Monday, December 18, 2006

Our Christmas vacation plans

I have a lot of news and tidbits to share today, but I will try to prioritize.

First, and most importantly, my sister arrives today! She has spent the last 3 days trying to get here for a short Christmas break. She was supposed to arrive yesterday, but a freak windstorm in Seattle shut down the airport last Friday, forcing her to delay all her flights by one day.

My husband and I have been frantically trying to get our car licensed and registered so that we can drive her around Malawi. Hopefully the registration and insurance will be finished today, and tomorrow we can hit the road. Our plans are:

To spend a day walking around the Zomba plateau. There's a local legend that JR Tolkein once spent time in Zomba, and that it served as a model for the Shire in the Lord of the Rings. It's said that the name comes from the Shire river (pronounced Sheer-ray) that flows through the length of the country. Could be total rubbish, though.

We'll drive next to Blantyre, the old colonial capital. Weather permitting, we will drive to Mt. Mulanje, the third-highest peak in Africa, for a short hike. Then on Friday we will return to Lilongwe via Dedza, home of Dedza Pottery. That evening we're off to the U.S. Embassy Christmas party.

Over Christmas we have booked a 3-day safari to South Luangwa Park in Zambia. We'll be staying in the gorgeous Kapani Lodge, so hopefully Christmas dinner will be a big affair.

On our return we will spend one night at Lake Malawi, relaxing, before my sister has to return home to throw her annual New Year's Eve party.

Today will be my last day in the office until Dec. 29th, but I may be able to post before then. In the meanwhile, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!