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Day 142 – Night Monkeys

11th February 2012

sunny

The quiet squeaking of stretching elastic played understudy to the screeching of the monkeys coming from the trees above our luxury tents. “Phwoosh... crack,” the slingshot snapped towards the inky canopy as another stone was unleashed at the sentinels of hell that had been going like crazies for the past hour. It was half past three in the morning. I was stood, in my pyjama bottoms, being munched by mosquitoes trying desperately to find a true aim in the dim light of an overcast night. “Scrrreeeaaaarrrrrr, ragh, ragh, eeerggh, eergh.” Those little.... nature my arse I thought as the slingshot tightened further, my extra effort born out of desire to inflict reality upon these little beggars; the elastic snapped, I'd broken our only chance of sleep. I retired to my luxury bed, on my luxury pillows, under my luxury sheet, in my luxury tent, next to my luxury fiance whilst somewhere in those bloody trees the monkeys continued talking excessively loudly given their presence in a luxury bloody camp.

At five o’clock we were woken by a man who told us that tea and coffee would be served shortly at the restaurant we rubbed our eyes, jumped in the shower and made for the caffeine.

Our morning walk was to be with the residents of the Mvuu Safari Lodge; the lodge was the next tier of luxury from our Mvuu Safari Camp. The walk wasn’t great, in fact it was a bit rubbish, we learned little and saw less but at least we’d partly stretched our legs. We returned to camp, ate breakfast and set out on a boat safari up the river. This was much better; hundreds of hungry hippos, close up crocodiles and goshawks, fish eagles, kingfishers, weavers, bishops and more. An exciting morning brought us back to camp to back our things and head back to Redvers. Twenty four hours had seemed like three days and it had definitely been worth it. We enjoyed another scenic one hour boat transfer, stopping briefly to watch some elephants taking lunch in the reeds.

We set compass for Cape Maclear and drove. It would have been entirely uneventful except for two things: firstly Police Encounter #’s 24 and 25: twenty four was routine, twenty five involved the kind of slow swagger performed only by arrogant young men with ulterior motives and a chip on their shoulder. As our young, male, plain clothed police officer rose from beneath his tree and rolled his walk towards us, he first tapped the bull bars and then the bonnet, before knuckling the front fender all whilst looking the car up and down and then turning his sights to us. From ‘hello’ his eyes never stopped wandering, the radio and the sat nav, Laura, the fridge, the hippo, Laura, Post and back to me. He settled on an achievable target, my flip flops, endorsed with the flag of Mozambique. “So you are from Zimbabwe?” he suggested. “No, the UK,” we replied. “Then why do you have the flag on your shoes?” “That’s the flag of Mozambique, that’s where we travelled before here.” “They’re nice shoes,” he continued. “Yes thanks, comfortable too.” He looked back at Laura, and around Redvers’ insides. “Where are you going?” “Chikupita ku Cape Maclear,” we replied in our newly learned phrase, thanks to Anthony our racing mountain guide at Mulanje. Our use of the officers mother tongue lightened his sinister expression a little and soon his wandering eyes were wandering back to the boom to raise it and let us on our way. What a complete dick; we all agreed.

The second event took place ten kilometres away from Cape Maclear. We were driving along a section of newly surfaced and still very loose gravelled road when a beer bottle holding young man driving a car filled with other beer bottle holding young men attempted to overtake us. The cacophony bursting from a sound system worth more than his engine met into the screeching qand skidding of bald tyres on gravel road as he put the back end of his Toyota Corolla into the ditch twice, each time bouncing out and narrowly avoiding ruining Redvers paintwork. Somehow the drunkard completed the manoeuvre without damage to us. I’d have shouted at him but the fear of the angry mob took my voice away.

We settled into Cape Maclears’ Mgoza Lodge for the evening, looking out over a beautiful fresh water lake we changed some more dollars into bonus Kwacha and ordered burgers and chips and beers.

Posted by ibeamish 02:22 Archived in Malawi

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