Sat 25 Feb 2012 - Sun 26 Feb 2012
On Saturday we go out with the car which is exciting in itself! We go to Mandala House, the first brick house in Malawi, built around 1896. There is a coffee shop on the grounds and it looks like all the ex-pats of Blantyre are there on a Saturday morning. As a sign of feeling like settling in we even see a couple of people we know and exchange greetings – a nice feeling after such a short time here. Inside the house is an art gallery and craft shop, selling beautiful carved bits and bobs, and wandering upstairs we meet a nice fellow who is the secretary for the Malawi Historical Society which is based here. He tells us the history of the house and shows us around, pointing out his favourite item in the collection – the nail that was used to hammer the cross into a tree where one of Livingston’s companions was buried after perishing during their exploration! There is also a reference library here, with lots of fascinating looking old dusty volumes – we settle down with a couple of books for half an hour so before being gently informed that actually they are not open today and the lovely chap had only opened up for us, but has lots to do scanning their hundreds of pictures into a database. We thank him profusely and head off to Chichiri Mall, a western feeling place with supermarkets, eateries, shops, and even a cinema. After replenishing stomachs and wallets we head back to the Monster and, almost inevitably, it decides to die on us.
It’s hot, and we’re tired after a couple of hours of not doing much but queuing. We can’t get hold of Mechanic Andrew so decide to go home. It’s too far to walk, so we finally get a chance to experience local transport and catch the minibus. We are directed into one, and wait till it fills up. It’s 50MK (Malawian Kwacha, £1=265MK) to Blantyre Market, about 20 minutes walk from home. After a ten minute wait there are still a couple of spaces left but the van’s money-collector gives up and we go, calling out every time someone passes by but there are no more takers.
Wales is playing England in the 6 Nations later on so we go to Mustang Sally’s to watch the game. It’s a massive place, two levels of bars, with a dance floor and a pool next to it. A boisterous group of South Africans are there cheering on both sides, as we do. It is an exciting game - Wales rob England of the game in a thrilling try. Mechanic Andrew arrived halfway through and I went off to fix the car and returned in no time – as a thank you to Andrew (who has had a long day and has been incredibly kind and generous in helping us out on the weekend) we buy him and his wife a couple of bottles of cider. Excellent steaks are had off the barbecue for dinner and we head home to bed, after all it is 8pm and we don’t want to go too crazy...
So here we are! A relaxing Sunday updating you and not doing too much else. A long entry but it feels like a lot has happened and we have only been here a week – time flies when you’re having fun!