It is warm. For the first time since my departure from Baltimore, many hours and 15,994 km of flying prior, I notice the air temperature. It is distinctly un-planelike. And humid. I have arrived in the terminal of Lilongwe’s airport and am staring out the window at the lush green fields reaching to the edge of the parking lot. Taxis and shuttles board their passengers for the half hour trip into the capital city. Rather than heading to the city, I wait for my backpack, naively hoping that the South African Airways staff will somehow discover it in the empty plane and bring it to me. When they finally tell me the bag is still in Johannesburg, I find a taxi and set out for my hotel.
The site of the fifth highest annual rainfall anywhere on the planet, Milford Sound sees some 9 m (30 feet) of rain pour from the sky each year. And most of it seems to be coming down tonight. After driving through places like “Devil’s Staircase Bluff,” so many rivers that they’re numbered rather than named.