Sorry its been so long since Alan’s last blog but internet has been rather scarce since Zanzibar. Quite a lot has happened in the past 2 weeks of cycling. We reluctantly left Zanzibar after a weeks relaxing with 11 Norweign nurses, it was hard to drag ourselves away. Once we hit mainland Tanzania we left Dar Es Salaam after buying another new bottom bracket for my bike, that’s my third and I now need a fourth of the damn things. The cycling from Dar wasn’t especially exciting until we reached the Mikumi national park. We expected this park to be like the others, in which we had seen very few animals, but we were pleasently surprised. This park was brisling with animals very close to the roads. We saw Baboons, Zebra, Wat hogs, Gizzele, Elephants, Giraffes and more. The Giraffes were particluarly impressive as I approached they were right next to the road and by the time I was along side them they were still less than 10 metres from the road. Seeing me, a crazy Mzungu (white man) on a bicycle, obviously scared them and they began to run but they didn’t run away from the road they ran along side the road keeping pace with me. I managed to get some fantastic video of me cycling along metres away from giraffe for atleast 2 minutes, it was an awesome experience. Both Alan and I were very impressed with the park and it was one of the best experiences of EOA so far.
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After leaving the park we cycled on and soon approached the Malawi boarder, country number 22 was close we could feel it. But neither of us knew what it was going to take to reach it. Apparently Tanzania does not like to see us leave, both times we have come to a tanzanian border a small natural obsrtuction gets in our way. This obstruction is nothing less than the Great Rift Valley and unfortunately for us we were starting our accent at sea level, last time we started at nearly 1500m. we climbed and climbed for what seemed like forever finally reaching a staggering, but not record breaking, 2300m. After this we were so tired that we had to have a day off but we spent a little to much time in the pub recovering and a day turned into 2. Finally we did make it out of Tanzania and crossed the border into Malawi, a stunning country. We had previously been in contact with a Peace Corps member in Malawi called Monica and we spent our first night in her local village at her house. Monica gave us many more contacts in PC Malawi and the next day we stopped with another PC Volunteer called Meg. Meg told us that our next days cycling would be tough as we had to climb a “large” mountain but we dismissed this, we’d just climbed over the rift valley how hard could a small mountain of 500m be. How we were proved wrong. After leaving Meg’s house I quickly realised that my bottom bracket had tightend itself meaning my peddles were not moving freely we tried to fix it but nothing could be done, I just had to put up with it. Then we hit the mountain at first it didn’t seem too bad but it soon became unbareably steep and cycling was not an option. So we started the slow labouring task of pushing our bikes up. It took us 3 devastatingly tough hours to push the bikes 6 miles to the top. By this point we were both hating life and even Malawi. We were deperatly hungry and stopped at the first place we came to which was a tourist attraction called Kawede Tourism. Unfortunately their restaurant was underconstruction but the man running the place, whose name we cannot remember so im going to call him Dave, kindly agreed to cook us some eggs. Whilst the eggs were cooking we chatted about what Kawede Tourism consisted of and found out there was an original wood bridge built in 1904. The pictures looked brilliant and we decided to pay the 500 Kwacha (2 pounds) to go see it (I don’t have the camera with me but will put a picture up soon). Dave was fanasticly enthusiatic and a great guide. He told us the histroy of the bridge which was a bit long to go into but very interesting. Then we got to cross the 106 year old bridge, a very nerve racking experience but great fun. After seeing the bridge Dave took us to a museum of local history and again with great enthusiam gave us a guided tour of his ancestors beliefs and practices. Kawede Toursim was a great experience and put us into a fantastic mood after a horrible morning riding. Since Kawede Tourism we have cycled to a town called Mzuzu and are staying at a hotel with a group of PC volunteers, whom we will be going for a Indian with later. Tomorrow we will cycle to Nkhata Bay which is positioned on the lake and is supposed to be one of the most stunning places in Malawi. Everyone we have met has talked about it and im very excitied to see it for myslef.
Sorry again for the delay in writing this blog, we do try to write them regularly I promise.