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September 27, 2003

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In Malawi most activity centers around Lake Malawi, the third largest in Africa, and so we're happy to be sailing aboard a steamship even if it's cramped and rusty (don't even consider going to the bathrooms which are like out-of-control microbiology experiments). The crew forces the tourists onto the topdeck, where everything costs four times as much, but because we came in the middle of the night we managed to slip unnoticed into 3rd class. By the time the crew noticed us we had settled in and they decided to give us a break and charge us no more than the local rate, about $3 per day.
Empty by day, at night every square inch covered by a sleeping passenger. Nothing about the Ilala could be called luxurious.
The Ilala never turns back a passenger, it's all aboard!
The ferry makes stops at islands and the Mozambique coast. On one small island, Likoma, we find a huge European style cathedral, one of the most remarkable buildings in Malawi, that measures the same size as Winchester Cathedral in London. Missionaries built the church over 100 years ago and chose this remote island because it offered protection from raiding African tribes.