|Mom and Marv in Chidenguele|
Now describing the next couple weeks will be difficult. We had so much fun and did so much traveling that I’m going to let my pictures do most of the talking (Mom and I both will have a bunch up on facebook here soon). But we started with a couple days in Maputo before going to Kruger National Park for three days of safari-ing. Shishangeni was just incredible. We were at one of the private lodges in the south part of the park and it was truly ‘chique’. Over the course of our four game drives (two early morning, two late afternoon) we saw elephants, rhinos, lots of impala, kudu, wildebeest, buffalo, lions, giraffes, vervet monkeys and so much more. I honestly can’t describe my feelings as we approached the pride of lions picking the remnants off the previous night’s kill or seeing a massive elephant walk peacefully by our truck with its baby.
After our final game drive we returned to Maputo to pick up our rental car and start the journey north. Very little of the trip was preplanned and we hadn’t made any hotel reservations so we ended up rolling into each town with our fingers crossed and were lucky to find somewhere awesome every time. Lots of beachfront property for us. It’s going to be a rude awakening when I finally get back to The Dombe. We spent a stormy night in Chindenguele at a place on the dunes and a couple days on the beach in Tofo. Mom and I swam with the whale sharks (unbelievably cool, a true lifelister) and got a bit sunburned. Onto Vilankulos for our two day dhow ocean safari, lots more seafood and great company. We found a quiet little backpackers to return to for Christmas that was, of course, right on the water.
We got up to Chimoio and I was able to get a bed frame made overnight and a new mattress to take out to the mato. Dombe lived up to my descriptions as it was the hottest place we spent time but a few people were around for Mom and Marv to meet. They saw my school and my house, met Panda and had a cold coke in the vila. You’ll have to ask them for more impressions and opinions because that’s just life for me. But I think it was even a bit more remote than they expected. We arrived back in Chimoio as it was getting dark and met up with my friend Amanda for dinner. We “snuck” her into the hotel and she traveled back to Vil with us for Christmas. It never quite feels like Christmas here due to the heat and general lack of decorations and materialistic fervor but we had a great day on the beach complete with seafood dinner (Mom has a great picture of the platter we shared!). We then started our journey back to Maputo with a stopover in Zavora at yet another picturesque dune top resort. Arriving back in Maputo was bittersweet knowing it was our last night together but we had had an amazing trip. To be so far from home at this time of year is hard but having them here made all the difference. Plus we got to talk to Dad, Mary, Jesse and Ashlee and the kids on Christmas day. I love technology!
But then Mom and Marv left and “real life” began again. A good friend and fellow PCV was getting ready to return to America so I spent time with him in Maputo and caught up with others passing through. I had a rough travel day coming north and it took me about 14 hours to travel the 480ish km between Xai-Xai and Vilankulos. Luckily Drew was just arriving back in Vil from a vacation with his family in Paris and I was able to spend New Year’s Eve with him partying with a bunch of Zimbabwean tourists at a nearby resort. Both of us were exhausted from traveling but managed to rally and welcome in the new year until about 3:30am! Now I’m back in Chimoio preparing to head back out to The Dombe and start the new school year. I have no idea what exactly I’ll be teaching this year but I’m excited to get out to my new bed and get rid of this backpack I’ve been living out of for the past month. Feliz Ano Novo! Happy New Year!
Life Is A Highway - Tom Cochrane (It has to be his version because we mentions Mozambique!)