Archive for May, 2009

it’s winter time

Picture 26

blyde river canyon #002

GOD’S WINDOW and the RESERVE was for sure amazing but we still had a few meters up to travel until we reached the top north of the CANYON.

everything seemed to change around us as we left the RESERVE and traveled north. it almost became desert like, very dry and yellowish in color. all of this to make us even more astonished about our next stop: DRIE RONDAVELS!

SNB16093

SNB16107

it just seemed to not stop surprising on every angle, wherever your turned your head it became better, or deeper, or greener, or… anything! and because of this aldo and i decided we needed (ok, so I decided, he would have rather not do it!) to take our first actual photo together… in 6 years! the idea was just to prove that we had actually been in this place.

SNB16119

this next photo is specially for Rosie, she’s the only one who knows KING ALDO!

SNB16124

SNB16130

see? all we had to say at this point was: WOW!

SNB16131

SNB16139

not only that but we were so high i didn’t dare stand so close to the edge. i thought i’d be safer if i crawled!!! a mix between a lioness and a scared cat!

SNB16143

SNB16146

i did stand on that pointy edge, but i didn’t like the feeling. this coming from someone who isn’t afraid of hights, just afraid of sharp rocks hanging from steep cliffs!

SNB16147

the idea of flying off of that cliff was although intreeging!

it tooks us a long time to part from that spot. but we had to go, there were a ocuple of things we needed to see before heading back to real life in Maputo.

SNB16153

SNB16154

on the way south again we encountered a strange scene. we passed a bridge and as i asked the camera to aldo (alberto was driving) all of a sudden this helicopter popped out of nowhere with a gigantic bucket full of water to stop a fire burning in the distance! i hope there were more of these seeing how big the fire was and how small the tiny lake where he stole the water from was.

SNB16157

we passed the BERLIN FALLS and yes it was very nice…

SNB16159

even if somehow a picture of me and my new shoes became a homicide threat!

SNB16167

but, you know me. there’s no city like Lisbon, so of course we saved the best for last: LISBON FALLS!!!

SNB16169

and may i just say, MUCH BETTER THAN BERLIN!!!!! not one, not two, but three waterfalls!! and a couple of rainbows! AH! nothing better when you miss home!

SNB16177

SNB16178

SNB16183

(little detail of how windy it was, the water wasn’t actually falling but flying upwards from the strong wind. of course we took a great shower just then)

SNB16184

SNB16192

SNB16188

after this, all there was for us to do was head home, back to Maputo. no traffic, no long lines at the border, nothing exciting. but the day had taken all our energy. worth it!

blyde river canyon #001

i advise you to think carefully about reading this post, i have put so many pictures and am thinking of writing quite a bit of text today so i warn you that this is the longest post i’ve ever posted. i would definetely say it’s worth reading it to the end but it’s your choice.

it is a post of the most well kept secret around here. we went to south africa for a weekend, to the Blyde River Canyon out of the blue. the idea was to go to Nelspruit just for the pleasure of entering a BOOKSTORE, where they actually sell books that interest and for a normal price, not like in Maputo where books literally are too expensive as to say “no one is allowed to read!” anyway that was our main goal this weekend. we had asked quite a few people about what we should see around Nelspruit and where we should sleep and believe it or not, no one was able to tell us what beautiful things there were, we got nothing. so to me this trip became a discovery, and what a discovery.

one late evening Aldo came across on google some pictures of a place called Blyde Ryver Canyon Reserve, and we didn’t take long about deciding that it was where we were going that weekend. for a change we decided to go up to the mountains, enjoy some fresh mountain air and views of South Africa from 1500m of altitude.

SNB15969

SNB15972

SNB15976

SNB15979

SNB15982

the first evening, just before we got to Sabie, the little town where we stayed for the night, or should i say, FROZE for the night, with temperatures definetely around 10º!!! we were already up almost 1000m high. and we were impressed. i was already starting to remember my mountain house in Portugal, Alberto was surely remembering his home town also in Portugal and Aldo was also thinking i’m sure of his parents place up in Colzano, Italy. it took our breath away from the start.

because we had waisted a day, saturday, on border patrol, nelspruit shopping center and travelling to Sabie we got up so early sunday morning to be able to do the whole of the Canyon in one day in order to get back to Maputo at a decent hour. Sabie was also very nice to see that early, we had arrived so early but hadn’t managed to arrive with a bit of light so all we saw was a town with lots of neon lights seeming like a futuristic town in miniature. those neons were actually to sign of a front door of these small and so organized houses. it was such a ocnforting sight to see that every one had electricity, and what i presumed water too.

SNB15983

SNB15985

SNB15989

Mac Mac falls were “under construction” so we didn’t actually see any waterfalls here but the scenery lived up to our imagination… or even better. the difference in “capulanas” was already so big and they looked beautiful against the green mountains.

SNB15993

SNB15994

the road is a slow one, meaning you can’t go over than 80 sometimes and with so many turns it’s difficult to travel fast but it helped these first timers because it gave Aldo and Alberto the chance to take some amazing pictures while i drove trying to look at everything and still keep us on the road… we were difenitely going up in altitude and sometimes next to me there was only a big cliff going steeply down!!!

SNB15997

SNB15999

the Natural Bridge is very well known around here, seeing that the lady at the restaurant where we had dinner the night before and the lady from the lodge we stayed in say it was a MUST! we definetly wanted to stop and see it, specially when we saw the indication to it in a language we knew perfectly well!!!! 30m wasn’t such a bad walk anyway.

SNB16006

SNB16001

SNB16004

yes… that was it! look better, because we also took a few minutes to find it!

our next stop couldn’t have been more apropriate. we were reaching hights almost never reached before on foot by someone with such a serious sinus problem, MOI. i really felt we were getting dangerously close to heaven… or should i say GOD’S WINDOW!

SNB16023

(amazing how that is the only place in africa i’ve seen with such a sign)

SNB16010

SNB16018

SNB16019

no wonder it has that name. it basically leaves you stunned. it makes you really wonder if he’s right there next to you looking at that same spectacular view. it took us a long time to leave because we realized how much we were going to the beach. we hadn’t seen mountain in a while, specially Aldo and i. maybe wearing sneakers, socks, scarves and pants isn’t such a bad thing. GOD’S WINDOW is definetly a place to visit. and it’s so close to Maputo and so easy to find. it’s a pity no one could tell us about it, but then again i love secrets and there was no one there to bother this peaceful and amazing view.

SNB16020

the vegetation is stunning and so tropically strange in this high altitude.

SNB16024

SNB16026

yes i sometimes go shopping around here and i have decided to leave Mozambique with a full ZOO, so this time, i got myself a HIPPO, a fat sandal wood HIPPO!!! ok and a necklace too!

nest stop: the actual BLYDE RIVER CANYON RESERVE. you oay to see it, your car pays to be parked bu what you get for 80ZAR is worth every penny (cents just don’t work for me in this sentence).

SNB16029

SNB16034

from the beginning of the descent to the reserve it’s nothing really amazing, it looks very tiny and very simple, such a small cascade of water with a desert like vegetation around it. the sun was getting warmer and it felt as if we’d be back in the car soon. silly me!

SNB16040

as soon as we got to the first bridge it all changed. nothing was LITTLE, nothing was INSIGNIFICANT. it all transformed. there was the beginning of the Blyde River Canyon just beneath us exposing every contorsion every detail and every secret. again, with all my sinus problems i still was gobsmacked by all of this. and it wasn’t all.

SNB16041

SNB16048

SNB16051

couldn’t resist sitting down and getting my feet in the water, now i was a bit cold still, only my arms were being warmed by the frail sun light and as soon as i put my foot in that water i froze! it was obviously freezing!!!!!! i smiled for the photo but i took less than two seconds to put my dear feet in my socks in my shoes. aawww, sweet warmth! nonetheless i wanted to take a dip in that water. the clearest i’d seen in ages!

SNB16055

everywhere we go we see creatures.

SNB16062

from the spot we saw the creature above, yes cute but so disgusting, all we had to do was basically turn around and again AAWWW ourselves! there they were, the POTHOLES!

SNB16065

they are called this way because of the clear way the water and the erosion have created what seems to be bit Potholes where the size of houses! it is funny how the water cascades from where i froze my feet into these potholes leaving these amazing shapes and keeps moving from on to another in order to reach it’s destination, the Blyde River.

SNB16068

SNB16084

there is just something about shadows that can’t be denied.

SNB16085

A + A+ A

if we could we’d stayed longer, but this trip was only just beginning. next stop… 1500m!

zongoene #002

nothing like a sunny weekend in autumn to keep your spirits up and going. needless to say winter is just around the corner and apparently enough it wants to get here quickly… the beach is the place to go.

SNB15669

SNB15672

 

SNB15676 

we had visited Zongoene back in October with João and Rosinha and it had been fun, but not enough time to really enjoy it. too many people and too little time. we ended up renting the same cabin, this time no funny animals and beasts around and had a great long weekend. the beach was empty, just the three of us and a couple of…

SNB15686

SNB15691

SNB15692

cows!! even cow….s get the blues.

SNB15696

SNB15756

and no they’re not sacred here like i imagine them in india where they lay on the beach because they are worshiped. here, they’re just as lazy as their owners.

SNB15712

SNB15718

SNB15724

SNB15742

SNB15730

SNB15740

SNB15789

all this just for us. i could live with this forever. i took 4 naps on the sand in just one day……… ah if this could be the life………

(this post is very late, 3 weeks late)

piedade

P1040132

she was 3 years old…

she was HIV positive…

she used to be chubby and huggable and so funny

she was an orphan.

and she finally gave up.

her last week was spent in a hospital. refusing to eat, refusing to drink, refusing to hang on. she was sick, she was HIV positive, a disease that here in the middle of nowhere it is still to be believed as a demon that lives inside someone’s body… they get “treated” with herbs… and this little girl didn’t have a chance. she’s within the years of “normal infant death” because she’s under four… she just didn’t have a chance.

but she lived with all the others like her, with Sister Isaura, and we got a chance (ironically) to see her for 6 months, growing and giggling through her day. and then one day she suddenly had lost all appetite, all energy, her skin drying and her smile… gone. 

PIEDADE… 3 years-old… HIV positive… died last night…