Thursday, July 17, 2008

my walk

so, again, i don't have the capability to upload any pictures... but my walk didn't let me get many really good ones anyway. the age old question in africa: can a black person be a mzungu? (mzungu = "traveller", at least according to david, who if there ever was one was a black mzungu) basically, mzungu = white person/tourist. if there ever was a black mzungu, they would have to look something like carlton on the fresh prince of bel air. plaid sweater and fanny pack.

so, they DO use the word mzungu in malawi. and once again, it's amazing to me how much attention a person can gather just by walking down the street. i took my camera with me, which was kind of the point of the walk, but also just to get out of the hotel, which, though i've only been here 24 hours, seems like i've been in this room for weeks. probably cause i stayed up until 1am last night making my powerpoint for the lecture this morning. i'm going to bed early tonight.

but anyway, the walk. i walked up and down the length of both "main streets" in blantyre - supposedly the largest city in malawi (i'm not disputing that fact, but it would have only taken me about 20 min to do that walk if i had hurried). just so you know, at the intersection of those two streets, there is a small bank, a guy selling phone cards, and a hotel parking lot. very anticlimatic.

the most interesting part was walking through the main market. (i couldn't find the mzungu market - crafts and such) so, africans like their cheap chinese-made electronic gadgets. stall after stall was cell phone covers, misc. power adapters, cheap little toys (like the happy meal kind), one guy was selling handfulls of naked barbies, and i DID see a guy selling suit coats but i chickened out b/c i was getting too many strange looks. i can just hear it: "hey mzungu, what is your size? i give you nice price. where you from? this is your first time in my country? come, please have a look!" as i left the "market" (the one with all the brick stalls and covered roofs), i saw, across the street, on the curb spread out on dirty tarps, the vegetables, potatoes, pyramids of tomatoes, and fish that i had expected to see. guess they know their priorities. there were a couple of awesome pictures i missed of women dressed in brightly colored traditional clothes picking out tomatoes with a baby bundled on their back - but the vegetable sellers wanted to charge me to take a picture of them. so i kept walking.

i stopped at an ethiopian restaurant on the way back (the guy has been living in malawi for 12 years and was dictating prices for a new menu for his employee to write out the whole time i was there). it was nice to have ethiopian food in africa - but about the same. except instead of being in a trendy, dimly lit room in the village, this "restaurant" doubled as a small grocery store (but the only thing i saw for sale was bananas and sweet potatoes), a cd store, a sunglasses store, and also.... you'll never guess.... new suits! but i want a USED one... jeesh.

heading back to the hotel, it was getting dark. the brightly full moon was rising behind some pink clouds, above the mountains on the edge of town. so... i looked to my right, and...... the southern cross!! it was much higher in the sky than i expected. but, i knew it right when i saw it. awesome.

the main intersection in blantyre

on the street, with a baby bundle

vegetable market

street vendor

the southern cross


Anonymous said...

i'm still catching up on all the posts (nice job!!), but I have one comment to post right now: Excuse me, what do you mean you've never been picked up at the airport by someone holding a sign w/ your name on it, buddy????!!

Eric said...

hahaha... well, i guess what i meant was, someone i didn't know.... um... i mean........ hey! what's that behind your shoulder??!??

Anonymous said...

lol...why ya such a monkey????

Anonymous said...

lol...i LOVE your carlton comment! hilarious! you're such a good writer, bub.

Les said...

need a little camera lens hidden in your hat!