After a not so positive arrival in Tete, the hottest place in Mozambique at the hottest time of year, we were very lucky to be staying with someone who knew a doctor. Mike was extremely ill for a few days. All the symptoms of Malaria. I took a day off running to be with him as I was so worried on the first day. But once he had been seen by doctor and we knew he wouldn't die, I carried on running with the wonderful Robert Kazunga as support while Mike recuperated. Here the story continues with extracts from my diary of Day 69 - 77... (7th - 15th November 2014)
Day 69 - 60.57km
I had very little sleep as I was worrying if Mike was alive, thankfully he snores so there were a few clues. Within seconds of me and Robert starting off, we were stopped by the police and asked for our passports. We don't carry them when we run so they kicked up a bit of a fuss. They basically just wanted money from us but we managed to present our passports to them and refused to pay a bribe. Good way to start the day! Our route out of Tete took us over a brand new bridge, we were probably some of the first people to cross, it wasn't actually open to vehicles yet. Today was pretty overcast and therefore quite cool which probably made it better for Robert as he hasn't ridden a bike much before. I had a great time getting to know him today, he is so easy going and an absolute inspiration.
Day 70 - 55.52km
The day started with a puncture. Always a good way to begin the day. Mike was still ill, so I had Roberts company again. We were both very quiet until we stopped for the first break, we barely spoke. Clearly we were both hungry, as we spoke nonstop after eating. Robert was really struggling with the cycling today. He kept saying that Alfredo (the bike) just didn't seem the same as yesterday. I really didn't know if it was the bike or the tiredness from cycling yesterday but when we got back to Mike, he had a look at Alfredo, and one of the brakes had been on all day. Whoops!
Day 71 - 57.38km
Crossing into Malawi today. The border crossing was very strange, there was a 6km gap between the two countries. I can understand a small gap but that seems like quite a long way to be no-mans-land. Anyway, it was all further than we expected and I was ravenous for food by the time I got some, I ate too much and then felt really uncomfortable running. Mike cycled with me for some of the day as he is feeling better. Malawi has made a great first impression. Everybody is very happy to see us, and genuinely happy and smiley. One young girl even ran down the road, after me, to give me a mango. A young boy riding a bike was so excited to see me that he crashed into the back of a car as he wasn't watching the road. I thought he was seriously hurt so tried to run over to help him but I tripped on the road. Everybody around us was laughing hysterically, especially Robert.
Day 72 - 59.21km
Mike was feeling a even better today so he came out on the bike for the first section, rested for the middle one and joined me for the last. I felt really lacking energy, literally all day with the exception of a couple of kilometres. A South African man that is working on a new railway, on our route, donated a bacon sandwich to me today. A bacon sandwich! I couldn't believe it. It was a miracle!
Day 73 - 58.39km
Today was just chaos. Everywhere we went there were people. I couldn't even find enough space to have a pee in a bush without people staring at me. It was quite stressful. Everybody wanted to shout 'white person' at us and run after us. The volume that they shout at is too loud. They scream and push and try to touch me. It's really hot, and I need to stop and stretch but I can't as I don't have a minute to myself. We slept in a place provided by a village head again but this time it was in the middle of a market in a town. There were about 70 children pushing and shouting around Robert as he tried to cook. Chaos!
Day 74 - 56.07km
Hardly slept. Such a noisy night. Mosquitoes, children, call-to-prayer... plus, woke up in a pool of sweat as it was so hot. All morning, children chased me and shouted at me. They are extremely loud and aggressive here. At lunch time we went into a town, Mangochi, where an adult man shouted at me also. My original, positive impression of Malawi is unfortunately changing. I have really achey knees at the moment, and I am super tired, wish I could have more sleep.
Day 75 - 60.90km
Had a mega hill to attack today, I love hills so this was fun for me. One of those hills that winds, side to side, to cope with the steep gradient. Strangely enough, once I began on the mega hill, I gained energy. The first time I have had energy in days. We crossed the border back into Mozambique today. It was another bizarre border point. It was just a dirt field, similar to the type of place you might expect to see a car boot sale, with a portacabin at the side for the official work. Back into Mozambique, all the men stare at me, this is how it was before. Strange how an imaginary line on the land makes such a difference.
Day 76 - 40.47km
Had a slight lay-in. Woke up at 04:20. Crazy world where that is a lay-in! Felt like I dragged myself around again today, the energy spurt I had yesterday has gone. Yet again the road was jam packed with houses and people which meant that I couldnt stop anywhere privately to have a pee. The children don't shout and chase you here which makes things easier. They just seem to stand and stare, and giggle once I have passed them. I only ran a short distance today and then we drove to Lichinga for a rest day tomorrow.
Day 77 - 0km