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Lake of Stars

The Lake of Stars festival is a melange of African and Western music held on the shores of Lake Malawi. We went on the final, apparently most frenzied day of the festival. It was so much fun.

Our first impressions of the festival were of sand and too-cool-for-school travellers jamming to guitars on the beach. It seemed highly low key and a litte unorganized: most of our group trouped off to find a TV where they could watch the rugby (the rugby world cup is the truck obsession… it is hard to get away from it, and when the all blacks lost… there may have been blood lost on the truck as well, we shall never know). Who would pay $20US to watch rugby? So a few of us sat by the main stage, waiting for action to start. We weren’t disappointed. A British band called “Niche” came to the stage and thrilled us with truly excellent music. After she finished, a not-so-good South African group hit the stage, and we moved to the back where there were some food and souvenir stalls.

On the way up to the food, I made awkward eye-contact with a guy sitting on the grass. I nudged Sarah (who was now limping thanks to an unfortunate boating accident, see “It could only happen to Sarah” for details), and asked her if she recognized the guy. She didn’t, but apparently the guy recognized me as he got up and came over. He was part of a group we had met up with on Zanzibar Island — and he had followed us all the way to Lake Malawi! Okay, not quite true, it seems like all travellers were pulled in this direction, as we saw many people that we had met previously all congregated together. But the interesting thing about this guy, Mike, was that he knew the band, Niche, who had just played. We got to meet and interact with the band, including their really cool female leader singer Zeb.

The rest of the evening progressed smoothly, with tons of entertainment and some of the best music I’ve ever heard live. Everyone was there to have a good time, and it showed. After what seemed like hours of solid dancing under the stars, my friend Hilary turned to me and said: “What time is it?”

I looked down at my watch. I almost couldn’t believe what time it read. I checked it again. “18:50.” It wasn’t even 7pm yet, and we had already been having the greatest time. It had been pitch black since 5:30, and time had just disappeared from underneath us, moving quickly and slowly, as if we were caught in a whorl.

This is Africa time, baby.

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