Archive for alberto

4931kms #005

waking up on day 5 of this long trip was a challenge, it was our last day in Cape Town, tomorrow we were already heading east already on our way back “home”. there was only one things that was important at this moemnt for the fours of us… Table Mountain. i was almost going crazy thinking we could probably start our way back to Maputo without seeing the symbol of Cape Town, it just wasn’t a possibility for me.

and indeed on that morning the first thing i did was look out the window and contrary to the days before i didn’t have to search for the mountain, it was literally there. tall, big, huge, really flat on top, as if a wall of rock was put in front of our room while we were sleeping, and it was absolutely amazing.

after getting over the shock of this big gigantic mountain and appreciating the sight of it, each of us headed different ways to explore. i headed first to a shoe store and bought myself a pair of red allstars after 15 years. yes red. a girl needs a red pair of shoes! after that, aldo and i explored the city gardens, Company’s Gardens, and were amazed by the green, the landscape and the almost New York feel of it all. of course, New York doesn’t have the magnitude of this mountain behing it’s gardens and secret stops. but this part of town, in a town where you cannot identify a city centre, felt very cosy, very beautiful and romantic, this coming from someone who is definitely not romantic…

aldo always finds friends.

if you take out the mountain and look carefully, as eclectic as it may seem, Cape Town has a great diversity in architecture, it is considered a very good place to study it and i have two bosses who can testify for it, but it’s really interesting to walk around and explore these little details all over town.

just a small detail too, the best indian food i’ve ever had, i’m hoping better than this only in india. i could definitely live on NAAN bread forever.

Cape Town, even without a city centre has one of the features i love most about visiting new cities, it has different style quarters. I’m from Lisbon and I absolutely love how even within the same cities you have different atmospheres depending on how old and who first inhabited certain areas of town. Bo Kaap isn’t any different, being for me the best part of CT. I love eclectic neighborhoods and Bo Kaap being originally created by the Malay imigrants who first came to CT, is a vibrant and noisy part of town. Of course it lacks in cafés, and restaurants, nothing like europeans to make places like these full of life, but here life exists probably in it most original and truthful way. it just is.

Houses are all colourful and some of them very vibrant. There are children everywhere, but because it is a muslim quarter it tends, strangely, becasue in other towns that i’ve been too it’s the noisiest of them all, to be very quiet. almost… silent. you see people but they don’t see you. i guess in a way it keeps it real, they live there it’s there part of town, maybe it makes sense. eventhough i’d love to have had a narguilé right then and there… but i couldn’t even find water. anyway. just look at the views.

after Bo Kaap, what else in CT makes you aww… the skyline right above.

and the famous WATERFRONT. while i went in search of muffin pads and chocolate chip cookies and cappuccino and presents for my girls up in antwerp, the boys decided to take it easy… also thinking of antwerp.

all it needed this day was dinner with uncle Xico and cousin Alec.

alberto was there too…

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4931kms #004

as a portuguese child, all through primary and middle school, and more if you don’t study architecture, i got to study and hear the stories about the Discoveries. as a portuguese child you will be taught that WE, the great Lusitanian people, the Portuguese discovered the world…

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yes, this is a ostrich family, at the beach… awwww… i know, so cute.

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padrão dos descobrimentos. google it and find an image.

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adamastor. google it.

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strangers at the site.

 

yes, looking at it now, written here on this silly blog on this vast internet, it looks and sounds kind of sad, but you have to imagine it through the eyes of a child… and what a child! ME. i, who are nicknamed by many as Miss Portugal, to others just bicuka, anyway, i with this marvelous last name of a few, grew up trying to honour always this thought… WE discovered the world.

one of the many things WE did, and yes i have dreamed many times i was on those ships, on those magnificent journeys aroung the globe, was indeed circle the world, or just as a first attempt, go to India around Africa. on this journey the ships fought furiously against tempests around the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Agulhas where both, and so different, oceans, Atlantic and Indian collide… and yes, they do collide. It is impressive to see how thin the line is between them and yet so strong. They survived and with that I learned one of the most amazing adventurous stories about the old world. How we circled Africa.

Throughout my family’s life, circling Africa was always a part of it, my greatgrandparents went to Mozambique for the first time through the Cape of Good Hope by ship and my grandmother still was able to do that trip whilst a young umarried woman, it took forever of course but I’d love to have done it at the time.

Now we arrived in 2days, with a car and from land instead of by sea. I’m sure it’s different, but I’m also sure the magnitude and the importance of that place to me was still as big as it was for them. Beyond there is nothing. Beyond there is just your echo… and your imagination.

We as portuguese are connected to this exact spot on earth, and I testify… it is unbelievable. It is so worth the climb.

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baboons, pinguins and whales in Simonstown.

4931kms #003

DAY 03

we woke up to a gigantic cloud above the so famous Table Mountain. Claudia garanteed that the mountain was “right there, can’t you see it? it’s right there in front of your nose”… well all we saw was a big thick white cloud.

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because the weather on the news had already predicted that the mountain would be on a holiday for at least two which gave us plenty of time to explore the magnificent landscape and wonderful places such as Camps Bay and Chapman’s Peak.

actually we gave ourselves a bit of time to leave the house, after two days on the road we deserved a couple of hours of more sleep so we actually left the house only to wake up in time  for lunch. and what a lunch!

about a week before our trip i got an email from my 80year-old aunt, yes i have a way cool aunt!, telling me that her young adulthood friend from Rodhesia and Mozambique from the 1940s was living in Cape Town for a while and every two years my aunt visits her. She told me i should contact her and maybe meet her for tea and give her a kiss from my aunt. Now, i have heard about her friend Vangie for so long i was very excited to let her know that i was ocming to town and that i’d be delighted if we could meet. I wrote to her daughter, Marika and she answered almost immediately offering us a lunch at her restaurant, greek restaurant, called Marika’s in Camps Bay.

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I’m telling you, it might have been the exhaustion, the tiredness, the long journey, even the rainy weather but the lunch was fantastic! We were so happy with the food i was just sorry lunches don’t last forever, or that we don’t live close by, because this place was everything you need after 2000kms. I love greek food so it started off perfectly, and the cosiness of the place, small, cosy and so warm inside. Marika was always in the kitchen preparing our and the other clients’ food, deliciously prepared, with her husband, while her mother, Vangie was siting at the table with us telling us about the old days back in Beira with my aunt or back in Rhodesia in school. Her life story is just wonderful. Born and raised in Beira, Mozambique, she lived in Cairo, Egypt and in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe and in other places in South Africa, but she found her true love in Cape Town so this 20year-old lady, who looks exactly like portuguese grandmothers, martim and i agreed, got divorces at 40 and remarried the love of her life. And with that we finish a perfect lunch, with perfect food, with wonderful company and with the sun shinning too.

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Because Chapman’s Peak is very high up, the road that connects it to the city is a bit tricky, it has been damaged and now it’s being repaired. You can go up to a certain moment, Chapman’s Peak but further than that not anymore, they’re thinking of not opening it anymore anyway seeing that it is too dangerous. I’m glad i knew this before. The view from the point where you can get too is specatacular and the weather was slowly changing  and we were able to the magnificent profiles of mountains and peaks and ocean. Our atlantic Ocean. It had been a while… i hadn’t seen those waves in so long and that strength, that color and vibration in almost a year.

It takes a bit of your breath away.

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But it wasn’t the only thing that made me feel closer to home. In this part of the world, it is impossible for you to garantee my that i’was in africa. There is no way we were in africa here. The people, the views, the weather, the food, the smells, the shops and the atmosphere has absolutely nothing to do with africa. 

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I confess, i enjoyed it very much. For a while it felt more than good to not be in africa.

4931kms #002

DAY 02

if you have read the DAY 01 post you are probably familiar with the fact that we basically drove and drove and drove on day 01, well, guess what we did the same on day 02!

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driving from Bloemfontein to Cape Town meant we did 1000kms just on the roads not counting deviations for desperate gas, the car i mean, and figuring out how to get out of Bloemfontein in the morning and finding our bedrooms in Cape Town. martim and alberto stayed at a what seemed to be great backpackers, they recommend it and we stayed with our friend Cluadia, aldo’s sister’s friend who we have know for a year now, seeing that she works in CT but travels constantly to Maputo. she was kind enough to offer her place for two so the trip would be less heavy on our pockets… great idea.

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on the road we saw desert after desert after so much desert i thought i was on route66 again, and eventhough they hadn’t been on it they knew it looked exactly like it, or at least it felt like because it was empty again, so much free space, no one around and just one car now and again to make the driving a bit more challenging. i’m just sorry they always let us surpass them! we were alone again for hours.

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let me just inform you though that to drive in SA you need to know a few rules. if you are driving behind a car and want tp pass it please just wait five seconds, he will slowly put himself in danger and drive on the most left side of your lane, which means almost on the dirt to let you pass him. this goes for small cars and for gigantic trucks… always a pleasure to see a petrol truck put himself on the line for you! as soon as you have passed him, you HAVE to thank him, now this in europe means just a wave of the hand from driver to driver, but here it’s a whole different detail, you can wave all you want, but they will never aknowledge it, so turn on you emergency lights, or as we call it in portuguese, your 4blinking lights and you will see the magic happen, they will actually respond with a flash of their front lights… they let you pass, you thank them and they say “you’re welcome” or even “graag gedaan. mozambicans should learn…

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it’s funny i mention the africaans language because on this trip we were able to see a transformation bet ween not only landscape but also in languages, people and attittudes. the english language is the national language by far but everywhere we go along the road is said in the african dialect which i cannot remember the name or africaans and you actually get a picture of how many people actually speak it. funny enought i thought it was a exclusivity of more traditional families in the area of cape town, but i was wrong, apparently even in the region is it becoming less popular and less cool to speak africaans from the new generations. hmmm, makes you think.

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arriving in Cape Town was very easy because our friend GPS found it very easy to travel in a motropolis, in a city… and we were like farmers in NYC. we were amazed by the colors, sounds, amounts of people, tall buildings and NIGHTLIFE!!! welcome to Cape Town, and enjoy it! starting with a Sushi dinner, it couldn’t have been better our entrance in civilization!

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this is my attempt while driving to photograph Table Mountain arriving in town… if you look closely it’s there.

4931kms #001

DAY 01

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we set off early friday morning, we chose to go by car, you never know on September 11th.  the ofur of us sleepy as ever but excited about the almost 5000kms we were about to do in 10 days.

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all of us needed this holiday, maybe aldo and i more, seeing that we hadn’t taken a holiday since a year ago before we ever came to maputo. and because that one year anniverssary is really almost coming up then this is a better time as ever to take some time off from our lives. relax, and see things we never thought we would.

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alberto was a big help to me, on the driving, and in all the fun/historic facts about any place and just about anything, i think i would’ve needed another week to do it all by myself and martim filled in the gap in the car and thankfully he did. everything went to it’s most possible way and the reason for that maybe is that is was a good grouup and because we still don’t know eachother that well everything went better than expected.

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as i was saying we set off very early that friday morning attempting to arrive to Bloemfontein still before dinner time. Bloemfontein is about 500kms from Jo’burg already going southwards. we drove as fast as we could. the border at Ressano Garcia/Komatipoort was easy peasy, with the usual misunderstanding and for those i have no comments, but probably the easiest and fastest time i’ve spent on that border… remember last time? i do…

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we arrived in Bloemfontein at about 19:00, which is definitely not bad, seeing we alberto and i didn’t know the roads and seeing also that we could’ve easily fallen asleep while driving. yes, the roads up until Jo’burg are curvy and pleasant, but there is a moment wehre it all changed and became very still, quiet, plain and dry… we were entering the South African desert, where you couldn’t see noone and nothing at all for miles except for the few cars in front and empty road in the back… sometimes we would be alone for miles and miles. it became so boring that i even suggested we should drive faster than the limits because this way we could probably catch up to another car to surpass him just to make it exciting.

the upside of being bored while driving is that you tend to make up games or things to notice along the way to make it seem shorter, and what i noticed most of all is that there are rules to follow to be a driver in this part of the worl. first of all up until Bloemfontein you have to own a white car. apparently it’s a rule in SA, everyone does. of course it chages slightly once you pass Jo’burg. until then it’s not only a white car but the size matters too, it has to be big and ugly, after that it just becames small, it’s still white and ugly (which white car isn’t?) but small, no need for 4×4 here!

our suzuki was such a change for the landscape!

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arriving to Bloemfontein wasn’t as excitin as we thought, we had just been sitting in the car for 928kms and our butts, feet and legs felt it! adding to that it was FREEZING! so cold! everyone had flipflops or sandals so like idiots we pretended it was summer already. they went out for dinner, i collapsed with my body in the shape of the driver’s seat on the big fluffy and warm bed in the freezing DE AKKER BB room. ah, it felt good.

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alberto : 6h driving – andrea: 6h driving (we had promised to change every 300kms or 3h… impossible)

children’s day 01.06

for whoever knows me best knows that i am happiest close to children. there isn’t anything else that makes me happier, nothing else that makes me as fulfilled. i am a devoted babysitter and an aspiring aunt, mommy and best friend to every child alive. specially my friends’ children. so first and foremost i say “HAPPY CHILDREN’S DAY” to Giovanna, Francesca, Giacomo, Edoardo, Fabio, Letizia, Maddalena, Chiara, Madalena, Rosie, Lily, Diogo and Lobito/a who is still yet to arrive.

but today i speak mostly of the children i see here. the ones who gave us, Me, Aldo, Alberto, Rita C e Virgilio, Rita, Hugo, Yentl and Michela the best children’s day weekend.

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we left Maputo as soon as we could and drove forever it seemed, only to stop for the much needed cafeine, and arrived at the Chongoene town limit line only to find Sister Aparecida (brasilian, funny and gigantic!) waiting for us at the side of the road next to a giant truck and a dirt road… leading… to the Community #001 (i didn’t memorize the name).

our very long 2 day weekend was just starting.

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as we arrived the singing started and the spiritual talk also. between speaking of what a day like Children’s Day should mean to the children, mothers, grandmothers (there were no men present) we all sat down around Sister Aparecida and reflected on our own lives and what the future could bring. we laughed by all the jokes Sister made, we admired that community for resisting poverty, for allowing their children to go to school get a better education and become better human beings because they were given the chance to see the world with their minds.

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they all danced for us, prepared us a rather intriging meal, let it be know that i ate a piece of everything… which was definitely a chalenge! and sang for us… until the huge bottle of wine arrived!!! and then it was all about dancing with eachother and laughing their hearts out, even admitting to us “sorry but we’re drunk already!” it was hilarious!!!!! the older they were, the drunker they allowed theirselves to be!

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our stomachs were full, strangely full, that’s what beans and mandioca can do to you!!! and it was time to move to another place, another community and another lunch!

the Community #002 recieved us a bit more simply, in sense that only the children got up and formed a sort of choir position and started singing away. the women were nowhere to be seen and the men, well the men… there were no men, only two older, grandfathers sitting down on a couple of benches staring, and i mean staring at nothing, or us, we couldn’t really tell, and not moving. yes they were alive, just still. the visit to this community went even smothlier, they sang, the women arrived when someone went to let them know that Sister Aparecida was in town with visitors. the children got children’s day presents (the community #001 also!) and sang again, danced a lot, got us involved and then came lunch. again we ate beans and mandioca and wierd green things which i will not describe, but their happiness in serving us was unbelievable, i really felt sorry to refuse half of it, but the beans from the first lunch were still alive inside my stomach… to distract them of feeding us we told them to sit down and eat themselves, because we had to leave anyway… but not before giving them another huge bottle of wine! they were exstatic!!!! if you know the sound of an african tribe, then that’s exactly the noises they made, high pitched voices singing music to the Lord and to Sister Aparecida. it was the funniest thing to see these women get drunk in two minutes (kind of like me) while the men, the two old men… just watched… not moving… sometimes wondering if they were breathing.

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and off we went again, and this time to Sister Aparecida’s  house in Chongoene town. lovely place with a very nice church (if you want to see it, please try to find the post for our first weekend here, we visited her) and she invited us in for……. LUNCH. our third lunch was a portuguese lunch. yes, recognizable and wonderful. but we were soooo full! it’s amazing what four spoons of beans can do to you!!!! but i ate, like i hadn’t just 30mins before. i enjoyed eating things my mouth recognized, not only taste but texture. it was delicous! and the fruit juices? have you really ever had fresh orange juice? or passion fruit? …i don’t believe you, you haven’t until you’ve tasted these ones!!!!

we left Sister Aparecida there and made our way, 3 hour drive almost to Chokwe where we were going to spend the night at Alberto’s house. if we thought that saturday had been a strange full day, let me tell you, sunday was about to change our minds.

before going to sleep (which i so needed, i had spent my day driving and eating!) we had been invited to have… DINNER with three other portuguese who live in Chokwe… everyone ate, i just couldn’t deal with it. it was just too much. it was time for bed…

i’m sure i only slept about 1 hour, but the clock said otherwise. at 6a.m. we were already up and running and i couldn’t believe it. at 7:30a.m. we (me, aldo, alberto, rita c., rita, hugo, yentl and michela) were already standing in front of the orphanage building we love, all sleepy, all tired, full from the day before, with our eyes wanting to close and with 60 children laughing and hugging and playing with us while we were slowly waking up. but like always when i’m with them, it takes about five minutes to get with them on their games, there is no way you can just stand there. while they  had their  breakfast we ran to Bilene beach in time for our own breakfast and wait for the children to arrive. that’s right! we were going with 60 children to the beach!!!!!!

what posessed us to want to do this we still don’t know, if we enjoyed it? yes. it was the best sunday i have ever had in a very long time.

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there are literally no words to describe the emotion, the wonderfulness and the happiness we all felt to have had that idea, to have driven all the way there and made so many children happy and so many children see the ocean for the first time. ok, so Bilene is a lagoon mostly but to them it was the world’s biggest ocean ever imagined. we were a part of it. we made them have so much fun.

i always say that i love these children because of how happy they are (if all children in portugal could be this happy!), but that sunday they were over the moon, or the ocean!!! they jumped, ran, yelled, played, digged holes in the sand, sang, danced in the water, got wet, got full of sand, buried themselves in the sand, they ate lots of sand, they posed for our infinite pictures, they taught us changane, we taught them tricks, they ate like horses, they savoured the candy rita c. offered, they drank coke and fanta and sprite, they laughed, cried even… but the most amazed were us. we couldn’t believe it. there were really 60 children there, all enjoyed what seemed to be the best day of their lives.

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aldo and i actually thought seriously and simply comunicated between ourselves about which ones we wanted to take home with us. aldo even had a fan, Darci, she is albinian (?) and the funniest, smiliest and funkiest girl in there! he had a hard time leaving her. i’m more for the boys, and all of them spent a lot of time with me. but mostly me with them.

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unfortunately we all had to leave. us to Maputo, them to Chokwe, and the children back to the orphanage. if it had been a saturday we would’ve all have slept at the beach playing until the next day. but there was no chance of it happening. but we made a decision, get them real swimsuits in september when the warm weather comes back and go with them again more often. i’ll be there.

will you?

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!

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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.

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

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

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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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!

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(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)

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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!