A Ride in an Ambulance

Wednesday, November 02, 2016
Nkhata Bay, Northern Region, Malawi
A headline to grab you attention, have we been taken ill, run down by one of the 13 cars on the island? No, we needed to catch the 8am ferry and the lodges boat would take too long so they arranged for the local ambulance to double as a taxi, Gill was in the front, me in the back the only disappointment was the driver did not switch on the blue light and siren.
The ferry was a modern one with a landing craft type front which is supposed to enable the customers to walk on and off but because the lake is low it would not reach the beach . Cue for chaos, the fishermen make 10p a passenger carrying them the 10 yards to the boat without getting their feet wet, some people just waded. Whilst Africans seem laid back when it comes to getting on or off a ferry they are maniacs, the people on the small boats trying to get onto the ship were trampled underfoot by those getting off. Absolutely hilarious.
A further complication was the ferry had come from Mozambique so the immigration chaps had to try and check all those already on the boat, if you wanted to smuggle someone between the countries the chaos means this is the route to take. There was also a prisoner being escorted back from Mozambique, he seemed to be handcuffed to something in the engine room for part of the journey so his minder could have a rest.
The journey across the lake took 4 hours and is about 45 miles which gives you some idea of the size of the lake, when you are on one side you can't see the other.

We are now moved a little down market and are staying in a Diving School in Nkhata Bay, we don't intend to do any diving but it is right in the centre of town, has a fridge full of cold beer and has bovril, this gives it three extra stars in Mrs Lucas's scoring system.
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