How a little time changes perceptions

Blantyre Travel Blog

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So we've spent the entire day effectively wasting time in Blantyre.  Chris left early this morning, without saying goodbye (!) on his way to Cape Maclear to start his PADI course.  Alex and I will follow on tomorrow.  We've spent most of today lazing around in Blantyre, actively seeking out the few attractions that are sprinkled thinly across this city.  We started out with cake for breakfast, as you do.  Sent a few postcards etc etc, visited the town's cathedral, which is really just a small church and generally came to a small realisation about where everything was in Blantyre in relation to each other thing.  And we revisited Nico's Gelateria for some more ice-cream.  As well as visiting the town's out of city centre mall, which was much nicer than Lusaka's attempt, if still a tad sterile.

Its often nice to spend a day not really doing much and finally it seems we've got to know a city quite well.  Blantyre is quite a sleepy place, but its small, fairly compact and safe.  It does have its twin sister, Limbe, which is like most twin cities, in third world countries, a rough and ready town, with a lot more poverty, and a lot more crowded compared to the CBD like nature of Blantyre itself.  Blantyre has some nice restaurants, though they are a little too expensive for us.  We did splash out last night though, which was nice to treat oursleves to a very good meal.  We've become used to getting on the local minibuses and such, and are really devloping a good knowledge of the place.  Almost a shame we're leaving, but onwards to hopefully better things I guess.

This afternoon we went to the Carlsberg Brewery Tour.  This was pretty interesting, got to see right inside the inner workings of the factory in a way they don't let you in European tours, partly due to Health and Safety reasons I guess, but we were even allowed to open up one of the giant copper kettles and have a look at what was going on inside, which was pretty cool.  We got to wander around between the vats, see the bottling plant and the labelling machine and such.  It was all rather cool, and over inside an hour.  Which of course left a lot more time for the tasting.  Which involved the six of us on the tour (two Brits, two Malawians and two Americans), demolishing two trays of Carlsberg bottles over the course of an hour and a bit.  Which was fun!!  Carlsberg currently have eight different varieties on offer to try here in Malawi.  Regular (Green Label), Brown, Stout, Light and Special Brew are the regular kinds.  Plus they are currently having a promotion with three new types of beer (Classic, Gold and Elephant), celebrating forty years of Carlsberg in Malawi (only three years younger than the country!).  They'll appparently be a vote and the winning one will become a permanent flavour, and hopefully find its way to the European Market.  In my humble opinion I think Classic is a bit rubbish, but I can't decide between Gold and Elephant.  The place is also where they brew the local beer "Kuche Kuche" and bottle the local soft drink "Sobo" and coke too, so its pretty much where all drink is made in Malawi!

One thing that has changed on this trip has been my perceptions of Americans as tourists.  Whereas individually I've never met an American I didn't like, I've always found them, as tourists, a bit annoying, eg) Neil and Samantha in south america, nice, but annoying.  But over the course of this trip, the Americans we've met have been interesting people, Dave and Leah on Safari, Stephanie, Priscilla and Alan (technically a scot but with enough of a new yorker accent) whilst in Livingstone, and Carl today on the Carlsberg tour.  And perhaps occasionally its been the Brits who have been more annoying.  But I guess its often just a question of group size.  The larger the group size, the more annoying the people.  For example the difference betwen talking to Jack, a brit, on our final night in Livingstone and the group of Durham students also in residence.  But thats what travelling is all about.  Changing your preconceptions both about you, the country you visit, and fellow travellers.

As I've said before, who knows when the next blog will be.  Peace and love to you all!

jscroxton says:
Hi, Nico

I had to sign up to do this! Sounds like you're havng a great time. Thanks for the postcard. We had a fab time in the Himalayas; you must add it to your list. I took 2000 photographs, not all of mountains, but have some interesting rock formations to show you! Have a great time at the lake - and mind those crocs.

Jeremy
Posted on: Sep 04, 2008
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Blantyre
photo by: tinni