A Travellerspoint blog

Celebrating our first anniversary in Paris

An amazing year of stories, growth and bonding

sunny 70 °F
View A Rough Outline of our Trip on daveliz's travel map.

Sunrise at the Eiffel Tower, Paris, France.

Sunrise at the Eiffel Tower, Paris, France.


FROM ELIZABETH!

What a year! We celebrated our first anniversary in Paris, France, on September 19, and couldn't get over what we had accomplished. We've traveled around the world, climbed some of the world's tallest mountains, lived in a car for two months, became mildly acustomed to squat toilets and endured tick bite fever. I am Dave's GPS, helping him get from point A to point B, but he is my inspiration to keep going, keep traveling, keep seeing, keep exploring, to keep learning and keep believing that there are endless opportunities around every corner. Of course there were days when we wanted to be oceans apart, but with a little compromise we always found ourselves ready to keep rolling.

Always moving!

Always moving!


I tried to be creative for our anniversary combining Dave's love of chocolate and biking, but it turned out to be a comedy of errors. I mapped out the best chocolatiers in Paris and took Dave to rent a Velib bike, which are on every street of Paris. Locals rent them by the hour to get around town. Unfortunately, Velib did not like my credit card.

Note to those traveling to Europe - chip and pin credit cards are in and if you don't have one, expect to get denied at a few locations, like we did trying to rent a Velib bicycle.

Note to those traveling to Europe - chip and pin credit cards are in and if you don't have one, expect to get denied at a few locations, like we did trying to rent a Velib bicycle.


So we did the sweet tour by foot!

Of course, the first chocolate shop was closed.

Of course, the first chocolate shop was closed.


Chocolate crayons bigger than our budget : - )

Chocolate crayons bigger than our budget : - )


Dave waits patiently in line for the best chocolate in town.

Dave waits patiently in line for the best chocolate in town.


On our foot tour we passed the Louvre,

On our foot tour we passed the Louvre,


and the Arc de Triumphe.

and the Arc de Triumphe.


We followed the noise to the biggest techno parade in the world.

We followed the noise to the biggest techno parade in the world.


At night, Dave arranged dinner at a French bistro called Le Petite Prince. I surprised him by stripping myself of fleece and putting on a colorful new dress from London. I felt great, but let's just say Dave preferred my fleece. (Style is in the eye of the beholder : - )

Anniversary dinner at Le Petite Prince.

Anniversary dinner at Le Petite Prince.


Paris at night.

Paris at night.


FROM DAVID!

Wow! I inspired all that! The funny thing is Elizabeth inspires all the same in me. I guess it was fitting that we celebrated our anniversary in Paris with it's art museums and music, beautiful sculptures and architecture, and delicious food. Elizabeth also knows that I don't mind at all when her gifts get screwed up. For one, it's the thought that counts. But more importantly, it also relieves all the pressure on me to give the perfect gifts! (It gets better too... In the next blog, we get stood up by the flamenco instructor who was to give us a lesson for my birthday present.)

The Thinker by Rodin

The Thinker by Rodin


The Kiss by Rodin

The Kiss by Rodin


Paris' Statue of Liberty

Paris' Statue of Liberty


Ah, the delicious bakeries in Paris!

Ah, the delicious bakeries in Paris!


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The past year of traveling has been wonderful. We've learned so much about the people and places we've visited as well as about each other. Everyone's first question is how we didn't kill each other spending 24/7 together for a year. Well, there were probably a few times we came close, but we always remember that it's much more fun to laugh at each others quirks and shortcomings. Given our abundance in those categories, we provide each other endless amounts of entertainment.

Our first picture together on March 9, 2007, in San Francisco where I surprised her. We met March 2, 2007, in Boston. We've come a long way since then!

Our first picture together on March 9, 2007, in San Francisco where I surprised her. We met March 2, 2007, in Boston. We've come a long way since then!


- Elizabeth & Dave

Posted by daveliz 09:14 Archived in France Comments (10)

Europe with friends

Seeing England and the Netherlands with locals

sunny 68 °F
View A Rough Outline of our Trip on daveliz's travel map.

This blue gem in Delft, Netherlands, is supposed to be good luck for lovers - as noted by our local tour guides Freek and Hester! More on them below.

This blue gem in Delft, Netherlands, is supposed to be good luck for lovers - as noted by our local tour guides Freek and Hester! More on them below.

In the past eleven months Dave and I have made some wonderful new friends. In many cases we will never see the people we encountered again, but when we decided to spend time in Europe, we opted to visit the homes of people we met along the way. All of our hosts were gracious with beds, meals, laundry and of course, great conversation! Dave and I were both exhausted from Africa, so home stays gave us the perfect opportunity to just curl up in a ball and watch a movie and do a lot of nothing.

Hostel Lucy and Mark. Putney Bridge, London.
In London, Dave and I enjoyed dinner with Lucy and Mark, who will get married in Australia next year. We met Lucy in Thailand on our hiking, biking and kayaking trip.

In London, Dave and I enjoyed dinner with Lucy and Mark, who will get married in Australia next year. We met Lucy in Thailand on our hiking, biking and kayaking trip.


Hostel Kath. Fulham, London.
Kath and I enjoy some delicious cake and tea in London. She also helped me shop for birthday and anniversary gifts for Dave. We met Kath, a South African, in Argentina. She did a similar trip to us and we bonded immediately. We also stayed with her parents in South Africa.

Kath and I enjoy some delicious cake and tea in London. She also helped me shop for birthday and anniversary gifts for Dave. We met Kath, a South African, in Argentina. She did a similar trip to us and we bonded immediately. We also stayed with her parents in South Africa.


Hostel Chloe and Roger. Chichester, England.
We headed south in England to Chichester to meet up with Roger and Chloe who we met before sunrise at the Bangkok bus station many months ago. We both crossed our favorite Cambodian border together and then visited Angkor Wat. We also met up in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

We headed south in England to Chichester to meet up with Roger and Chloe who we met before sunrise at the Bangkok bus station many months ago. We both crossed our favorite Cambodian border together and then visited Angkor Wat. We also met up in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.


DSC_0003-8.jpgWhile in Chichester we went on a beautiful country side hike.

While in Chichester we went on a beautiful country side hike.


Locals like to confuse the foreigners.

Locals like to confuse the foreigners.


My new cottage is move-in ready!

My new cottage is move-in ready!


We loved getting to see some of England's countryside. Chichester is a small town with friendly locals and almost every major amenity you would need. We could live there very comfortably. And as most of you know, my heart has always been in London. Ever since studying abroad there more than a decade ago, I have always loved the city's character, charisma and culture. While there I also had a chance to visit with some old friends.

Hostel Elana and Bruce. Clapham Junction, London.
Elana, a friend from Hebrew School, was kind enough to help me find lodging in Paris for my anniversary. She has lived in London for the past three years with her husband, but is now en route back to NYC.

Elana, a friend from Hebrew School, was kind enough to help me find lodging in Paris for my anniversary. She has lived in London for the past three years with her husband, but is now en route back to NYC.


Hostel Dana. Holloway Road, North London.
Dana was another fabulous host. She is a friend from the University of Rochester.

Dana was another fabulous host. She is a friend from the University of Rochester.


Boulder, CO, visitor.
Our friend Raj was in London with his son Rishi for a family birthday party. Raj's sister Puja lives in the city.

Our friend Raj was in London with his son Rishi for a family birthday party. Raj's sister Puja lives in the city.


Welcome to Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Welcome to Amsterdam, Netherlands.


Hostel Hester and Freek. Amsterdam, Netherlands. (They quickly informed us with pride that the Dutch found New York. Why didn't we know this?)

Dutch waffles - yummy! Dave and I met Hester and Freek on a boat trip along the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.

Dutch waffles - yummy! Dave and I met Hester and Freek on a boat trip along the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.


I had been to Amsterdam before, but not to cities and towns around it. It was all new to Dave, and we both loved everything. Practically the entire country has bike paths, which makes getting around very easy, and makes the sport extremely safe and fun. Oddly, for the amount of biking the Dutch do, they tend to ride bikes circa 1950. We are told this is due to theft, but we think they just like the old fashioned wheels.

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Hester and Freek took us to Delft, the college town where the two of them met.

Hester and Freek took us to Delft, the college town where the two of them met.


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The Netherlands is built below sea level, so many buildings are on soft foundations. As a result many homes and buildings are crooked like this church in Delft.

The Netherlands is built below sea level, so many buildings are on soft foundations. As a result many homes and buildings are crooked like this church in Delft.


View of Delft from the top of a church in the center square.

View of Delft from the top of a church in the center square.


Enjoying the view with Hester and Freek.

Enjoying the view with Hester and Freek.


They took us to the Hague for a stroll on the beach where Hester wind surfs and surfs, and for a local treat. Freek eats Haring, a small, local fish that is enjoyed with its entire body in tact. I couldn't stomach this local delicacy.

They took us to the Hague for a stroll on the beach where Hester wind surfs and surfs, and for a local treat. Freek eats Haring, a small, local fish that is enjoyed with its entire body in tact. I couldn't stomach this local delicacy.


I love supermarkets and buying local goods. In Amsterdam you get a personal zapper to tag your food as you shop. It was genius and a little too much fun!

I love supermarkets and buying local goods. In Amsterdam you get a personal zapper to tag your food as you shop. It was genius and a little too much fun!


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While in Amsterdam, Dave and I took a tour on bike, the main mode of transportation for locals.

While in Amsterdam, Dave and I took a tour on bike, the main mode of transportation for locals.


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We stopped at a clog factory for Dave to get some new shoes.

We stopped at a clog factory for Dave to get some new shoes.


After the ride we stopped for some local fast food at FEBO . . . croquettes right from a vending machine. The fried cheese and meat roll was oddly good.

After the ride we stopped for some local fast food at FEBO . . . croquettes right from a vending machine. The fried cheese and meat roll was oddly good.


Dave also toured the Anne Frank House, which I did many years ago. And we both took a trip to the infamous Red Light District where the sex industry is still booming.

Sorry....no pole dancing shots for public viewing. This is all you get.

Sorry....no pole dancing shots for public viewing. This is all you get.


In Europe, cars are small!

In Europe, cars are small!


We have many more new friends we would have liked to visit, but time was against us. The good news is we are only a flight away!

- Elizabeth

Posted by daveliz 11:20 Archived in England Comments (2)

Climbing Kilimanjaro

Dave's adventure to the roof of Africa

40 °F
View A Rough Outline of our Trip on daveliz's travel map.

Seven Argentinians and me at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. From left to right, top row: Raul, Mariano, Miguel, Mariela, and Gustavo. Bottom row: me, Jose Maria, Juan.

Seven Argentinians and me at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. From left to right, top row: Raul, Mariano, Miguel, Mariela, and Gustavo. Bottom row: me, Jose Maria, Juan.


I arrived in Moshi, Tanzania, to meet my guide and porters to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa, rising 15,100 feet from it's base. I also met a group of eight Argentinians, all who spoke little English, that I would be hiking with for the next week. I figured it would be a good time to practice my Spanish before we head back to South America at the end of the year. I was excited for the walk, but a bit apprehensive since I heard many stories of climbing difficulties.

Our first view of the mountain through the clouds as we drove to the start of the Machame route up Kilimanjaro. Machame is one of the most popular routes, offering some of the best views. I descended a different trail called Mweka.

Our first view of the mountain through the clouds as we drove to the start of the Machame route up Kilimanjaro. Machame is one of the most popular routes, offering some of the best views. I descended a different trail called Mweka.


A Kilimanjaro flower only found on this mountain.

A Kilimanjaro flower only found on this mountain.


Our assistant guide Antile heard I was from Boston so wore an appropriate shirt for the occasion!

Our assistant guide Antile heard I was from Boston so wore an appropriate shirt for the occasion!


To break the ice with the Argentinians, I introduced myself to Gustavo. Gustavo then introduced me to another member of their group, "This is Miguel. Miguel is a gay in Argentina." I asked him to try again in Spanish and learned that Miguel is actually a professional mountain guide in Argentina. We had a good laugh when I explained what he had said! Miguel claimed it was only one time.

Miguel a.k.a. "Colorado" for his red hair and sun burnt face. He and Mariano are professional mountain guides in Cordoba, Argentina, for a company called Alto Rumbo (http://www.champaqui.com.ar).

Miguel a.k.a. "Colorado" for his red hair and sun burnt face. He and Mariano are professional mountain guides in Cordoba, Argentina, for a company called Alto Rumbo (http://www.champaqui.com.ar).


Climbing Kilimanjaro is a bonding experience. The Argentinians were a warm, wonderful and fun group to be with on the climb, which helped ease my apprehension. Elizabeth and I plan to visit them in Cordoba to do some hiking in December with their mountaineering company Alto Rumbo.

Juan "Commando", the eldest of the group (age 53) and retired special forces marine, flew the Argentinian flag during the climb. I left my American flag at home ;-)

Juan "Commando", the eldest of the group (age 53) and retired special forces marine, flew the Argentinian flag during the climb. I left my American flag at home ;-)


The group on day three.

The group on day three.


Raul was the best English speaker of the group, so I looked to him as a translator, when the Spanish talking was too rapido.

Raul was the best English speaker of the group, so I looked to him as a translator, when the Spanish talking was too rapido.


Jose Maria with Juma, our wonderful mountain guide who has been climbing Kilimanjaro for 12 years. The day after our climb finished, Juma headed up the mountain again with another group. I was exhausted, so this is an amazing feat by the guides and porters who work non-stop.

Jose Maria with Juma, our wonderful mountain guide who has been climbing Kilimanjaro for 12 years. The day after our climb finished, Juma headed up the mountain again with another group. I was exhausted, so this is an amazing feat by the guides and porters who work non-stop.


After three long days of climbing from 4000 feet up to 15,000 feet and back down to 12,000 feet to help acclimatize, we were ready to get to the summit. Our guide's instructions were 1) if you feel dizzy it's normal, look down for a minute or so, 2) if you feel like you want to vomit it's normal, force yourself to vomit and 3) if you are losing your balance it's normal, I'll give you a Red Bull and you will feel better. These instructions didn't settle our nerves much.

Hiking through the giant lobelia trees. We climbed through five different vegetation zones making for interesting flora.

Hiking through the giant lobelia trees. We climbed through five different vegetation zones making for interesting flora.


Eating dinner before summit day.

Eating dinner before summit day.


The summit day seemed like the longest day of my life. It was certainly the most physically demanding thing I've ever done. We left at 7 a.m. on day four, climbed to 15,000 feet, arriving at 3 p.m. We ate and slept for a few hours, and then left for the summit at 10:30 p.m. after forcing down some popcorn and cookies. We all felt some dizziness from the altitude and breathing got more difficult as we climbed higher. A couple people in my group also felt nauseous, but overall we were "un grupo fuerte (a strong group)." We saw several other people being rushed down the mountain with altitude sickness.

Eight out of nine of us from our group (unfortunately, one stayed back with altitude sickness) reached the Uhuru peak summit at 19,340 feet just after sunrise on day five around 7 a.m. Everyone was emotional at the top. We all felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, and the view was amazing! I also felt very lucky to have experienced this with new Argentinian friends.

Sunrise as we climbed to the summit.

Sunrise as we climbed to the summit.


Kilimanjaro's disappearing glacier with Mount Meru in the background.

Kilimanjaro's disappearing glacier with Mount Meru in the background.


I made it! I'm at the summit with Juan beside me kissing the sign post in relief.

I made it! I'm at the summit with Juan beside me kissing the sign post in relief.


After the summit we made a long descent all the way back down to 12,000 feet, making for 20 hours of climbing and descending in a row. We danced and sang the Kilimanjaro song with the porters in celebration.

After the summit we made a long descent all the way back down to 12,000 feet, making for 20 hours of climbing and descending in a row. We danced and sang the Kilimanjaro song with the porters in celebration.


- Dave

PS. For those of you considering to climb Kilimanjaro let me know. I'd be happy to share my research on routes and guides. I had a great experience with Juma and his crew.

Note: Miguel did a great job capturing the entire climb. You can see his photos at Expedicion al Kilimanjaro

Posted by daveliz 00:39 Archived in Tanzania Comments (4)

Tanzania: Serengeti safaris to Zanzibar spice

Plus, a peak at Kenya

71 °F

Dave and I traveled through most of Africa in a large overland truck. The distance between stops was great, so we weren't able to spend as much time as we would have liked getting to know locals. This portion of our trip was more about seeing the landscape and wildlife.

Elephants wander in the wild of the Serengeti, Tanzania.

Elephants wander in the wild of the Serengeti, Tanzania.


We got sore tushes on this truck, but the views were great!

We got sore tushes on this truck, but the views were great!


TANZANIA definitely seems modern by Malawi standards. Although some people are struggling, there seems to be more evidence of positive employment and education. Tanzanians are very clever, and the country certainly knows how to profit from tourists. Home to Mount Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti, the Tanzanian government charges astronomical fees to visit, climb and explore both, but we felt it was worth it.

It should also be noted that the northern part of the country is mostly Muslim. We were there during Ramadan, a time when most of the population observed fasts for a better part of the day and closed up shops for prayer time. People also dressed a lot more conservative than in other African nations.

DAR ES SALAAM, arabic meaning abode for peace, is the largest city in Tanzania, but it is not the capital. Unlike its name, the city is extremely busy with businesses lining every space of street and traffic is horrendous. This may explain why the majority of Tanzania's population are farmers living in rural areas.

DAR ES SALAAM, arabic meaning abode for peace, is the largest city in Tanzania, but it is not the capital. Unlike its name, the city is extremely busy with businesses lining every space of street and traffic is horrendous. This may explain why the majority of Tanzania's population are farmers living in rural areas.


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ZANZIBAR is an island off the coast of Tanzania popular for its beaches and spices.

Stone Town is the main area of Zanzibar. It is a maze of narrow roads with shops and homes at every turn.

Stone Town is the main area of Zanzibar. It is a maze of narrow roads with shops and homes at every turn.


The architecture is beautifully old in Stone Town.

The architecture is beautifully old in Stone Town.


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Business is slow during Ramadan.

Business is slow during Ramadan.


Zanzibar shops sell traditional wood crafts and lots of wild fabrics.

Zanzibar shops sell traditional wood crafts and lots of wild fabrics.


At night people enjoy freshly cooked fish and other local treats in the town square.

At night people enjoy freshly cooked fish and other local treats in the town square.


Stone Town was the center of the slave trade in the 1800s. This is a monument so locals never forget.

Stone Town was the center of the slave trade in the 1800s. This is a monument so locals never forget.


Spice plantations are everywhere on the island, growing everything from cocoa, vanilla, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, jackfruit, passion fruit and lemon grass.

Spice plantations are everywhere on the island, growing everything from cocoa, vanilla, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, jackfruit, passion fruit and lemon grass.


A worker climbs up a coconut tree to get the goods.

A worker climbs up a coconut tree to get the goods.


Crazy tree, Zanzibar.

Crazy tree, Zanzibar.


Life on the beach with some of our friends.

Life on the beach with some of our friends.


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Faasai are fake Maasai. They are dressed similarly to Maasai, with their wool blanket, lion sword, and staff, but they have the tell tale fancy watch, sunglasses and sandals. They wander the beaches making money for photo opportunities and "massages," an apparent cover for prostitution. More on the real Maasai people below.

Faasai are fake Maasai. They are dressed similarly to Maasai, with their wool blanket, lion sword, and staff, but they have the tell tale fancy watch, sunglasses and sandals. They wander the beaches making money for photo opportunities and "massages," an apparent cover for prostitution. More on the real Maasai people below.


Muslim women heading to fish.

Muslim women heading to fish.


Zanzibar women use an old fishing technique of slapping water with a stick while walking round and round in a circle with a net to catch the fish.

Zanzibar women use an old fishing technique of slapping water with a stick while walking round and round in a circle with a net to catch the fish.


SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK is home to the 'Big 5': lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino. We saw four out of the five. Apparently there are only about 20 rhinos left in the area and on the day of our visit they decided to go on vacation. As a concilation we saw some other favorites, like the giraffe. Serengeti is a Maasai word for 'endless plain,' which makes sense since it is 14,763 square kilometers and home to thousands of plants and predators.

Sunrise in the Serengeti.

Sunrise in the Serengeti.


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The elusive leopard.

The elusive leopard.


African buffalo.

African buffalo.


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Part of Serengeti is the Ngorongoro Crater, which is the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera. There are a large number of animals living there because of its rich pasture and permanent water supply. Giraffes are the exception, since there aren't many tall trees at the base of the crater.

A Maasai man herds cattle on the rim of the Ngorongoro crater.

A Maasai man herds cattle on the rim of the Ngorongoro crater.


The Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater region are home to the Maasai people. This tribe lives a very simple life, yet by modern standards it could be considered sexist. Read up if you are interested to learn more.

The Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater region are home to the Maasai people. This tribe lives a very simple life, yet by modern standards it could be considered sexist. Read up if you are interested to learn more.


Here is our day in the crater:

Enjoying the ride on the safari truck.

Enjoying the ride on the safari truck.


Scoping for action.

Scoping for action.


A Serengeti cheetah is the fastest land animal and is even more elusive than the Leopard.

A Serengeti cheetah is the fastest land animal and is even more elusive than the Leopard.


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We didn't see too much action on these safaris. The exception was when a few hyenas were pestering these wildebeests. They decided to herd together into a collective charge with the young ones in the middle to scare off the hyenas.

We didn't see too much action on these safaris. The exception was when a few hyenas were pestering these wildebeests. They decided to herd together into a collective charge with the young ones in the middle to scare off the hyenas.


Serengeti hyena.

Serengeti hyena.


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The warthog was definitely hit by the ugly stick.

The warthog was definitely hit by the ugly stick.


Jackal.

Jackal.


Gazelles are everywhere in the Serengeti. They fill fields as far as the eye can see.

Gazelles are everywhere in the Serengeti. They fill fields as far as the eye can see.


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KENYA

I left Dave in Tanzania to climb Kili and headed to Nairobi, Kenya, for two days. The city seemed strikingly modern, but I didn't explore too much because locals call Nairobi Nairobbery, so I just saw the markets and daily life from a bus, and only talked to locals at a campground. I was en route to London so perhaps didn't give it a fair shake.

Nairobi streets are lined with vendors much like the rest of Africa, but when you enter downtown it turns modern with western-like shops and malls.

Nairobi streets are lined with vendors much like the rest of Africa, but when you enter downtown it turns modern with western-like shops and malls.



Traffic into downtown Nairobi is a nightmare, but the good news is you can buy everything from bananas to steering wheels to blowup chairs right outside your window!

Traffic into downtown Nairobi is a nightmare, but the good news is you can buy everything from bananas to steering wheels to blowup chairs right outside your window!



In closing, you can't go to Africa without spotting President Obama. He is everywhere; on shirts, scarves, buses and signs. Like us, the locals have high hopes for him.

Obama store in Tanzania.

Obama store in Tanzania.


Hakuna Matata,
- Elizabeth

Posted by daveliz 13:07 Archived in Tanzania Comments (2)

Malawi post Madonna

a culture growing too dependent on foreigners

sunny 70 °F
View A Rough Outline of our Trip on daveliz's travel map.


One fifth of Malawi's landscape is made up of Lake Malawi, which is 500 kilometers long. Locals call it “the Lake of Stars.”  It is the third largest lake in Africa and has more fish species than any other lake in the world with around 600 different species.

One fifth of Malawi's landscape is made up of Lake Malawi, which is 500 kilometers long. Locals call it “the Lake of Stars.” It is the third largest lake in Africa and has more fish species than any other lake in the world with around 600 different species.


MALAWI is a country I had never heard of until Madonna adopted a child from there, and I gather I was not alone, as tourism has become popular in the last few years. To understand Malawi's culture you have to understand the impact AIDS and malaria has had on the country. In the 90's, more than 80% of the adult population was wiped out from the two diseases, resulting in a nation full of orphans. (Our information is from our tour guide, so many not be completely statistically accurate.)

Children often care for younger siblings.

Children often care for younger siblings.


Since many children grow up without parental role models, social skills and maturity levels are lower than what one would expect of a person the same age in another country. Education is free, but not mandatory. We visited one school that was rundown with rooms consisting of little more than a chalk board. We learned one teacher is responsible for roughly 150 students. As a result, work skills necessary to operate much of Malawi's industry, government and education system are also lagging behind.

In Malawi kids just want to hold your hand or touch you. The kids would claim you as their own and push others away from stealing you. We were told that their elders tell them that foreigners are wealthy and it might rub off on them.

In Malawi kids just want to hold your hand or touch you. The kids would claim you as their own and push others away from stealing you. We were told that their elders tell them that foreigners are wealthy and it might rub off on them.


Malawi children embrace their local dance.

Malawi children embrace their local dance.


We visited Chitimba and Kande Beach where we took a village tour. Unfortunately, it was less about educating us about daily life and traditions, and more about asking us for money. The culture of begging is exhausting in Africa. After talking to many locals and volunteer workers from western organizations, including the Peace Corps, we strongly believe in sustainable tourism and charity services that help enable people to help themselves.

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Giving money, especially to children, simply makes the problem worse by creating more dependence.

It is common to see kids selling food on the street, even during a typical school day, to help their family earn some money.

It is common to see kids selling food on the street, even during a typical school day, to help their family earn some money.


Instead, donations or loans put directly towards education, health care and business makes money go much further. Dave is a fan of Kiva, www.kiva.org. It is also valuable for people with labor and domestic skills to donate their services to teach others. This would empower people in places likes Malawi villages to provide for themselves, their families and community.

Workers at a maize plant make food for people in the village. Maize is a main stay of most meals. It is thick and starchy, often served like mashed potatoes or porridge.

Workers at a maize plant make food for people in the village. Maize is a main stay of most meals. It is thick and starchy, often served like mashed potatoes or porridge.


In the last decade, the Malawi government has provided more funding and education to eradicate the problems of AIDS and malaria. However, most locals still prefer to visit a witch doctor before going to a hospital if they have health concerns. Plus, the hospital we visited was bare bones, with little technology and only one nurse on site. People have to travel nearly two hours to the big city to see a medical doctor.

A few other notes on Malawi:
Locals love a good board game, and they are experts at making wood crafts and games.

A common Malawi board game, Boa.

A common Malawi board game, Boa.


They love music.

Dave tries his hand at African drumming.

Dave tries his hand at African drumming.


And,

Did you know rubber comes from trees? Malawi is full of smelly and sticky rubber tree farms.

Did you know rubber comes from trees? Malawi is full of smelly and sticky rubber tree farms.


- Elizabeth

Posted by daveliz 05:26 Archived in Malawi Comments (2)

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