A postcard from Africa

Time really does fly. It is strange thinking that I am already ten weeks into my Africa trip and well past that point where the day of week becomes meaningless. This is especially true in this cabin high up in the Mt. Mulange range of Southern Malawi where I started thinking about this update. It was a three day hike through some rugged mountains to get here. For the first two nights I had the company of some French, American and Canadian travelers, but tonight I’ve got this 19th century British built cabin all to myself; no excuses for putting off writing now.

Like most of my excursions hiking has been a focal point of this trip. I started out touring castles and taking in the architecture of Edinburgh, Scotland (couldn’t resist extending a stopover on the way South), then headed to the highlands for some hiking., mostly on the Isle of Skye where wind and rain would come in at least once an hour, but so would the sun and with it some amazing views of the rugged coastline and jagged peaks. On the way out of the Highlands I stopped over in Glencoe where the Harry Potter movie filming left no vacancies. The tent came in handy here.

Next, after a day of hitting some London parks and museums I was off to Cape Town, South Africa. First impression is a confused one; i has a nice laid back beach feel with friendly people, but everyplace has the security of a prison only in reverse, to keep people out. Business need to buzz you in and houses all have big walls with electric fences. Apartheid’s racial inequality may be gone from the law books, but not in the bank accounts. I did get in some good hiking though with the ‘must do’ Table Mountain hike, twice, and lions head. Also took in some of the good life wine tasting in Stellenbosch.

Making my way up the East Cape brought me through the beautiful beaches of the Garden Route. Loads of unique backpacker accommodation; including one some on farms in the mountains, many on beautiful beaches, and a few urban party stops.

At one point a little later on I decided to give a little back and spent a day painting some school classrooms with some surfers from the states and a few of the students. At the end of the day we had a brie (South African barbecue) where we were watched by four giraffes catching the last of the setting sun at the adjoining game reserve. Things from here started to feel more and more like Africa. Especially when I got to watch a Cheetah enjoying an Impala about 3 meters from our car in Omfolozi Game Reserve.

Next, I hitched my way into Swaziland. It is funny how in so many places you can’t walk after dark and other times things I wouldn’t do at home, like hitching, feel perfectly safe. On this ride the person hitching along side me was a policeman on his way home and, as I later found out, the driver was the former minister of housing…small country. Learned that out after they pulled me into the front seat to argue George W. politics and provide some insight into the Monica Lewinski thing. Also found a park here where I was able to go for my morning jog alongside zebra, deer, crocs and hippos.

Mozambique wasn’t such a bad pass through either. Beautiful beaches swarming with dive fanatics and an interesting Portuguese influence…good music and food. The neglect from 10 years of civil war were really showing there signs in the city though. The roads here have so many pot holes cars spend more time off the road than on it.

And that brings me through to Malawi, where I’ll be taking in a good mix of mountains and the lake and then onto Zambia for some more African safari adventure. Well, tonight the Carlsberg is only 40 cents rather than the usual 65 at the backpacker so I’ve got to ge back to business. Thanks again to all the others on the road that make traveling all that it is.

BTW, I just set my ticket home and I’ll be in Boston on September 25th after a few days in London.

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