29 Years

Last year on my birthday I was stuck in Kasungu in the hottest time of the year, and I was not happy. So, this year I was so grateful to have Joachim here to share the day with me.

We planned to go to the lake for the weekend, but Thursday rolled around and we had no petrol and there was none in town (I know, I know, you’ve heard this before). We waited on queue around 9:30pm on Thursday, but as soon as we got in line the fuel finished. We heard it might come to a different station the next day, so we got in line there (we were the 20th car). We left the car all day, because the tanker takes about an hour to offload, so we assumed we could just walk over when/if the tanker arrived. It didn’t. We picked up the car that night, and were told it might come the next day.

So, on Saturday morning, Joachim got up at 5:30am and went and waited in line for 3 hours. And, lo and behold, fuel came. Because of the shortages, there is generally a limit. The signs said the limit was 8,000 MWK, which is around 28 liters. But Joachim slipped him an extra 200 MWK (around $1.25) and he was allowed 48 liters. He came and picked me up, and we were off.

can you decipher this one?

full tank, full tank

2.5 hours later, after a really rough last 20 kms down a “spine jarring” dirt road, we arrived at Cape Maclear, on the southern tip of Lake Malawi.

our thatched cottage, right on the water

did i mention that the chalet was right on the water?

We drank coffee.

And laid in the sun.

I'm reading Anna Karenina on my Kindle

On the morning of my birthday, I woke up to a pile of mipatso (gifts).


Joachim, with the help of a friend named Junior, bought me several pairs of earrings and a really, really cool second hand bag that I am in love with – it’s a really rough, leather bag with a soft map print.

i know you are distracted by the lake, but look at my new bag!

The sunset on my birthday was amazing – just for me, I’m sure.

this picture contains so much typical imagery

For dinner, we went to Froggie’s, a “French” restaurant at the lake. I didn’t see anything French about it, except the French owner – all the food was the same you get everywhere, although definitely of higher quality. They even had something that approximated champagne!



I had an amazing birthday. But part of me hopes that next year I can celebrate my 30th somewhere other than Malawi.

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3 Responses to 29 Years

  1. kjo says:

    Looks lovely! Love that sunset shot. Good boy, Joachim for getting up so early for fuel.

  2. barry robinson says:

    belated birthday from oc and jane.wanted to send your card,but r and r said it was not happening.your card will be in cali upon your return.love o and j

  3. Paul Piazza says:

    carrd ? I want some piggy piggy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111HAPPY BIRTHDAY !

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