That time I hung out in a fishing village in Malawi
Way back at the turn of the century I spent a couple of days chilling at Monkey Bay in Malawi.
Back then there wasn’t much to Monkey Bay. There was a dirt road and a grocery store and an outdoor market where locals sold tiny silver fish and the odd stray dog padded about in the dust.
I got a room in a guest house right on the bay. It was basic and bare but when I threw open the shutters I looked straight out onto the beach.
There was a small veranda with a table and chairs where I could sit and watch the world go by, such as it was.
My favourite time of the day was when the fishermen returned from fishing.
First, they’d drag their wooden dugout boats onto the shore.
Then they’d set about picking thousands of tiny fish from their nets and putting them in buckets.
Invariably, someone would drag out a beat-up transistor radio and the fishermen would laugh and joke and sing along to Malawi’s most popular songs.
Young boys would bunk off school to help, hoping to earn a bit of money or a handful of fish to take home to their mums before retiring to a dusty veranda to play a game of Bao, the local wooden board game.
The food wasn’t great. Just ugali with some of the little fish to give it a bit of flavour.
But I loved it when the local women came down to the lake to wash their pots and pans just as the sun set. The soft clanking mixed with the gentle lapping of waves became the soundtrack of my early evenings.
Yep, it was a pretty magical place.
So much so that I didn’t really want to leave.
Which was a problem considering I was only about a quarter of the way through my big overland trip from Cape Town to Cairo!