Sunday, August 24, 2014

Drive to Senga Bay.. day trip

Yesterday about 6 am I woke up and decided to make the trek to the lake. I had nothing else better to do so I figured it would be a good opportunity to hit the road.  In classic African style, I was stalled for about an hour.. I had withdrawn about 100$ to take the trip.. I was about 1/4 tank filled with gas so the first stop was the gas station... i drive a time Toyota Scalia, so I figured I'd just have it filled up and take off.. Little did I know it cost me about 90$ to fill.. The guy pumping the gas just kept going and going and going... when the bill hit 35,000 Kwacha I knew i had underestimated the cost of fuel.

So, i hit the local ATM machine.. it was out of money... I hit the next ATM,... the security guard told me it was broken. Then another, and another.. Finally I drove back near my home and eventually was able to find an ATM that would dispense cash.. Success!!

... I was told that the road to that part of the lake was right off the main road (M1).  Take a right where there are lots of vendors, booths, busses , etc.. It's not marked, so just turn and that will lead you straight to the lake.

I passed it.. and ended up at the airport. Turned around, backtracked and eventually found it. Once I was on the road I was good to go.. except for all of the people biking in the road, the cows, the goats, the people selling live chickens (holding them upside down and alive), mice on a stick, etc..  Every 4 or 5 miles there was a new village. Women and girls walking with buckets on their head, either returning from getting water from the well or going to get water for the day.  Men, playing mancala, building furniture, making bricks,  chopping sugar cane, etc..

 The drive was slow moving as driving here is a bit hectic.. Two hands on the wheel all the time. Other drivers always pass at blazing speeds , beeping on their way past you. I have turned into one of those drivers that I curse back home. There was so much to see.. It was sensory overload... It was a new country I had not seen and it was beautiful. Once you leave the city,  there are hills and small mountains to the lake with villages scattered across the landscape. Grass roofs, mud huts, makeshift shops.. Again , I felt a little strange getting out and taking photos.. Still feel as if I am intruding on something and Im not all that comfortable with my ability to clearly ask and be respectful. .. I may just have to take a risk and walk around like I did in Botswana.. That took a few months..

I needed some furniture for our porch and was advised to get it just outside of the small town called Salima.. There's a series of 5 or 6 wicker furniture builders that have shops set up on the side of the road.. I stopped at about 3 of them and priced them out... One of shops run by a man named "Bright" offered an extremely reasonable price for two couches for about 80$.. Including delivery(which is 2 hours away).. Some locals might feel like I paid too much, but compared to home, this was a bargain. He gave me a deal and stated "we will work again soon".. so there you go. I also purchased a large circular grass rug for the living room (7$) and 2 grass hats (1$) to wear to the beach..

I finally made my way to the lake.. the road ends at the Sunbird hotel.. You don't have to stay at the hotel.. you just pay 1000 Kwacha (2.50$) and you can use the pool, bar, lakefront.  It was beautiful .. very peaceful , very clean.. but you cannot swim after 5pm. Someone stated due to a hippo and some crocodiles that are in the area.  I stayed for about 3 hours, read my book, got bored, missed my wife and kids and felt guilty about laying around on the beach knowing my wife is working, tending to the kids and closing up the house back home(long sentence I know).  SO, I only treated myself to 2 beers and took off.  Funny thing, I was sitting there and an American with a Cincinnati Marathon t-shirt walked by.. He was from the Wyoming neighborhood... he was here for 2 weeks.. small world.
 I had to get back to town early to check on some things at school as well.

The way back home I was a little more aggressive in my driving but still on the defensive.. I stopped to take a photo of the landscape, freaked out a few little kids (I'm assuming they were intrigued by the color of my skin)..  I did notice a few men dressed up in masks, wearing rags and dancing through the villages.. . I can only assume they were witch doctors or something of that nature... some were dressed in all black, one I noticed had a white mask on as well . Sorry, no pictures as I high tailed it out of there..

I think once my family arrives Senga Bay will be our weekend destination.. you can also snorkel there as well.

Last thing..... I was exhausted when I came back to the city.. not sure why, but I think the African sun can take its toll.... all I wanted to do was get back to the house and have dinner.. But a soccer match had just let out and I couldn't make the turn to my house due to the crowds.. I was tired of waiting so I drove a little further, stopped and ate a local hotel instead .. waited out the crowd.

Today brings nothing.. I may take another drive, but I am currently rearranging some furniture. Ill stop back at school to see if our personal items/ art supplies have been cleared by the government officials..  I may just get back on Facebook... I haven't spent this much time perusing Facebook in a long, long time.  Listening to Jackson Browne and thinking of home.
Hope all is well.
Senga Bay

Landscape/ man walking home

Village on the road

Handmade Wicker furniture on the road

This one is for my kids...