Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, doesn’t offer much in terms of sightseeing or tourist attractions. That was good news for us—without any pressure to make good use of the time, we’ve had yet another relaxing rest day.
I went to Koko Bean (a top-rated coffee shop cum restaurant) with E.A. in the morning for brunch. Part of the Lilongwe Wildlife Sanctuary, settled amidst quiet greenery, and with great food and coffee, Koko Bean turned out to be such a perfect place to unwind and recover that I ended up spending almost the whole day there. I initially planned to visit the sanctuary, but contended myself watching the monkeys that were all over the place.
Only threatened by limited daylight hours, I eventually headed back to camp. On the way back, I stopped to draw money and stock up on some groceries. “Card expired”, the ATM rejected my transaction. I tried my second bank card. “Card expired”, the ATM read again. Only then I realized that my cards had indeed expired the day before, as of March. Even though I had over-prepared for this trip, it hadn’t occurred to me that my bank cards might expire while I’m on the road!
Left without a choice, I for the first time used my credit card to draw cash and pay ridiculous cash advancement fees. Armed with the equivalent of about USD 50, I splurged it up in Shoprite, Lilongwe’s biggest Western-style supermarket. What a delight when I found real President brie cheese and 70% dark Lindt chocolate! And what a shock when I was short of cash at check-out! Luckily, they accepted credit cards and spared me the embarrassment.