Well what can I say about today…we had to return down the same terrible track we drove down 2 days ago :-/ We then had to get to the Malawian border, cross and drive to the capital city of Lilongwe. In all it's only about 330km but given the terrible roads and the time it takes to cross borders it took about 10 hours! Horrendous!
It did take us longer than usual to cross the border today though. I'm writing about this as I feel it's important to remember just how corrupt Africa can still be and how easy it is to bribe your way out of anything.
Lea is from Switzerland as I've mentioned before and, as this can pose some problems getting visa's at borders, she got all her visa's in advance whilst she was still at home. So far this has been fine but unfortunately she miscalculated her dates for the Malawian visa and it expired, 2 days ago!
So technically her visa is not valid and she should not be allowed entry into Malawi! What is she going to do!?! Mandla to the rescue…Lea had to pay a bribe, a large bribe actually. She originally paid $100 for her visa and she had to pay an extra $70 today to be allowed through.
You're probably wondering how they let her through seeing as the dates in her passport are incorrect. Well, they changed them! They actually changed the date not only on her original visa but also the stamp dates for Zambia as well to ensure there wouldn't be a conflict! This is so unbelievably illegal its untrue but it goes to show what you can get away with if you have some cash in this continent!We were due to be visiting a wildlife sanctuary this evening but as we arrived in the city so late Mandla has rearranged for us to go tomorrow morning instead. Our camp is just outside the city and is really pretty. For those staying accommodated there are proper little brick bungalows with 4 poster beds for them to stay in. There weren't enough showers for the group to all shower before dinner so Chantelle let me use her shower in her hut which was really nice and hot and powerful so I was happy!
Just as it got dark there was a power cut so Vincent prepared a lovely curry for dinner in the dark using just a fire and we all sat inside eating by candlelight before comparing the western way of life with that of the African. Mandla was fascinated by how we do things and how women are treated equally and told us that he is not supposed to cook as a man although he really enjoys it so when he cooks at home he is always worried that friends or family will turn up and catch him. If they do he could be rejected and/or classed as weak or gay! We all learnt something tonight!