If You Can't Scuba...Eat Cheese Doodles

 Hey World,

The highlight of my planned 10-day trip to Malawi was going to be a 4-day diving course in Nkhata Bay (about an hour or so from Mzuzu). Firstly because it is one of the most affordable places in the world to get your PADI Open Water Scuba Diving certifications, and secondly, because Aqua Africa has nothing but rave reviews online for their two scuba instructors.

After a shouldn’t-have-been-long-but-was trek from Chitimba to Nkhata Bay, and a terrible night’s stay at Big Blue Backpackers (highly not recommended-but more on that later) two nights ago, I woke up early yesterday morning and headed over to Aqua Africa to check in, eat some breakfast, and begin my PADI course.

However, I wasn’t able to even put my pen to the paper to begin filling out the form when the fact that I have asthma came up, and the instructor informed me that between liability on his end and personal safety on mine, we actually couldn’t move forward at all unless I went to a major city, got a bunch of specific medical tests done, passed them all, and came back [which was clearly not going to happen].

I put on a brave face and shrugged, saying that I had had done some online research and didn’t think it was going to be a problem and apologized profusely for not alerting him beforehand about my asthma, then quickly ran up to my room and onto my balcony, where my tears fell a little more freely {sidenote: I haven’t cried so much in about a year as I have this past week}. 

It’s really hard to hear that your body, despite how well you try and take care of it, just isn’t healthy enough to do something. I’ve made peace that I may never run a marathon [but I can run a 5K!] and although I know I can still kick some athletic butt, hearing from an instructor that my body can’t be trusted to hover even 30 feet underwater without probably killing me or exploding my lungs is pretty devastating. Obviously, it’s not the instructor’s fault. Annoyingly, it’s also not really mine. And frustratingly, there’s literally nothing I can do about it. Stupid little huffy lungs of mine! Researching lung enhancers is now going on my short list. Do you think those are even a thing? Actually, I’m sure they are. There are pills for everything nowadays.

But I digress.

After an hour and a half of intermittently wallowing and reading, I decided to hop in the shower to clear my mind and take stock of where I’m at.

Here’s what I realized:

2.     I’m paying $35 a night for a deluxe $80 room with a private balcony overlooking Lake Malawi and a shower that has great water pressure [clearly a shower thought]
3.     Without meaning to, I saved $350.
4.     I have four days where I was going to be busy from 9-5 to do absolutely anything my heart desires – that’s 32 hours of fun to be had!
5.     While I may not be capable of scuba diving, I am capable of snorkeling, kayaking, trekking, biking, cliff jumping, laying on beaches and watching eagles – all of which are offered in the Bay.
6.     I could also just relax, which is apparently this activity where you kind of just stay still and calm and gaze into space or maybe read a book, all the while counting down the hours+minutes until the next hot meal. I could do that.
7.     Finally, the grocery here sells a Malawian knockoff of Cheese Doodles for $0.50 a bag. Just saying {I've eaten a bag a day}.

This is my balcony view right now. I KNOW.
[not pictured...cheese doodle dust all over everything]
So that’s where I am right now [well, where I was after my shower]. It’s almost lunchtime, the WiFi at my hotel is amazing, and chicken enchiladas are on the menu....as are nachos and chili con carne…it’s almost like I’m also in Mexico!

After eating, I started four days of above-water Nkhata Bay fun. Who needs to pay to get closer to slimy fish anyways?


PS: If you came across this blog post because you were googling ‘lung enhancers’ because you too were unable to get PADI certified due to crappy lungs, we should probably be friends. Email me.

No Comments Yet, Leave Yours!