We headed to Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, to sort out onward transport to Zambia and try to figure out a way around the ridiculously high $100 visa fee for US citizens. Thanks to the wonderful owners at Mabuya lodge we found a hotel that would arrange a tourist waiver for us, but it meant we needed to hang around a few extra days.
Lilongwe is much smaller than any of the other Africa capitals we'd been to, and as one of the poorest nations in the world, seriously lacking in important luxuries like cheap internet and good restaurants. But, it was a friendly enough place and easy to navigate. We loved exploring its many markets, where you could by everything from auto parts to fried baby chickens. We also enjoyed the "jug" band that sprung up nearby the craft stalls one afternoon. How many of you can turn an old gas can into a bass guitar?
The layover also gave us to the chance to go to the US Embassy for additional passport pages. With the idiotic smiles of George, Dick and Condi welcoming us in and the representative looking up from picking his fantasy football team to help us, we almost forgot we were in the middle of Africa. It was so clean, so efficient - and the toilet paper was so soft!