Sausages, bacon, eggs and toast this morning! It is really nice to have a short day ahead of us, so that we could have a slow start to the day. Having breakfasted we loaded the bikes, settled our bill and headed out of Monkey Bay.
Before we turned off to Cape Maclear, we stopped to have a chat with the guys at the wood carving place about getting a model of our bike made. We have been unable to get a photo printed, so they have made a quick sketch and have told us it will take about three days. Negotiating a price was a bit trickier and probably more than we wanted to pay. If they come up with anything like they have promised though, it should be a nice souvenir of our time in Malawi.
The ride to Cape Maclear is along a 20km long dirt road, interspersed with a tiny bit of tarmac, passing through Lake Malawi National Park. It is a beautiful stretch of road and is well worth the ride. Aside from a few sections we were able to find a smooth track along the edges to avoid the at times vicious corrugations. For the main part the track is pretty smooth, although considerably hillier than we were expecting. Debs hadn't put her knee supports on and when the track turned to tarmac and started to climb quite steeply she ground to a halt. A combination of pushing and me running back down the road to give her a helping hand, meant that we got her to the top. From there on in, it was mainly downhill until we reached the coast. Obviously we have to go back up when we leave, but that is for another day!
Following the signs we arrived at 'Fat Monkeys' and found a nice shady camp-site under a tree. We have also found an infestation of caterpillars that seem fond of our inner tent. Having not closed the inner, we were a little concerned that Toad was about to be carried off by the number of caterpillars I had to remove from him! As long as they don't start trying to eat the tent we will be fine.
Obviously meeting cycle tourists has become commonplace for us now, so we weren't as surprised as we might have been when we met a family of Dutch cyclists who are spending three weeks travelling round Malawi. They seemed like a lovely family and it is nice to see parents and teenage children embarking on an adventure of a different kind during the school holidays.
While we were staying at Monkey Bay, a couple had told us that they had been to a cinema for the village children in Cape Maclear. While looking at the posters near reception we saw that there was a showing tonight at 6pm; our evening plans were settled. The films are shown twice a week on a projector screen in the village streets. For the next hour we sat surrounded by excited children, some of the little ones sitting on our laps, while they showed a succession of Mickey Mouse cartoons. It was a heart warming experience as the kids got very excited about the escapades of the on screen characters. The end of every cartoon was greeted by cheers and clapping and the experience was one of the highlights of our time in Malawi. We enjoyed it so much, we will probably go again on Saturday.
From the film showing we walked back along the beach to the camp. A couple of beers rounded off a very nice day. Far from overtly touristy, so far we have found Cape Maclear to be very relaxed and laid back. Things can obviously change, but for now it looks like a good place to spend a few days.