SANGILO LODGE to MAKUZI LODGE <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /><o></o> DAY 29: Saturday 7 January 2012 DISTANCE: 240 km TIME: 9.00 am 2.45 pm <o></o> Travelling makes one modest you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world. <o></o> Paul Theroux <o></o> We awoke to some rumbling thunder and a few spots of rain. I was dreading riding out on the awful driveway as it was steep, rocky and no doubt a bit muddy after last nights rain.......I guess it rains down in Africa..... After a light breakfast down at the beach we said our farewells and went back up to the bikes. We were warming up the bikes when my phone rang. When I saw who was calling my heart sank.......I just knew it was bad news. It was a call from my family letting me know that my Mom had passed away earlier that morning. In the back of my mind I knew it was what Mom would have wanted as she was now in a better place and it was something that we had been expecting to happen sooner or later but one is still never really prepared for it. I just couldnt image not having a Mom as Moms should be there for you all the time. After the initial shock we decided that it was best to continue on our way. For me, it was therapeutic being on the bike where I could think and cry and just be on my own. Fortunately there was very little traffic as my concentration wasnt too good. The country side and time passed by in a blurr and I couldnt appreciate it in my state of mind. We were meant to have visited Livingstonia on this return trip but at this stage it was the last thing on my mind so sadly we gave it a miss. At some stage we stopped for a rest on a quiet stretch of road and within minutes a man arrived carrying a bucket lid filled with water and 4 mangoes. He said that we looked like tired travellers and he wanted to offer us some fruit. We couldnt believe his generosity. While we peeled and messily ate our juicy mangoes we chatted about his farm and he told us in well spoken English that they were busy with agricultural activities. When I asked him what they were actually busy with he said weeding. He was joined by two others who spoke English very well. After washing our hands in the water from the bucket lid and scraping mango fur from between our teeth we said our goodbyes and moved on, once again taken aback by the kindness of the locals as no reward or payment was asked for or expected. Our next stop was at Mzuzu where we withdrew cash and went across the road to a petrol station to find something cold to drink. We didnt even attempt to refuel as there was no fuel anywhere. As we came out of the shop I noticed an attendant putting fuel into a container in the boot of a white mans car. Excitedly we moved our bikes closer to the pumps and indicated for him to fill up. He looked at us and shook his head and refused. Well... we argued and accused him of turning the garage into a black market outlet, but he was so arrogant about it and challenged us with what are you going to do about it?. We both suppressed the need to punch him!!! Fed up with corruption we rode off, out of Mzuzu, and to add to our misery, into a speed trap!!! I cant recall how much we paid but you could imagine how we were feeling at this point. Our next stop was in the rubber plantation. A chap on a bicycle stopped to enquire if we were OK and offered us some fuel. He had 5 litres which he was selling at R60 per litre. We simply had no choice but to buy it. Soon there was another chap offering us the same deal. So now we were R600 poorer and only 10 litres in our tanks. Can you believe it! Anyway, we enquired about the rubber trees and they gave us a guided tour and demonstration in the plantation of how the rubber sap is tapped from the trees. A coiled formation cut is made around the tree trunk and from that a straight line cut running downwards. The white sap now bleeds from the cut running down into a cup which is secured at the base of the cut. It takes about one and a half hours for the cup to fill up. The plastic wrapping around the trunk protects the milk in the cup from the rain. The dried milky liquid that remains in the scar of the cut can now be pulled away and the locals use this to wrap around a bit of old tyre tubes until a lovely bouncy ball is made. It was so good to learn something from these guys....perhaps our money was well spent after all. The up and coming entrepreneurs. The milky liquid that has drained into the cup. The dried elastic strip that he has just removed from the scar in the tree trunk. We decide to call it a day at the Makuzi Lodge turnoff and a 4 km sandy track lead us down to another picturesque spot on Lake Malawi. We pitched our tent on the edge of the beach and were treated to a stunning view of yet another secluded beach. Once again we were the only visitors but sometime late during the night another camper noisily moved in. The rest of the afternoon passed by while we swam, relaxed on the beach, communicated with family back home and mourned for Mom.