I apologize for the delay in blogging, but here’s the recap on my trip to Swaziland and Mozambique. It was such a good vacation- I was stressed about all the traveling but it worked out beautifully. I traveled with Asha, Colin and Chris, and we started in Swaziland so we could get our Mozambique visas for MUCH cheaper. (R200 instead of R800). We hung out at the backpackers and met some Swaziland PCV’s. Getting our actual visa was such an ordeal; we had to go back and forth from the embassy to the bank and there was a moment when we seriously thought we weren’t getting them. Since the embassy was going to be closed for the Easter holiday, if we didn’t get them that day we would’ve been out of luck. After 6pm we finally had our beautiful visas, and we met some interesting people as a bonus. Our taxi driver was quite the character, and at one point he offered Chris lessons on how to “pump a woman’s stomach with a baby.” Chris politely declined.
The next day we made it to Maputo, and at the backpackers we met one of the most insane people in the history of the world. He’s an older South African man (Asha pointed out that on this whole trip the only time we were harassed was by South Africans..) who just sold his restaurant and made a ton of money. He had one eye, and continued to roll out the fake one throughout the night. Chris pretended to be my boyfriend as a precaution, and by the end of the night this man threatened to kill Chris if 1. He broke up with me or 2. He didn’t attend a try out for a South African Rugby team that he was supposedly arranging.
We got out of Maputo the next day and made it to Tofo Beach, aka paradise.
We met some Mozambique PCV’s who can travel to the beach on the weekend anytime they please. Unbelievable. We swam in the beautiful ocean, went to the local market, and talked to the local boys on the beach who sold handmade bracelets, oysters, coconuts, anything. They carried around machetes and would literally chop the coconuts right in front of you. Terrifying. We ate delicious fish and lived the good life, with our backpackers literally on the sand. At the backpackers, we met awesome people from ALL over: Britain, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Brazil, Israel, Holland, Lesotho, and Germany, just to name a few. The Germans gave us a ride back to Maputo so we wouldn’t have to take public transport at 4am the next day. We ended up doing an impromptu tour of Maputo, and despite a flat tire in the middle of the city, it was great to see. (Though Tofo is 40 million times better than Maputo, obviously.)
Living the dream
(Coconut milk isn’t that good, but you’re clearly paying for the experience.)
from our backpackers!
Going back to South Africa was difficult. South Africa is such a beautiful country with so much potential, but is still deeply scarred by its history. I didn’t realize how pervasive the racial tensions were until I went to a neighboring country, where they were nonexistent. We were clearly tourists, but we weren’t harassed or given hostile looks, and it was very refreshing. South Africa’s incompetence is also crippling; the border leaving Mozambique was fast and orderly; the border entering South Africa was impossibly long and frustrating. Oh well.
We found out two days after getting back to South Africa that all travel to Mozambique for Peace Corps Volunteers was forbidden, due to rebel fighting. Rebels burned a tour bus from the same company Asha and I used to get back to Pretoria, so we were startled to say the least. It’s crazy how quickly violence can erupt in a country we found so peaceful. (Travel is allowed again now, so get to Tofo ASAP.)
The 100-day landmark has come and gone. Now it’s only 95 days until America! It’s crazy; I feel like I was more productive in these 5 months than all of last year. I’m definitely more adjusted in my village than I was in 2012 and I think that has a lot to do with it. Computer lessons are still going well, and the garden is SLOWLY starting to produce something. And winter’s finally here!! Though I’m a little scared of the cold nights I’ll be grateful to not sweat anymore. That’s all for now!