I loooooove Madonna
Billboard in Malawi
We're in Lilongwe, Malawi… and so is Madonna. She's here buying/kidnapping/adopting another child. I don't know all the details around this situation but I do know that the last one she took out of the country cost her a $6 million donation to build an orphanage. It still hasn't been built. No one I have talked to is surprised. Paying $6 million to build an orphanage in Malawi is about as ridiculous as paying $6 million to build an orphanage in Canada. For that kind of money a person can buy a government in Africa, not a good one mind you, but I reckon you could certainly get a few of the lesser republics like Gabon, Suriname or Malawi for example. Where the money has gone is anyone's guess but it certainly seems that when she originally paid that sum it wasn't for the construction of a facility for parentless children but rather a down payment on the right to remove human beings from their native country at her publicists' recommendation. Nonetheless, she's here and no one can get a hotel room due to all the paparazzi skulking around like feral dogs.
Apart from that chaos, Lilongwe is an interesting city. I was surprised to discover beautifully clean streets, vibrant people and all the comforts of a major western city… minus a movie theatre. Riders celebrated the completion of another section last evening at the campsite bar and spent today walking around the city, planning a golf game for tomorrow and washing their clothes. The clothes washing bit, unfortunately didn't turn out as planned as it seems that we are stuck in a bizarre weather system that unleashes a torrential downpour every two hours or so utterly preventing anything from properly drying out, ourselves included. Nonetheless, spirits are high despite a few setbacks, route changes and bridge washouts experienced over the past week. We are preparing to bid a fond farewell to seven sectional riders who are departing us, including four of our Lonely Planet entourage and welcoming another five.