A tiring Lilongwe weekend

A weekend in the life of a Lilongwe-er:

Friday night we met some friends to go out for Ethiopian food. The Queen of Sheba restaurant is just an extension of the owner's house. There are no signs, and like all of the nicer homes in Lilongwe, the house is behind an 8 foot barbed wire wall. I called a friend who gave me directions, but basically we had to drive around aimlessly peering through cracks in gates. We eventually found it and had a very authentic Ethiopian meal with loads of injera (fermented grain pancake like bread). Two years ago, Claudia and I traveled through Ethiopia for 3 weeks and by the end were totally sick of injera since you eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This was our first injera since then - and I enjoyed, but 2 years wasn't long enough for Claudia.

Saturday morning I woke up just after five and headed to the local international school to compete in a Triathlon. Despite the short distances (250m swim, 10k cycle, 2k run) it was very tiring, but a lot of fun. There were about 15-20 men in my division, many of which I knew. There were all sorts of other divisions as well, including a triathlon for kids under 8. It was fun watching these tiny kids swim a lap, then zoom around on their little bmx bikes.

In the afternoon I went to Kamuzu Dam, which is about 30 minutes outside of town. I have been learning how to sail and a race was scheduled for 2:30. I figured that sailing a boat wouldn't require too much of my already spent strength. Boy was I wrong. The wind was very strong and I was having some great runs (can't remember the proper term) where I was completely hanging over the side of the dinghy. What I didn't realize was that my boat was taking on water, so when a wave came over the bow my boat plowed under it and capsized. We had practiced righting a capsized boat, but mine was full of water. Whenever I righted the boat (which requires a lot of energy), it either fell back over, or only the bow remained above water. As I continued to drift downwind from the sailing club someone saw me, went to get help, then promptly capsized his boat. Eventually an experienced sailor was dropped off and we decided to swim the boat to the shore, which included navigating a maze of sharp dead, sunken trees. On shore some Malawians helped us pull the boat on shore to drain it. We then tried to paddle out, only to be blown by the wind into the previously mentioned logs. The rescue motorboat arrived just as we slammed into a log and ripped part of our sail. I jumped into the motorboat and we eventually navigated out of the sunken forest, which was beginning to remind me of a setting from The Lord of the Rings. Then the motorboat ran out of fuel. So we had to row for about an hour into the wind while pulling the sailboat which was again taking on water. We eventually returned, but I was exhausted.

Sunday morning was church, but it was really hot and stuffy. We went home and collapsed outside in the shade for a couple of hours. At four, I played ultimate frisbee with about 15 others at Africa Bible College. I picked up a pizza on the way home and Claudia and I started the first episode of 24, season 4, which was loaned to us by some friends.

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