Day 80, stage 62, 131km
Start, Kasungu, Kasungu Inn
Finish, Lilongwe, Korean Garden Lodge
Felt weak again. But the sun was out and today we would get to Lilongwe and a two-day break. Bob and I set out early. Bob now had his legs. He went off strong. I set a steady but no quick pace. I wanted to manage what energy I had. The first 50km were very pleasant. Lovely countryside. Lovely morning. And then somebody turned the headwind on – force 8. The next 26kkm into lunch were a struggle. The villages were quiet. It was Easter Sunday. I wanted some fluid. I was drinking from my bottles but wanted the sugar/energy hit of a coke. I stopped in three villages before I found a shop with a coke. A poor area.
In Malawi there were many more kids standing by the side of the road with their hands out asking for money. We had experienced a lot of this in Ethiopia but very little since. In Malawi it was back with us. It was not universal, there were still lots of smiles and friendly greetings (the best road side comment I got was: ‘hey white man, why you are bicycle driving?’ I had no answer), but there was a growing tendency to ask for money. This bothers quite a few of the riders who see in it a sense of entitlement, aid or handout dependency and a lack of willingness to do it yourself.
I took a long break at lunch again. I took in a lot of fluids. I ate a proper lunch and had several oranges. I started to feel better. My guts did not start to do cartwheels when I put some food in – a good sign. I set off feeling better and gradually felt I had more energy and started to pick up the pace. I stopped for a coke about half way in and continued to feel good so picked up the pace a little more. In the ends I made much better time than I did the first two days out of Chitimba and was starting to feel back to normal.
Bob had been in for a while when I arrived. He had had a very good day, was feeling good and now had some miles in his legs. I am sure he will do very well on the next stages. It will be fun to watch him. With a few others we booked rooms at the Korean Garden Lodge – a bit of almost luxury – a swimming pool – Wi-Fi (I think) and a decent restaurant. I am looking forward to a good rest and then moving on to Lusaka.