December 11, 2012 GMT
Malawi and Tanzania

Day 6: Made it to back packer place last night, parked, had a beer (ok two) and some stuff that was suppose to be lasagna, got back to the room and collapsed. It had been a challenging day. Made my way to Monkey Bay with helpful locals pointing the way to Venice Beach. It was down a dirt/sand road then a trail through a small village. The last .5 k was in deep sand that I thought I would get stuck in it but bike keep digging me through. Elly wins again. Venice Beach is a nice place on a white sand beach.
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Insurance office

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One should always celebrate their victories, but really?

Day 7: Rest day m/l. Spent the day getting up and walking out in to the lake every time it started feeling hot, rough life but someone has to do it. Just soaking up the sun, more frying in the sun as I am red as a lobster from knees down.

Day 8: “Best laid plans of mice and men” I picked a spot about 450k north and headed out with 250k worth of fuel. First I had problems with the ATM got it to work once for 20,000Kwacha but could not make it work again. Then I could not find any fuel which has been about 600 Kwacha per liter or $2.00 US per liter. So I changed course and headed to the capital, Lilongwe with hopes of finding fuel. I was down to 30 K of fuel left when I bought some on the Black Market for K1000 per litter. For those of you still in the stone age that’s $10 a gallon m/l. Will hold up here at a back packer place till morning and try agin to find fuel. I just do not know how a county can run with this fuel problem. They have let their currency float but must still be restricting it or there would be fuel.

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How you get fuel in Malawi at about $10 per gal.

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Road to the Mushroom Farm, I was just to wore out to make it up, so turned around here.

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Cabin where I did stay, they were trying to get this place up and running again, but they have a long way to go, they need a good maintenance man.

Days 9, 10: Yesterday, Sunday, I decided to have a good lunch at Korean Garden Lodge, very nice place, linen table cloths and all, I got food poisoning. From now on I stick to street venders and the spots the locals eat. Got one and half piece of french toast down in the morning, lost it 25k out. Rolled on to Chiweta where I turned up the road to Mushroom Farm, a place I had heard of, this road made Sani Pass look like a freeway. After 3k I saw on the GPS that the switch backs got so close it was just a pink blob and I had 7k to go, exhausted from no sleep last night I gave up and went back down. At the bottom I read the Mushroom Farm sign that said “call for pickup” Which I considered but was too tired so went back a couple of ks and stayed at a place on the beach.

Day 11: Up and out by 6:00. It gets light here early and dark early. Found a local place to eat and got fried eggs with a salad of tomatoes, green pepper and onion in a really good dressing, first food I felt like eating since Sunday. 150k to the Tanzania boarder and I found both sides to be tad dippy (that’s a technical term). They had to have the address of where I was going,(I never know for sure till I get there). Just giving them a city will normally work and they needed to know where I had stayed last night. But boarders tend to be that way. Through Moz and Malawi all but one of the places I stayed were leftovers from colonial times, most in poor repair. I think there is a shortage of skilled trades, electricians or carpenters or plumbers. Many of the fixes look easy and cheap but just are not being done. The hotel I am at in Mbeya Tanzania looks like it was built by locals and is real nice for only 25000 per night, ($15). First impressions of Tanzania are good, beautiful farms, lots of activity and more cars driven by locals, not just the NGOs and government people.
This is where I need to decide which way to go, east route is 1000k of dirt and west is mostly tar. The clouds looked real black and it rained some I am going to cop out on the west and head over to Zanzibar.

Day 12: I crossed much of Tanzania today from the southwest to mid-east. From high cool forested areas to dry and rocky. The people have been friendly and helpful. The road has been from poor to good with 68k of construction. I went by three truck accidents that had just happened. There is a lot of truck traffic but what I really hate is the buses, They will pull out to pass a truck and ignore anyone coming.
When a truck breaks down it just stops in the road and they put chunks of brush and limbs in the road to warn on coming traffic. The driver stays with the truck and waits for someone to come to fix it setting up camp under the truck. One of the accidents I came on yesterday was where one of these broke down trucks had been hit, probably in the dark. There was a down truck about every ten k and with no lights on these driving at night would be suicidal.
At one point I came on a truck, (that had gotten off to the side) that was under going a major engine overhaul. Pistons and sleeves were stacked on the side of the road.
Spent the night at TanSwiss camp/lodge, best place I had been for awhile but I battled the mozies.

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Sign coming into Tanzania, kind of lays it out there.

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Looked like someone had laid out a garden landscape

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Hotel in town

Day 13: Headed out for an easy 250k to Dar Es Salaam, Biggest city in Tanzania and ferry port to
Zanzibar. It is hot, humid and some rain with traffic a real mess. Perfect conditions for what is technically know as “Monkey Butt”. It turned out to be a hard day and six hours to make it in to the city. It was kind of what it would be like if you put I-5 traffic back on old 99, with speed bumps in every village, slow trucks, and psycho bus drivers. All the traffic may be a pain but it means their economy is working.
But once into a hotel and showered I went for a hike to an internet café I had seen on the way in. Venders selling almost everything. I stopped and bought five squers being BBQed of what I think was pork, (cost 500). Then got a wedge of fresh pineapple for 200. So for less than 50 cents I had lunch, well almost as It was so hot that I had to buy a litter of water to make it to the internet café. Had a great time talking to the few who could speak English and trying to get the other to understand I did not need to buy a bus ticket. I wore a HU shirt that has the earth and moto logo which made it easier to explain I was riding my motorcycle around the world and they all thought that was a great thing to do.
Ever wonder what happens to all the collections of shirts, shoes etc. gathered up by the good ladies at the church for the poor people in Africa. Well it works like this: the collected bundles are sent to a consolidator who loads them into a container who dutifully ships them off to some country in Africa. When the container hits the port it is unload and bundles spread out on the dock where they are auctioned off, (money pocketed by corrupt bureaucrats and politicians which they use to buys guns and such to stay in power). The distributors that bought the bundles then mark up and sell to local venders. I have seen them sold in every country. The farmer, cotton gin and tailor no longer can compete with their local cotton and are out of business. Oh and the real poor can not pay for what was suppose to be free and are still in rags. So the next time they want you to help collect stuff for the poor in Africa tell them they will do more good having a bond fire with the bundles. Well meaning people and governments have done more damage to Africa than good.

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Engine rebuild on side of the road

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Donated shirts for sale

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I do get to eat once and a while

Day 14: Moved down town Dar, 10 k took one hour. I am not sure the traffic is worse than La Pas Bolivia but it is in the running for sure. Got ferry tickets lined up and will go over tomorrow.

Posted by Robert Thode at December 11, 2012 06:32 AM GMT

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