Since Dave's departure things have gone a little pear shaped. Without Dave around the trip certainly has lost some glamour for me, i lost both my best friend on the bus (incidently the funniest person i have ever met) and my tent buddy too... and things are just not quite right.
Malawi has proved to be a cold, wet and unsympathetic place and the country that i have liked the least in Africa...maybe even the world. Despite scenery that could be beautiful if it ever stopped raining and a cheery populace, our constant battle with the floods has taken its toll and i think the entire bus is worn out, wet, exhausted and are now left praying for sunnier times.
I like to think that everything (me included) are rebelling against Dave's departure and the out of the ordinary things (even for Africa standards) that have been happening left right and center are a direct result of him leaving...like the rain... i will let you be the judge.
Firstly and bizarrely since Dave has left my tent has decided to stage a one tent protest against him or maybe it is me. Now that it is my job to put the tent up all by myself the poles no longer stay in the ground, moreover they have decided to fling themselves far and wide and remove themselves from the earth when ever i am not looking, making the assembly of the tent next to impossible. The poles now have minds of their own and clearly miss Dave's firm hand.
Next, my stomach has decided that without Dave around it is fine to have a severe bout of vomiting. Whilst ill (and i mean ill) i won the prestigious title of first person to spew on the bus whilst in motion (an award i never thought i would steel away from some of the more obvious favourites), all in all my food poisoning/bug lasted for just on 24 hours and have never vomited with such intensity, regularity, speed in as long as i can remember. Surprisingly it was the boys on the bus who took care of me (perhaps the girls were worried i would vomit on them) and when i burst into tears because i vomited all over myself (well, actually i vomited into a bag that had a whole in it) one of the boys said 'don't cry KP, just think when you get to Cape town you'll look like a supermodel' which made me laugh whilst another boy (one of the tougher ones) said 'we are all in this together mate, don't worry i am here with you'.... the girls generally avoided me like the plague (ehich i could well have had). As i was cleaning myself up on the roadside it was the boys who scrubbed and disinfected the bus, it was also the boys who calmed me down when i was sure i had cholera (as i had all the symptoms)... the kindness and care shown to me by them knocked me for six.
Next the roads in Malawi are obviously missing Dave (despite the fact he has never been to Malawi i hust know they miss his presence) and we have had to contend with truck pile ups, localised flooding and washed away bridges. The pile up we saw (and thankfully were not involved in) slowed our progress down by a day as a road we needed to travel was a witness to a BIG accident that involved three semi trailers.... insanity seems to be the motto of the truckies here. The boys loved the crash site and as we waited, and waited for someone to come and clear the road (we gave up after about 5 hours) the boys delighted in watching cars/vans avoid the accident by going off road and getting bogged and sliding side ways towards a cliff face (we could not get round the accident as our truck was just too big).
We have also battled flooding on many fronts- first the roads have been impassible and we have had to re route (or just wait till the rain eased) our trip many times. Since the rains begun, the truck has begun to stink (of damp,wet and mould) and the tents are disgusting with a capital D. Unfortunately for me there was aleak on the truck and my backpack bore the brunt- now everything i own is saturated, smelly and unwearable... Fortunately there has been some sympathy directed towards me- one of the boys offered me my pick of his dirty laundry whilst another said i could lend anything at all- (i have had no such love from the ladies).
Truck dynamics are different without Dave- he was a lynch pin, someone who made everyone laugh and without him things are naturally more sedate.
Our group leader changed when Dave left and our new guide, whilst perfectly pleasant lacks Julius' charisma, enthusiasm and likability instead he is extremely serious and too rules orientated to make things FUN.
I have noticed that some of the people who joined us in Nairobi are starting to shine (like my buddies Rob, Wiki and Ash) and a few (nameless)people are getting a little big for their boots if you ask me. Some of our bus buddies (one in particular)is at times condescending with lines like 'you did not lock this', 'No- we don't want that', 'No, do it this way', 'Please remember only to put washing here', 'please remember to do this', blah blah blah. It has taken the edge off things and almost like they are auditioning for their role on who wants to be a control freak tour guide. I never knew i was so laid back but it appears that i am in conparison.
I am still getting along fine and despite the moaning tone of this entry i am happy and at the end of the day i am in a privileged position- each day is a blessing- i just hope tomorrows brings with it some sunshine.
Lots of love -KP
ps- i have had VERY limited acess to email (everytime i get on the net i write this)that i have not been able to reply to anyone lately... i am sorry for this and please know i love receiving your mails and comments- i will endevour to write replies when i have a day off in a town that has fast internet- in the meantime know i am thinking of you.... i am sure you know who you are.