All. Night. Long….. the wind howled to the point it blew my curtain so hard, it pushed the fan that couldn’t work, over onto the floor in the middle of the night making me wonder if someone was breaking in through my window. Not a good feeling let me tell you! It was a Saturday night last night and there must have been a wedding or something cause all night long you could hear revellers in the street, drunk and whoohooing, and then come into the lodge and down the halls…letting their kids shriek and run while they caroused themselves, while we lay in our dark sweat pits trying to flush puke and poop down toilets with not enough water, in the dark, hoping our aim on all fronts was good.
Good morning. (Typed through gritted teeth and a grimace)
Knock knock on my door at 0730. Yes? I call out from my sweat pit. No answer.
Knock knock on my door at 0735. Yes? I call out again, not wanting to answer the door in my finest birthday suit…knowing it isn’t one of my peeps with our secret knock pattern….still no answer.
Knock knock in my door at 0740. WHAT ?!?! I shriek, this time pissed off…no wake up call has been requested, I feel like crap and want to sleep! No answer.
Knock, kn….. STATE YOUR BUSINESS!!!!! As I fling open the door in a t-shirt I have dragged on…. Outside stood a man with a new bucket of water and notice my breakfast was ready. Harrumph. I guess the morning has started without my blessing, again.
I make myself look more like human than wild animal as best I can given what I have to work with. The group is sitting around the table as I stagger in. We all commiserate on the restful sleep we have been denied and pack up to get out of Dodge right after Lee makes the decision he will come to regret later with his breakfast choices.
We have our second day off and we are going to a fancy place right on the beach of Lake Malawi called the Sun ‘n’ Sand Resort. Picture a Cuban or Mexican type resort. It was very nice, very well priced, but like something out of The Walking Dead. I am told this is one of the top 3 fanciest resorts in the country, but there isn’t another soul there initially besides us. Walking down all the rows of rooms with their outdoor patios and not a sound of anyone else can be heard. It is like they have all been killed, or there are zombies waiting to get us around the next corner in an ambush. Sadly, I am without my favourite pitchfork. Not long later, there are a few other vacationers that can be seen around the pool and by the restaurant. For a resort whose capacity is near a thousand or more I would imagine, being 5-12/1000 here is odd.
After the two hour drive from the Hippo area, we have seen elephant trees that actually do look like the legs of elephants in both size, color and stature (pics later of course) that are called Boabab trees, we have seen brick kilns cooking away, stick bundles being collected to thatch roofs with for protection and fields upon fields and other random looking areas burning. It seems that they are always burning something here. Grass? Garbage? Trees? No idea what? And thousands of people carrying unimaginable things on their bicycles and their heads down the road without a second thought.
We take some time to crash into our rooms with the power, the shower, the AC and the lovely resort. Soon enough Dick and Aaron are ready to explore and the three of us are looking to find something to put us out of our misery with. Lee is cramping, my stomach is so hard and bloated and doing things best not typed here. I look six months pregnant and can’t stand the pressure of anything around my belly. Poor Alynne has the added blessing of puking out every single thing that goes in her mouth. Excellent way to spend at a lovely place on our last day off before heading out to a village with no water, power, toilets etc…90 minutes to commute from our scheduled lodge that is an additional 90 minutes from the main city with amenities and better choices to have around if you are sick as a dog…..for another five days.
Something has to give.
We start taking our Cipro that we brought for this exact eventuality, and go back to laying down watching movies, or surfing the web as we have WiFi at this resort. Things do not improve over the course of the day, over the night, or into the next day.
It doesn’t seem smart to the three of us that we continue with our goals and objectives. Like I was once told when I was on a trip a long way from home in surroundings that were foreign to me and things were not going well…..This isn’t a test of endurance. Nor is it smart to be battling GI issues for days, while being hours away from help, so we are done.
Africa has beaten us, and we are tapping out.
Aaron and Dick bring us back to Lilongwe after a four hour drive in his pickup the next morning after breakfast we can’t either eat or keep in. We drove through switchbacks and mountains until we can find a hotel in the heart of things with what we need to hole up with till we can make arrangements to change our flights, ride it out till Friday if we cannot, or go to a hospital if required. We arrive just before lunch, but lunch is not something we are having any part of!!!
Dick and Aaron carry on to the final leg of the trip and the three of us collapse into bed for the next eight hours. I know this to be true because except for the need to foul the bathroom all we do is watch four movies in a row, while eating moist crackers that I grabbed from the resort gift shop. How on earth is a nice light buttery, flaky cracker moist?!?! It shouldn’t be. EVER. However, when sitting in an air conditioned room is unable to prevent the sweat from rolling down your flesh, I would imagine crackers can’t stand up to the humidity either.
Supper is attempted and failed. The bed and the pillow win this battle.