We again encountered a total absence of vehicles on the Malawi side of the border. The friendly border officials invited us to their home for lunch so we humored them while we waited for a car to materialize. When we finally departed, we huddled in the back in our windbreakers as the rain poured down. It was dark when we finally arrived in Liwonde but we were quickly able to find a hotel.
In the morning, we were faced with yet another crisis: there had been no options to change money at the border, none of the banks wanted our Mozambican meticais, and none of the ATMs were working. Fortunately we encountered an old Australian guy who was going to Mozambique and took pity on us to trade currencies. We started off for Blantyre, where we wanted to meet some other friends, but ran into them in the town of Zomba instead. A Peace Corps volunteers serving in the area invited us to come up to a cabin in the Zomba Plateau, so we went shopping and hitched a ride up into a lovely wooded area that reminded us of Oregon. We spent an idyllic couple of days there hiking and barbecuing, before heading out to Mulange in the southeast of the country, where we did more hiking and visited a tea plantation.
We next spent a night in Blantyre on our way up to Cape Maclear on the south end of Lake Malawi. Here we met up with friends from Peace Corps Mozambique, and we relaxed on the beach and went kayaking. Our last stop was the capital of Lilongwe—not a thrilling city but a good place to buy Christmas gifts and from where we flew out to Gabarone, Botswana.