Monday, October 27, 2008

Oh, the envy.... by Em

So, who wants to know more about our fantastic holiday in Mozambique?? Okay, okay, don't all shout at once.

In short it was FANTASTIC! I'll start from the beginning so I don't miss out anything. Uh oh, this could be a long one. Make yourself a cup of tea and settle in.

And we're off!
We arrived in Swazi full of unspent giggles, ready for a glorious two weeks. However, the giggles quickly disappeared when we found that NOT ONE of our bags made it to Swaziland. Oh joy. And there was a queue of people who were trying to locate their luggage from a week ago. A week! Bloody marvellous. Luckily I'm married to 'Mr Charming and Fantastic' (self proclaimed) and he managed to track down some poor baggage handler's number at Johannesburg International Airport who literally turned around his little baggage handler's cart and went searching for our bags. Two day's later and in the nick of time they arrived. Whew!

This was nearly the last we saw of our precious cargo. Oh, and let me introduce you to Suzie, the Isuzu. She was our holiday mascot. That's the minature car, 'nana. The blonde on the left is me, the one on the right is Lianne.

Mum and Dad were super generous and lent us the Isuzu (big Suzie - see the connection?) for our travels along with fishing rods, big plastic boxes to pack all the food in, beach blankets, first aid kits and even a frozen lamb stew! Honestly, that woman is magic. A magic piece of loveliness.

Okay, back to the trip: first stop, Tofu, which was about an 8 hour drive. We stayed on the beach front in a newly constructed A-frame reed cabana with a sea view and a generous verandah which was perfect for soaking up some sun without being battered by the sand. I've been to Tofu before and it's got quite a lot more commercial than I remember. The fish are quite pricey if you don't do some serious negotiating, but the fact is you're buying fish right out of the boat, so it doesn't get much fresher than that. And we ate like kings! Crayfish, prawns, fresh fish - delish. And, of course, we didn't have to clean any of them thanks to the wonderful services of our (first) houseboy, Marco. The days were uber-leisurely. We woke up late, poured our first G&T at lunch, swam, fished (albeit unsuccessfully) and emulated old French men by spending hours playing Boulle on the beach.

One of the lovely idiosyncracies of this place was the shower with a built-in radio so we could listen to Portuguese FM while we soaped up. Especially funny in a house made of reeds with barely any hot water!
The local beer, 2M, was a firm favourite. See Suzie on Chris' glass.

Next stop, Vilancoulos. The road was great fun - driving was just like playing a Nintendo game where you had to dart left and right across the screen just to survive and reach the next level. In this case, if you didn't do some serious dodging you'd be swallowed whole by the potholes on the 'road'. Once we finally got there we were absolutely blown away by our accommodation, which far surpassed our expectations. Lap. Of. Luxury. Huge 4 bedroom-4 bathroom house with a massive kitchen and sprawling verandah overlooking the turquois ocean. With a plunge pool. Ridiculous.

AND to add to the ridiculousness we had a dedicated houseboy, Bernado, who absolutely loved trying to do everything under the sun for us. He'd greet us upon our return from ANYWHERE (even popping out for lunch) with chilled facecloths on a tray adorned with flowers. Oh yes, you read that right. Flowers. And scented facecloths. He was brilliant - with a smile that shone from the inside out. In fact, he was helped out by another houseboy, Gildo. Yup, two people who wanted to make us happy. Oh, how I miss them.

Meet Bernado and Gildo. The kings of all houseboys. And look how sweetly they hold hands.

Off the coast of Vilancoulos are 4 islands, most of which are untouched. Paradise. We did a spot of island hopping where we braaied our prawns on the beach, snorkelled a bit and had long walks on the beach. Chris and Li managed to squeeze in a few dives too. Honestly, four days of heaven.

Last stop, Bilene. Only about a million miles from Vilancoulos, but moving in the general direction of Swaziland, so technically heading back home. Bilene is a small town/village on a lagoon about 3 hours from Maputo. The 'sea' is therefore pretty flat and the beach is white sand, so it's gorgeous but lacks the drama that comes with the ocean. We stayed in a Cape Cod style house right on the beach, but the weather turned here and one day was too windy to get onto the beach followed by another day that was overcast and yucky for most of it, only clearing up later. So here's where we played one boardgame after another culminating in an 'Olympics' which was made up of Bat and Ball, Boulle, Connect 4, Speed Scrabble, Hats (throw cards into a hat about 5 metres away), 30 Seconds and Pictionary. Only problem is that Chris and I were teamed up against Mark and Li-Li and Chris is training for the Cape Odyssey (a 5 day race where you run a full marathon each day), so he's super fit. He also thinks he can handle his alcohol. We lost the first 3 games and had to drink as forfeits. In short, Chris was a mess after 4 beers. Lightweight.
And with that it was back to Swaziland, a quick pop in with Mum and Dad and the flight back to Cape Town. I can't believe it's all over. Or that it was a month ago. Sorry about the late post.
Anyone want to come and visit us now?


Martine said...

Wow!!! Just wow!!! The pictures are a postcard...and it sounds like a perfect vacation. Thanks for posting...I've been looking forward to hearing about your trip (and seeing your pretty face!).

Oh...I pulled my post...yours was so much more interesting. I'll repost tomorrow after you get your just dues!

Pieter said...

You have experienced a small slice of heaven. No need for me to tell you how envious I am. It was worth the piled up work on your return, eh?

Love your houseboy. Which one is the boy?

Bird said...

Starting tomorrow I will demand Keith greet me with scented, chilled face cloths. Even when I come out of the loo.

Your vacation sounds so super dreamy and I'm so super envious!
My 3 days in the woods suddenly seems so primitive.... and I have to cook my own food.

Pieter said...

Well to say we are green with envy would be an understatement! I hope to experience something like that one day.How ever to me sitting on the stoep of your parents' home is paradise enough, with the obligatory glass of red wine,and a view to die for.Keep us informed of the next exciting chapter of life with Emily and Mark.

Pieter said...

P.S. This was Brenda's comment but automatically came up as from Pieter. Damn computor!!!

Bird said...

PS - I envy the boobs too!

Em said...

Bird - how's Keith taken to the idea of presenting you with chilled facecloths? Yup, I thought not. I tried that one with Mark too. Oh, and we cooked our own food - enough for 10 people. And then ate the lot.

Mart, I can't believe you pulled your post with your gorgeous cherubs carving pumpkins. It's so exotic for us Southern Hemisphere folk. No Halloween here.

Bren/Pieter - the next chapter is busy being written as Mum and Dad have been here for a week. Bruce and Joey were also here over the weekend, which was typically chaotic. Heaven.

Oh, and Bird, why do you think I put that particular pic in - trick of the light!

Bird said...

My husband won't cooperate with my master plan of chilled face cloths. Barbarian.