Lumps in my Trousers

Saturday, November 19, 2016
Nkhotakota, Central Region, Malawi
Motto - Never walk past a cash machine without trying to get money out.

Throughout this holiday I have had serious problems with my trousers / shorts . At last I can come clean as to the cause! The pockets were full of money!

Very few places in Malawi take credit cards, even the expensive hotels either don't take cards or if they do they add on a huge premium for the privellege. Unlike everywhere else we have been in Africa there are very few cash machines and those which do exist are empty more often than they are full. Last Sunday we saw three banks and six machines all in a row, none worked. The advice from everyone before we came is "Cash is King". That is all very well but a five week holiday means starting with thousands of pounds in cash, I felt uncomfortable walking through Shrewsbury with such a large amount of money in US$ when I collected it before the holiday yet here I am in a strange country where 95% of the population are very poor with my pockets stashed with cash!

Now we are four weeks into the holiday and I have just paid the bill for a very expensive lodge, by far the most expensive on our trip so far, the lump in my trousers has been reduced to something a little more manageable. Now the worry is can we keep extracting money out of the unreliable cash machines faster than we can spend it, if not we might become destitute, if you start getting emails from us saying we need your help don't immediately put them into junk, they might be real.

The one plus of an expensive lodge is they have a good internet connection even though it is called the Tongole Wilderness Lodge, I think the Wilderness refers to the fact that it is probably the only place in Africa without a good mobile phone signal.

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