I asked Elious from Ecolodge if he could organize my motorcycle trip back to Monkey Bay. He later told me it was organized, so I didn't give too much thought about it, although I knew I had to be in Monkey Bay at latest at six. For security I took the driver's phone number. The next morning I woke up at 4.30 and was ready at quarter to five. At that time I called the driver to see if he was up and running, but got the operator's standard message which says the correspondent isn't available. So I waited and called again around five. He then answered and said he was on his way, but arrived only about 20 minutes later. When asked why he was late, he answered he was fixing the tyre up to 8 the previous night. At 5.30 we finally left for Monkey Bay. I wanted to leave at five in order to be comfortable on time and not to have to rush as the road wasn't all good and full of potholes. But that went to the monkeys. We sped along on the tar road and I was even more scared than on the way in. We got to Monkey Bay in one piece just in time for me to catch the bus. I only lost my bottle of water on the way. Small price to pay.
|Multiple entry visa for 3 months|
I finally got to Mzuzu and went to a church guesthouse that cost me MWK 1'000 for a dorm (about CHF 3). I ate supper there and afterward chatted with my fellow dorm mates. One of them was Mark, a New-Yorker who is volunteering for Peace Corps in Chitapa, in northern Malawi. At around nine we all went to sleep. My day had been tiresome enough for that.
The next morning we woke up at six and took the bus at 6.30 with Mark. He went back to Chitapa and I went to Karonga, the closest town to the Tanzanian border. The scenery on the road there is amazingly beautiful, and at some point after passing a long lush-green valley, went down the escarpment towards the lake. From there we were on the lake's shore most of the time. The bus ride had been easy and quick. It was not even half full.
As we got to Karonga around eleven, I decided to cross the border the same day. Walking towards the bus station, a minibus hailed me and I got in. We drove around the bus station a few times before finally heading off towards the border. It took us about an hour to get there. On the way we took on a guy with his pig. It squealed loudly every time they loaded or unloaded it.
So I took the ride, went to the bus station and paid the driver (it was difficult to know whom to pay as there always were several people talking to me and trying to get me to go with them and wanting payment for this or that). I gave him my TSH 10'000 note I had bought from Tim in Lusaka. I didn't get the 5'000 change back from him, but he swapped his note with some other guy saying I should get it from this other guy. This other guy (in a green shirt) took my bag and took it to a bus in which I went in. He tried to stay in the bus for whatever reason with other guys as well. But the operator finally threw them all out. Then I said I didn't get my change back and we drove back. I had to leave the bus as well and tried to sort it out with the green shirt man. But this one now said something about a commission and about 200 for him for whatever reason. I said he could sort it out with the taxi driver (as he thought he had kept my change) if he wanted any money. I didn't see why I should pay this guy for confusing me. Maybe that's the way in Tanzania. I got a little disheartened. I had changed MWK 2'000 to get TSH 7'500 on the black market just so I would have enough for my bus ride to Mbeya. But with my 5'000 change never coming back, I was short of 2'500. The bus took me on again after I finished fighting with the green shirt and another guy. He finally surrendered my bag and I got into the bus before getting hassled by other bus operators. All the time, at least four people tried to get my attention by shouting stuff at me for change, taxi, bus or whatever. And I got properly screwed. Fortunately the bus operator accepted my fate and took the 7'500 instead of the 10'000.
The scenery up to Mbeya was still amazingly beautiful.
They invited me to their village, as they have a spare bedroom. But that will be a story for another day.
So after two long days full of hassle, I finally got to Tanzania. I don't have a guide anymore, as my Southern Africa guide expired when I crossed the border to East Africa. Here in Tanzania is the first country I've visited where the people don't try to speak to the mzungu in English, but starts straightaway in Swahili. And when you don't understand, they just go on anyway. Kiswahili is a complex language where the noun comes before the verb and where prefixes change according to what comes next in the sentence.