The Journey to Malawi: High Blood Pressure, Heavy Teeth Grinding, and an Amateur Mistake on Currency Conversion.

Every backpacker knows this sound. The unbearable, menacing sound of a mosquito in the dead of night

On my last night in Lusaka I went to bed relatively early at 8pm. The bus to Malawi was departing at 5:30am, so a good nights sleep was necessary if the next day was to be a pleasant one.

But alas, the universe was against me once again as I had a cumulative total of zero hours slumber. The bar was rammed, with vociferous Zambian locals drinking themselves further into poverty, and the mosquitoes were also in the party mood as they went binge drinking from my arteries.

Despite having a mosquito net, every 30 minutes I’d have the ‘zzzziiiiiiiiiiiiii’ sound ringing in my ear, only to frantically spray repellent all over my body. It’s almost as if they liked the smell of this specific brand of repellent.

At 4am I simply said, “fuck it”, jumped out of bed, packed my bags and just went to read outside until the taxi picked me up at 5am. They continued to swig from my hemoglobin but this was better than being awaked to that irritating high pitch wing beat every half an hour.

During the 13 hour bus journey from Lusaka to Lilongwe (the capital of Malawi) I started to question: Am I completely mad? The bus was ram packed and music was blaring from the speakers at the decibel range of a fighter jet. I don’t understand the African tradition of playing music on public transport at the highest possible volume, especially on a tightly crammed bus in the insufferable heat. I politely told the driver to turn it down, only for him to do so until turning it back up again to a nightclub thumping volume after 10 minutes. I turned my iPhone onto shuffle and out of all the music to come on, Rodney Atkins song, ‘If you’re going through hell, keep on going”, began to play. I started to giggle at my own misery as the song played.

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