Earlier I wrote about how I get excited about visitors and start sampling my activity list before they arrive. The visitors I was referencing are two of my oldest buddies who came to see me in June.
John came all the way from London and Neena from the US. We’ve been friends since we were kids, so when we get together we’re a trio of chatter and giggles. Well, John is a quiet soul but Neena and I are not – so we made more than our fair share of ruckus laughing and being stupid together.
It was the first time for both of them to visit Africa, and since they were in Mozambique for just one week so we had to jam pack their trip with as many of the local sites as possible. I always like to take guests to the Red Dunes because I think they are one of the most beautiful and unique locations on the coast here. Luckily we ran into a local friend who was heading that way, so we quickly bought sandwiches, beer and chips and zipped north of town, past the paved road and through deep sandy roads to get to our destination. We sat in the shade eating our snacks and enjoying the breeze, dunes behind us and shallow aqua seas in front.
Later, we were traveling in a chapa and even I was impressed with how many people they fit in the van. Normally chapas are overfull with 20 people, but somehow 28 humans managed to cram into the car for the 5 hour journey. Poor John was smooshed into the smallest tini-tiny spot having to hold his neighbor’s baby.
Oh how I wish I had a camera to capture John’s face at that moment. It was priceless.
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Sunday we made a group outing to Santa Carolina also known as Paradise Island, the most exotic and least visited of islands that sits off the coast of Vilankulo and Inhassoro. We took a local dhow boat out to the islands and were pretty much the only people there the entire day. It was the last big hurrah for the Pehams before they set off on their African road trip and move back to Austria.
The island used to be the gem of African honeymooners in the 1970s, pre-civil war. But during the fighting it was abandoned and now the entire island is a national park – no one is allowed to live, develop or sleep on the island.
It is gorgeous! I live on a beautiful beach, but this one is even more spectacular. Plus, after snorkeling, picnicking and swimming in the aqua waters – we got to explore the hotel ruins, and wandering through abandoned buildings is always fun.
That all said in done, there were two cheerless moments following the trip:
- Sea sickness. Yes, I got sick overboard. Pretty gross.
- I had to say good bye to the Pehams; my friends, neighbors, boss, yoga teacher and surrogate family here.
It was rather heartbreaking. In fact, I started crying before they got in the car and I couldn’t even give real hugs to the kids since I was a sad mess. I thanked them for their generosity and friendship and with a final hug, Helga told me to be happy and make the most of my time here.
As their car drove away, I had a clear understanding that that moment marked the closing of My Mozambique Life, Part I and transition into the next chapter.
Okay? … Yes. It’s gonna be more than okay.
The Pehams have been packing up and preparing to move back to Austria. As sad as their leaving is to consider, they are trying to visit and do all the last minute day trips and local adventures before they make their grand departure. Luckily I get to tag along with them for some of these trips.
One of their favorite places to visit, as well as one of mine, is the local sand dunes. The sand is a rich sierra mud color and rises up to overlook the bush on one side and the ocean on the other.
We have spent several long afternoons climbing the sands, sliding down the steep sides or running down the big hill that leads to the sea. I am always in awe of the colors, scale and exoticism of the environment. After exploring the sandy canyons, the beach beckons. Rarely is anyone on the isolated beach – so there is prime shell collecting, crab hunting and skivvy-swimming to be had.
I’m not exactly sure how I’ll get there without a car (maybe a three hour beach walk), but I look forward to having guests so that we can go camping on top of the dunes. I can only imagine the stars are extra big, bright and shiny up there. Of course, it is illegal to camp in Mozambique unless in a marked camp ground – but really, there is no one ever there and it’s apart of the adventure.