mama-G doesn't put sugar in her ceai anymore! And she makes sure to tell me that she didn't put sugar in it! How cute is that?! She does, however, continue to eat bomboane (candy) and/or biscuiți (cookies) with it...but that's not new...she did that before too, so at least she's stopped adding MORE sugar to her tea! YAY! :oD

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Adventures in Malawi - Zomba

Our last stop before heading back to Stesi's village and then on to Moldova was a town called Zomba. We went to this quaint little restaurant where i got fresh tangerine juice - it was one of the best juices i've ever had! I got it again the next day.

Had to try goat. It was fine. I'm not a huge fan of meat (except for fish), so it was pretty much like all other meat.

We hiked up to some lookout points, which is where we were actually close enough to take pics of baboons! 

It was a pretty hazy day, but here's one of the lookout points.

And another one.

And just a cool pond we walked by on our way back to town.

We stayed at another really cool hostel in Zomba too. I finally got to eat avocado (guac, technically) on toast! I also got that 2 days in a row...avocados is one of my most missed foods...especially avocado on toast with a little salt and a toooooooon of fresh ground pepper. My mouth is watering just writing about it.

Adventures in Malawi - Boat Safari

First thing in the morning on our 1st full day at the safari camp we went on a boat safari which was soooooooooo coooooooool!!!!!!

By far, the most animals we saw were hippos. This is just one of many pods we encountered throughout the lake. 

We also had the honor of seeing 2 male elephants chillin' in the water! The night before, elephants had wandered through our camp. Stesi, me, and one of the camp workers had to hide behind a bamboo fence in the bathroom while we waited for a good 20 minutes for the elephant to finish eating from the tree about 20 feet away!

There are bald eagles in Malawi too!!

And crocs!

We also saw monkeys (not close enough for pictures) and sooooooooooo many different birds! Some of the birds had the neatest chirps! :o]

We had such a great time at the camp! I hope we get to go back next was worth the "ride from hell" to get there.

Adventures in Malawi - Safari Camp

Our next stop was to the Liwonde Safari Camp. The travel from Lake Malawi to here was the ride from hell that i wrote about on an earlier post under "Adventures in Malawi - Miscellaneous". Once we got to the actual camp, it was much MUCH better! This was definitely the highlight of the trip, in my opinion. The camp was super awesome and chill, the safari was a blast, and the people were friendly and very accommodating!

We stayed in a dorm-style room, and these are the mosquito nets all in a row over the beds.

The beautiful baobab trees!

Here is a Sausage Tree. Those yellowish things hanging from it are super heavy seed pods that could knock someone out (or maybe even kill someone) if it fell on them!

Stesi and me (my reflection is in the sunglasses).

This is the bar of the camp. The bar rules were on the honor based system. You could help yourself to whatever you wanted and then you wrote it down in a provided notebook, to be tallied at the end of your stay.

One side of the perimeter was just a wall of lounging couches.

This is a view looking at the bar from the couches.

Here is a canoe hollowed out from a tree trunk (common practice there). People use it to fish from (using the mosquito nets provided to them from the government).

And another Malawian sunset. I've never quite seen sunsets like in Malawi. Almost always the sun became bright was almost like the sunset was in the actual sun rather than the sun illuminating the colors surrounding it like i'm used to seeing in The States. Unfortunately, my sunset pics aren't great...they were much better in person.

Adventures in Malawi - Lake Malawi

Once Stesi was finally on "official" vacation, we went to Lake Malawi and stayed at a cool hostel that Stesi and her PCV friends had been to before. 

We walked around the town and came upon this really cool tree!

There were these "Chembe Water Project" ( taps throughout the town, which was really awesome. "The Chembe Water Project supplies the community of Cape Maclear with free, safe, clean drinking water by use of UV technology."

We helped ourselves. :o]

There's no escaping McDonald's i guess. ;op

One of the few remaining payphones in the world...and it's pink! I don't think it was actually operational though.

This was on the beach where our hostel was. It was an interesting location to have a hostel that caters to mostly Westerners. Next to the hostel, only partly separated by a bamboo fence, was the local village where the villagers did their normal everyday chores - washing clothes, dishes, and themselves in the lake. It was a surreal experience.

Just chillin' on the hammocks.
To the right is the bamboo fence that separates the hostel (tourist hotspot) from the village.

Malawian susnset. :o]