Today we cross into Malawi. From Mbeya, we started the day in the clouds and slowly slipped into tropical vegetation with gardens of tea trees flanking the way.
At the border, I was posted to help cyclists enter Malawi. I waited amongst throngs of money changers, all hustling to exchange shillings to Kwatchas. â€œCome on man, help my business. Iâ€™ll give you a good rate,â€ they would say. Inevitably, the rate was bad and they would short you on several big bills.
After the majority of the riders came to the border and crossed safely into Malawi, the last group trying to change currency fell victim to the money changing game. The new Kwatcha means new colors, new denominations, and new rates. The fast talk and slight of hand of the practiced money changers adds to the confusion. As the dust settles and the deal is done, they were a few Kwatchas short.
Money changing aside, the transition between countries went smoothly and Malawi is a muggy change to Tanzania. As I say goodbye to Tanzania, I am looking forward to Lake Malawi and, more especially, the Malawian Carlsberg Brewing Company.