Monday, January 16, 2012

Day 25 - 12.01.12

Woke up and and it was not raining anymore(yay!), we left Mbeya, back in the direction of Dar Es Salaam as the intersection is about 10km outside of town, a very scenic road. Just before the border we fueled up at the last petrol station that we will see having petrol for a while! (Also at the same time being bothered by people wanting to change cash for us into Malawi Kwacha at not a favourable rate, $1 to 150MWK or 180MWK) Border crossing was a little bit slow as there was only one teller operating the computer in the back, Imo went and exchanged some cash at the beurea of exchange and got the rate of $1 to 200MWK, as I was going to go exchange someone came and offered us an exchange rate of $1 to 220MWK, our first taste of the black market. Once all the papers were done, we were finally in Malawi!! Now to take it nice and easy, maintain a speed of about 85km/h max of 100km/h to use as little petrol as possible, the colours of Malawi were amazing, very green and the smells are amazing, we had a good laugh as the people on bikes here (like in Tanzania) do not wear crash helmets when riding motor bikes,and with the large number of big bugs hitting our helmets, we agreed that the Malawian version of a breakfast run is a dude riding his bike with his mouth wide open!
The roads are extremely quiet due to the petrol situation. We were riding along and I said to IMO, look dude, the Sea!! And to the side was the lake, it is huge!! It looks like the sea all you see is water until the horizon! Followed the lake for quite a while and this was a very scenic road sticking close to the lake for a while and then on one side is the lake and on the other side of the road is a mountain range (this is the border to Zambia), did some mountain pass riding while still trying to ride at a constant slowish speed and then came across a Japanese contsruction site where they are building a new bridge across a deep ravine with a very strong river below, the makeshift bridge is made of wooden planks but is quite sturdy as trucks still go over it! Was weird riding on planks of wood though.
We made it to Mzuzu and as we rode into town we saw a queue at a petrol station, went to go find out if there was petrol to be told that there was non, the queue was there as a rumour had come to town that a petrol tanker would come either today or tomorrow, we tried another petrol station and were offered petrol off the black market, we decided to stay at Mzoozoo Backpackers as per the Lonely Planet guides recommendation, had an amazing steak and chips and arranged with a local to get us some petrol on the black market,this came and we both topped up our bikes, this was the last time I was goint to get petrol for a while! We both paid the price though, it worked out to almost $3 a litre!

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