zomba, 4

Malawi - Monkeys Out The Hotel Room
(immediate outside my hotel room, first morning in Malawi)

The plurality of our waking time so far in Malawi has been in the classroom. Most of the rest of our time has been sitting in one of the three places we eat waiting for food. Most of the rest of the rest of the time has been me being up in the middle of the night, not asleep. I’m having a good time, but the more exciting part of our trip will commence on Saturday after our class ends. How exciting? Suffice it to say that we are renting a car and Sal will be driving.

Someone asked how the Internet works here (w/ special bonus Hard Candy SPOILER!): There’s not any at our hotel and we’ve only had one workable day of Internet at the college where we are teaching. One place where we eat (Tasty Bites, described to us as “the white hangout”) sells these cards that you scratch off to get a username and password that works for a WiFi connection both there and another of the places where we eat (Annie’s Lodge, where are are now and where the other night I almost had a seizure as the extremely protracted castration scene from Hard Candy was playing at blaring volume while we were trying to check e-mail).* The cards are maddening because the username and password are poorly printed and if you misread a letter it makes you wait a minute before you can try to log in again. They cost 200 kwacha (about $1.50) and work for 30 minutes after you log in. The connection itself varies in speed between maybe .5-2x dialup, although we each spent a card over lunch today trying and failing to send a single Gmail message. And last night we lost our connection at Annie’s Lodge when the electricity went out as we were waiting for dinner (the candle and matches in my hotel room now make more sense).

* Statements made by your blog author during this episode include: “Hey, isn’t that the girl from Juno?”, “This must be that movie Hard Candy.”, “What’s going on?”, “This is an interesting choice of movie for a restaurant to have playing over dinner.”, “Whoa.”, “We have to go.”, “We have to go! Now!”

Author: jeremy

I am the Ethel and John Lindgren Professor of Sociology and a Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.

3 thoughts on “zomba, 4”

  1. So awesome! I’ve been missing your posts. I love your sense of adventure about everything. Even castration movies. Glad you’re having a good time, and stay safe and not-sick.

    The closest I’ve ever been to Africa is taking a couple of courses on the Sophiatown Renaissance and “Third World Women Writers,” and so I am envious.


  2. haha! When you were talking about Hard Candy the other day, I assumed you meant the recent Madonna album. The movie is a completely different story. While I thought it was great, I can’t imagine it being played in a restaurant (or what it’s like watching it as a man). We have all kinds of strange movies played in our local Indian restaurant, many of which are not the least appropriate for my vision of family dining.


  3. Watch out for those vervet monkeys, Jeremy. They can be very cheeky. When I was at Amboseli (southern Kenya, within sight of Kilimanjaro) the vervets would come right up on the verandah and help themselves to tea and biscuits.

    Having lived in Africa for a few years (plus many long field seasons during the summer), I am amazed that you have any kind of internet access (except in big cities, where its kind of like being in Europe, with internet cafes on every streetcorner).

    In case you need a flashlight during one of those power outages, be sure to ask for a “torch” (you can ask for a flashlight, like I did in Kenya, until you’re blue in the face).


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