Our 20 seconds of fame
Trip Start Sep 17, 2007
273Trip End Oct 08, 2008
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One of the two lifeboats had apparently broken down (one of the reasons for our delay). So they connected the two boats with a piece of rope, filled them both to the brim with passengers, and towed the broken one into shore. It did not look very safe
According to the official schedule, we were supposed to have arrived in Chipoka, our destination, at around 3:30am that morning. But we were still on the wrong side of the lake. It was apparent that we were going to be very, very late. Oh well, it was a beautiful day and the view was the same. The only problem was that we had run out of food. So we tried out the saloon. The lady comes around to take orders about an hour before and then cooks it up in the kitchen. We tried the fish. It was...fresh. We each got a different species. Mine looked very ferocious. Since it was the third day the menu was quite restricted as they ran out of the popular items.
A lot of people had hopped off the ferry by now and it became apparent that we were sharing the deck with a film crew. They had big video cameras and took a lot of pictures with fancy SLRs. I had a talk with the head man, who was filming a series for BBC about ecological issues in Africa. He had come up from South Africa, through Mozambique, and was heading to Zambia. He was here filming a show about the cichlids in Lake Malawi and sustainable fishing methods. He was also doing a segment on the Ilala Ferry. After we had our talk (was it on purpose I wonder?) one of the camermen came over
"Couldn't you have done this before we had been on the ferry for three days with a small bathroom and no mirror?" I asked. He said he had done that on purpose.
So we put on microphone, were posed on deck, and gave a shout out on queue. So if you happen to see the BBC special, "Time out in Africa," we might be in the episode about the Ilala ferry.
We arrived in Chipoka around 9 at night, a full 18 hours late. The whole point of getting off in Chipoka had been to not get in after dark. We had to find somewhere to stay, and apparently the only place was the Chipoka Lodge. We ended up sitting on the back of a kid's bicycle with our huge backpacks as he pedalled down the road in the pitch-blackness. It got exciting when we hit the railroad tracks. But we did find the Chipoka Lodge and it did have a room. Our journey on the Ilala was over.