Jill's African Adventure
* The Elephants Don't Want Me to Eat
* Its a Small World (Blantyre and Beyond)
* The Night Bus: From Nkhata Bay to Zomba
* Lake Malawi
* Reflections on East Africa
* The Long Road to Malawi: Part 2
* The Long Road to Malawi: Part 1
* Parc National des Volcans
* Kibale Forest
* Back and Forth from Kampala
* Rafting the Nile
* Murchison Falls
* A Day in The Life
* Hell's Gate
* Nairobi and Around (Part 2)
* Nairobi and Around (Part 1)
* A Dhow Trip From Lamu
* Watamu: Ruins, Monkeys, Shrews, and Jellyfish
August 12, 2005
Its a Small World (Blantyre and Beyond)
After a lovely (but rather un-noteworthy) hike in Zomba, I travelled to Blantyre, which is Malawi's largest city. (Not, however, the capital city, which is Lilongwe.) I was going to be spending a few days in Blantyre and then Lilongwe doing errands and waiting for my visa waiver for Zambia to come through. The only thing really noteworthy that I saw in Blantyre was the Anglican church there. It was a beautiful small cathedral complete with stained glass windows, arches, towers and even a dome. What makes the cathedral particularly impressive was that the men who built it had no architechtural knowledge -- they just started throwing bricks toghether and it worked magnificently.
The truly amazing part of my stay in Blantyre happened just after leaving the catherdral. While there I met another American (Steve, a volunteer teaching carpentry in Eritrea) and we went to dinner together at a local take-away restaurant near the hostel where we were both staying. While there we were joined by another guy that was staying at our hostel that I had actually exchanged brief hellos with earlier in the day as he was walking in while I was walking out.
The three of us started talking about what we've been up to, how long we've been on the road, where we are from, and what we do in our other lives -- the usual backpacker stuff. And then the guy asks me if I've done any other travelling. I told him about Semester at Sea. He asked me what sort of boat I was on during the program. I told him it was a converted cruise ship. He asked me if I know what cruise line it had come from, because, he said, he had done some work on cruise ships here and there. And suddenly I remembered my first impression of him as he was walking into the hostel which was that he looked a lot like two brothers who juggle that I vaguely know. So I had to ask him what type of work he did on the cruise ships. Juggling. And suddenly everything clicked and I asked him his name. (For those jugglers who are reading this, Marty LaSalle spent his summer volunteering and then travelling in Malawi.) As it turns out, Marty had recognized me too, but hadn't been sure and so hadn't said anything. Who could have guessed that we would each run into another juggler in the middle of Malawi??? And how close we came to having never made the connection.
This was actually an amazingly good turn of events for me. First, it was incredibly cool to run into someone from my other life. To actually see and get to talk to someone that I met more than a few weeks ago (even if we hadn't ever really had a conversation before) was wonderful. Second, we were both travelling up to Lilongwe on the same day, so we were able to travel together. This made for a much more pleasant mini-bus ride than usual and I had someone to hang out with and show me around in Lilongwe, since that is where Marty had been volunteering. Third, Marty offered to take a bunch of my stuff that I don't need out here anymore back to the States with him since he was leaving in a couple days. (Thank you so much, Marty! My pack is notably a lot lighter and has a lot more space.) Finally, both of us now have a really cool story to tell and someone to remember Africa with when we go to juggle-fests.
Posted by Jillian on August 12, 2005 05:50 AM
Category: Southern Africa
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