Sunday, February 25, 2007

Friday, February 23, 2007

Update on Cyclone Favio

Cyclone Favio hit near Vilankulos yesterday and it seems the damage was quite extensive. My friend Jenny has gone up there this morning with a team from her work to do a Humanitarian Assistance Evaluation. Having grown up in an area with relatively no natural disasters, I can't even begin to imagine what it must be like to go through an event like this.

I was really interested in the mission Jenny will be on this weekend, but even if it had been possible for me to join their team, it would not have worked out: I am sick, sick, sick. Two of the four people in the workshop I facilitated had the flu, and it seems I've caught it as well. I've spent the day in bed eating chicken soup, pita bread, Twix and drinking lots of juice. I've also been having fun with the new digital thermometer we bought. For most of the day I've been between 37.5 and 37.8, definitely no fun. Although I feel like crap, amidst the disaster of Cyclone Favio, it's obvious that suffering is all relative and that I truly have nothing to complain about.

More on the cyclone below.

Dozens injured in Moz cyclone
22/02/2007 22:30 - (SA)

Maputo - A powerful tropical cyclone with winds of up to 270km/p surged ashore in southern Mozambique on Thursday, ripping through buildings, knocking out power and injuring scores of people.

Cyclone Favio, the strongest to hit the southern African country, was then heading towards the Zambezi River valley where it was likely to worsen floods that have already killed at least 40 people and driven 120 000 from their homes.

The category-four storm hit Vilanculos, about 800km north of the capital Maputo, early on Thursday, damaging the tourist town's court, prison and market and destroying homes.

Roads were swamped with rain and blocked by uprooted trees, and there was no power in the town as of 18:05.

"I can't do anything because all the roads have been blocked by falling trees and it's even impossible to try and rescue the people whose homes have been hit because there is no access," said Sulemane Amugy, the town's mayor.

Twenty people were injured, according to officials in Vilanculos.

Numbers expected to rise

Sulemane, however, noted the toll might rise as some 720 people were in the town's hospital and jail when the cyclone hit. Both buildings suffered extensive damage.

The National Meteorology Institute, INAM, said Favio's strong winds and rains were concentrated in the province of Inhambane, but were felt as far away as Xai-Xai, the capital of nearby Gaza province.

The storm was moving north towards the central Zambezi River valley, which is already struggling with severe flooding after weeks of heavy rains.

"It's still very strong and heading towards the port city of Beira, Manica and lastly Zimbabwe, but it will reach there a little bit weaker than it is now," said INAM spokesperson Helder Sueia.

Officials said the storm could cause widespread damage to power grids, industry and other key parts of the impoverished nation's small but fast-growing economy.

Growing fears

Another cyclone devastated Mozambique in 2000.

Its impact has already been felt at the holiday resort of Tofo Beach, a favourite of backpackers and scuba divers, where it uprooted palm trees and destroyed electric pylons, reported Radio Mozambique.

The storm also cut off communication with the Bazaruto islands, which are home to a number of upmarket tourist lodges.

There are growing fears that Favio would bring more misery to flood-ravaged central Mozambique, where tens of thousands of people live in temporary shelters with scant food or water.

Officials said the problems could multiply in the coming days as Favio dumps its rains in Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe, further swelling the tributaries that feed the Zambezi.

Article available online here.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Fabio is Coming

Today was the kick-off for the strategic planning workshop I'm co-facilitating for a start-up NGO. Last night I was at the office of the consulting firm that contracted me until 9:20pm. (!!!) This on the heels of having worked all damn day on Saturday. Seriously, for as many downsides as the life of an independent consultant may have, let me just say that I L-O-V-E having control over my own time, being able to work like mad for 2 days in a row, then take it super easy the third day. Alas, not so when you are on somebody else's clock. But the workshop is going quite well and it is nice to interact with some new people and, of course, the paycheck is a perk as well. :)

Mozambique is having lots of weather-related difficulties lately. I don't know if it made the news where you all are, but last week saw some serious flooding along the Zambezi valley in central Mozambique. Heavy rains up-river in Zambia and Zimbabwe caused peak levels in the river above the Cahora Bassa dam in Tete Province. The dam managers decided to increase the outflow of the dam gates, thus pushing the already high waters along the lower length of the river over flood point. Things were especially bad around Caia in Sofala Province, the site where a donor-funded bridge over the Zambezi is currently being constructed on the country's main highway, the EN1. Apparently 85,000 people were displaced as a result of the floods, and the UN had to bring in helicopters to do evacuations.

Mozambique is a funny shaped country, like a long fat Y resembling an upside-down afghan hound. The capital, Maputo, is all the way in the south-eastern corner, practially smashed against the borders with South Africa and Swaziland. Since the highway system is dismal and there is still no bridge over the Zambezi (except in Tete Province where it's really not necessary for linking north with south), Mozambique is practially divided in two. North and south might as well be completely different countries, because what happens in one part barely affects the other parts. Case in point is all the flooding. Here in Maputo it was dry as a bone, hot and humid, but with no sign of the storms causing such havoc further up the coast. If not for the images on TV and the reports in the newspaper, residents of the capital would never guess the rest of the country was in such dire straights.

Apparently this week they've closed the flood gates at Cahora Bassa, so the flooding is back under control, althoug there are the subsequent problems of food supply and general reconstruction of lives affected by the rising waters. Now, however, it seems to be Maputo's turn to hold its breath and hope for the best against Nature's potential fury.

A cyclone is heading towards us, having passed to the south of Madagascar and into the Mozambique Channel. Cyclone Fabio is currently a Category 1 storm and is expected to make landfall tomorrow evening near Vilankulos, a resort town a couple hundred kilometers north of Maptuo. However, erratic as storm paths tend to be, there is a chance that Fabio will not veer north and will instead make landfall at Maputo Bay. Right now it's a relatively weak storm as far as these things go, but I must admit the prospect of cyclone is simultaneously exciting and panic-inducing. I'm sure meterology nerds in the hurricane belt of the US understand.

Maybe my workshop sessions will be cancelled on Thursday because of the cyclone!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Girls Are All Grown Up...

A few minutes ago, desperately needing a break from my Death by Power Point, I decided that a little procrastination was in order. What's my favorite way to waste a bit of time? Google, of course. For some reason I was inspired to look up old friends from elementary school. I discovered that Kate, who was somewhat of an archnemesis of mine, was a cross-country star in college and spent a year abroad in New Zealand. I found some photos of her breaking through the finish line in a race and smiled: Kate looks exactly the same as I remember her.

Free associating, I thought about the other kids that went to school with me and Kate at The Montessori School in Albuquerque. In 5th grade, two new girls joined our class. They were sisters, Nicole and Kristy Austin, who had moved from California with their hot, single mom Tina. In the midst of all the other moms in jeans or business suits, Tina Austin used to show up to school to pick up her girls wearing a leopard print tube top, spandex leggings and patent leather stilettos, her bleached blonde hair pulled back in a high ponytail with a matching leopard print scrunchee.

Nicole and Kristy were like junior carbon copies of their mom. Sure, they wore all the same 80's fashion as the rest of us girls, but there was always something different: their pants were a little tighter, their shirts showed a sliver of midriff, they wore red lip gloss to school, and they always had their hair styled as if participating in a pageant. Nicole and Kristy were my introduction to Valley Girl slang, to Paula Abdul, and to the wonders of the spiral curling iron. Part of me chalked it all up to the girls being from California, but even at the tender age of 10 I knew Nicole and Kristy were on a very different path from the rest of us. They were sweet girls, and we would have sleepovers and go to dance class together and share cherry coke slurpees from 7-11, but differences in our values, upbringings and interests kept us from being really close friends.

A few years ago, an old friend from The Montessori School sent me an e-mail with a link to some Hott Girls Swimsuit Edition calendar out of Phoenix, Arizona with the accompanying message: "Look closely at Miss October and see if you don't recognize her." I opened up the site and took a good look at the model. She had a disproportionately huge boob job and bright dyed blonde hair, but there was no mistaking it. "Coco", the bikini-clad testament to silicone, was Nicole Austin, larger than life and on the fast-track to soft porn. Kristy, her sister, was featured as an extra in the group photo on the calendar's cover and looked equally boobtastic.

So today in my quest to look up old classmates, I remembered the e-mail about Nicole and decided to google her. Imagine my surprise when all of the results that came up were for Coco, Ice-T's skanky wife that I always read about on Perez Hilton. Initially I thought, "No, that can't be Nicole. Ice-T's wife is, like, 35 or something." I don't know why I had this impression. Mabye it's because Coco smacks of some washed-up Hollywood "actress" who desperately clings to her youth by wearing stripper gear and being generally tasteless. Someone like Kimora Lee Simmons, perhaps, or Bai Ling. Whatever, the fact that both women are named Nicole Austin must be a coincidence.

But then I saw a snippet of a biography and my eyes locked on the phrase, "...born in California in 1979, moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico at the age of 10." Holy shit. I started browsing the photo galleries on Perez Hilton and imdb. It took me a while to see through the nose job, the cheek implants, the ginormous 39DD boobs and the butt implants (yes, butt implants), but after a while I saw it. Her eyes are still the same. Oh my God. I used to go to elementary school with Ice-T's Playboy-featured wife. The girl that went trick-or-treating with me in 1990 and taught me how to peg-roll the bottom of my jeans is now the woman with a perma-camel toe and a pound of silicone in each ass cheek. I'm shocked, but honestly not at all surprised.

Somewhere in a storage unit back in the US, I have a photo album full of pictures from 5th grade. I wonder how much a gossip rag would pay for pictures of Coco wearing a puffy paint sweatshirt and playing Twister in my backyard?

For some examples of this woman's class, click here, here, here, here, here and here.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Death by Power Point

Friends, I have been busy lately. I don't think I've worked this hard since my first two projects upon moving to Mozambique: the Input Supply Sector Study and the Tea Processing Plant grant application. Back then I was idealistic and eager to prove myself to my colleagues. Then I saw how everything here worked - people late on deadlines, expat consultants making $700/day to do some bullshit spreadsheet, corruption, donor funds having shamefully little accountability, incompetent people in desperately important positions - I could go on all day.

Yes, there are many hopeful aspects of Mozambique that I notice as well, but unfortunately I got hit with the cynicysm bomb. Hard. Getting an eyeful of reality through this not-so-rosy lens had a huge impact on my work. I felt it happening bit by bit, the laziness creeping in, being content with an 80% effort because it was better than most of the other work being done out there. I became complacent, but as much as I could see what was happening, the shame of not doing my best was never quite enough to provoke a change in attitude.

The change in my work effort this past week isn't, unfortunately, because I've suddenly been injected with hope. Instead, it's because I've been subcontracted by a local consulting firm to do a 5-day strategic planning workshop with a new NGO that wants to support artisans and the development of the art sector in Mozambique. Obviously the scope of this project is interesting to me for personal reasons, but that's not actually why I've been working so hard. It's because, once again, I feel the need to prove myself as a competent consultant.

When I first arrived in Moz, BL and Ricardo were the audience for my efforts to impress. Now they know my work and I feel no need to play that game anymore; I am confident in my abilities, as are they. But now there is a new audience, the partners (all male) in the firm that has hired me. They have a very different approach to projects than I tend to have, and I must work within their guidelines. So this week has seen me pouring over all the analytical tools and matrices that an MBA is supposed to live and die by, learning about the Balanced Scorecard approach to strategic management (another one essential to any self-respecting MBA, but that I completely missed out on in school and thus must teach myself), and creating Power Point slides until my fingers are cramped. I was talking to my mom on Skype last night, telling her how much I was working, and she referenced some book called "Death by Power Point." Genius. I must find this book.

In other news, the boys are doing well and we've avoided any "accidents" this week.

Yesterday was Valentine's Day and, though we worked for the better part of the evening, we had a nice dinner at home to celebrate. I made a huge veggie lasagna, Rico surprised me with a piece of cheesecake from Mundo's, and we had some $4 white wine that was actually not half bad. Rico also smothered me in presents - 4 different potted plants and a gorgeous spice rack that is filled with yummy new inspirations for my cooking.

Alas, I must get back to my workshop preparation. Sigh. The slow, painful Death continues.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Saudades Trapped in Song

Listening: “Open” by Bruce Cockburn.

Remembering: Life in Austin, driving by myself along Farm-to-Market Routes, watching a state that wasn’t mine slowly grow on me.

I always used to listen to a radio station called KGSR. They played a mix of music totally different from that played by my station of choice back in Albuquerque – Viva 101.7, featuring all the best in Pop en Español. When I moved to Austin, my song horizon widened inadvertently with all the country and folk influence in the city. KGSR was my favorite teacher, and I learned all about Lucinda Williams, Waylon Jennings, Steve Earl and, of course, Willie Nelson.

One day as I was driving to work, a song played on KGSR that immediately resonated with me. I had no clue who the artist was, but there was something about his sad fiddle and earnest singing that perfectly captured how I felt about Austin and everything I’d been through the previous year to get me there. This was my introduction to Bruce Cockburn.

Doing: Writing and editing for the final draft of the feasibility study we’ve just done for FAO. For the last several months we’ve been evaluating different scenarios for the development of the Maputo Green Zones, agricultural belts within the city where some 15,000 smallholder producers grow vegetables for local markets and their own consumption. Currently all production and sales by the smallholders are on a very informal basis. We looked at different ways FAO can support the Green Zones producers to organize their production and establish market linkages, thus increasing their incomes and improving nutritional status.

Realizing: That I am starting to really like Mozambican / Angolan music. Rico and I bought a little boom box the other day and have been listening to the radio quite a bit recently, a first for both of us. I’ve always loved Afro-Pop songs, but some of the passada, zouk and marrabenta styles that are so popular here were very slow to grow on me. Sort of the same way I absolutely hated most pagode songs in Brasil until having a fabulous time at Carnaval with a group of friends and actually establishing cool memories to go along with those songs in my head.

I think it’s a definitive point when, as an expatriate, I actually start liking the music of the country where I’m living. It is usually a sign that some subtle internal balance has shifted, adapted to the fact that “home” is now in a different geographical location. It’s a sign that I’ve stopped totally evaluating my life in a new country through the lens of an outsider. I’m ready to hear songs not as a manifestation of a novel, exotic culture that I don’t understand, but as a catalyst for memories of caipirinhas with the girls, long days with Rico sweating in our non-air-conditioned home office, and occasionally, if it’s just the right rhythm and sweet lyric, of the way I’ll one day look back on the time I spent in Mozambique, a foreshadowing of the saudades sure to come.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Long Overdue

As I write the boys are finally being castrated. Fingers crossed that this puts an end to the compulsive pissing and pooing in inappropriate places throughout the house.

Things I will not miss:

  • Waking up each morning and embarking on a "treasure hunt" to identify where on earth the smell is coming from.

  • Not being able to get a full night's sleep, Version 1: Cats in Bedroom. Waking up every time the cats walk on the mattress, shift position, meow, scratch, or chase each other due to extreme paranoia of being pissed on while I slumber.

  • Not being able to get a full night's sleep, Version 2: Cats Out of Bedroom. Having nightmares about people trying to break into the house due to cats slamming against the closed door with all their weight and managing to jimmy open the handle, thus invading the room every 15 minutes and causing me to wake up from said nightmares to shoo the beasts back into the hallway.

  • Not being able to get a full night's sleep, Version 3: The Water Bottle. This was our latest solution, and it actually worked semi-well for the past couple of days. Rico had the brilliant idea to fill up a squirt bottle with water and sleep with it next to the bed. We left the door open, and each time the boys started to act up, Rico or I would paw around in the dark for the squirt bottle and let fly with a stream of water onto the offending cat. Although this method did provide for some great entertainment and seemed to thwart most of the "accidents", it alas did not allow for peaceful sleep either.

I'm hoping that the down-time required for the boys to recuperate from the big snip will also break them of their latest habit: they've learned how to open the freezer. The other day Rico and I walked into the kitchen to find the freezer wide open, the tip of Parceiro's tail barely visible curving around the side of the door (we have a reversed fridge/freezer where the congelador is actually the bottom half of the appliance). Not only had the cat managed to nudge open the freezer, Parceiro apparently liked the cool air so much that he decided to get all the way inside and make himself comfortable on top of the ice trays. To ensure we didn't think it was a fluke occurance, Parceiro went ahead and pulled this trick two more times before Rico finally squashed the fun with a lock and key for the freezer door. Now the cats have taken to scrabbling against the plastic siding of the appliance and it's just a matter of time before they bust the lock.

Though the thought of cat hair in my ice totally grosses me out, I can't say I blame the boys. I would have gladly climed into the freezer myself during the blisteringly hot, humid days of late if I'd thought there was a fleeting chance I'd fit in there.

Rico has just left to pick up the boys from the vet. Fingers crossed, my friends. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

An Itch for New Flavors

Lately I've been in a cooking rut. It seems I always make some variation on the theme of 5 or 6 staple dishes. I try and mix it up, but the general lack of ingredients and the horrid problems with stock control in all the grocery stores and markets in the city make it tough. Today I'd had enough. I decided it was high time for some serious experimenting.

I took my inspiration from the Mexicans, who love the combination of mango and chile. I had a boyfriend in college who was from Juarez and would make the 4-hour drive home each weekend just to stock up on Mexican candy, his favorite being mango lollipops coated in red chile powder that came with a satchet of salt attached to the stick to sprinkle on the candy as one licked through the layers of spicy and sweet. I tried these lollipops once and thought they were absolutely disgusting. My favorites were the logs made of condensed milk and shredded coconut, dyed red and green to mimic the Mexican flag.

Today, however, as I sat in the kitchen trying to put some not-quite-ripe mangoes to good use, I decided to revisit the flavor combination I'd so soundly rejected years ago. The prospect of fresh ingredients, as opposed to a processed confection sticky from sitting in the sun in some streetcorner vendor's tray, was much more appealing. Feeling the creative kitchen juices flow, I made the following salad:

2 almost-ripe mangoes, peeled and cut into cubes
2 tsp chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
1 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp New Mexico red chile powder, mild
1 tsp red pepper flakes (vary according to taste)

As a main dish, I stir-fried some pork cubes and added a few spoonfulls of curry powder. It was delicious, but I do admit being partial to sweet/spicy and meat/fruit combinations. Even Rico liked the mango salad, although he ate it more as a chutney while mine was piled high over half the plate.

Maybe I should get my hands on one of those Mexican lollies the next time I'm in the US and give it another go...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

To Be Fair, I Also Look Just Like Dad

Desperate Measures Needed

Any of you that regularly read my blog will know that we've been having some serious problems with our cats acting out. For the record I think it's just one cat, Pria, a.k.a The Bad One, but the paranoid part of my personality thinks that perhaps making these accusations and singleing out one cat as the troublemaker is actually contributing to the revenge episodes.

It started with a few accidents on the bed. At the time, the boys had runny poo from poor quality commercial cat chow, so I thought we were dealing with accidents. Then I started feeding them homemade food and the poo solidified nicely. Yet there would still be little presents on our bed, both number one and number two. I started to notice a pattern. Whenever the cats were upset about something - lack of attention, less than spotless litterbox, time spent with cat-sitter, etc. - we would get a very clear message of revenge. Unfortunately, the preferred spot for these little gifts has always been our bed.

After a while, Rico and I decided to be proactive about the situation. I clean the litterbox compulsively. We make a special effort to play with the cats, give them new toys, make sure they have a good diet, and whatever else seems necessary to keep them healthy and happy. We also decided to keep our bedroom door closed during the day, thus eliminating the possibility of revenge poos or pisses on the bed while we are away. This seemed to work for a while.

The problem is that I love to sleep with the cats. Obviously this has become problematic, as Rico and I wake up multiple times each time Pria or Parceiro shifts around, paranoid that they are about to let fly on the bed. Our quality of sleep has significantly declined, and we finally came to the sad decision that we must keep the boys out of our bedroom at night as well.

Not surprisingly, they are not at all happy about this decision. The first few nights they (and by they I mean Pria) showed their disapproval by pissing on the guest bed and the couch. Then the boys (and again by boys I mean Pria) learned how to open the door to our bedroom by stretching their paws up and leaning on the handle. They were opening the door once every five minutes. Obviously another solution was in order to help recuperate our peaceful sleep.

The other night Rico had an idea. We have a large wicker chest of drawers in the bedroom that slides nicely across the floor and is just the right size and weight to wedge in front of the door so that feline attempts to open said door are thwarted. This keeps the boys out of the bedroom, but it pisses them off and makes them, well, piss all over the house. It also involves us learning how to fall asleep listening to what sounds like someone trying to break into the house. You wouldn't think that little cats could make such an impact when jumping against a door, but they certainly do. It's terrible.

Every morning we wake up and follow our noses to find the lastest pile of poo or pool of piss left during the night. My only hope is that castrating the boys will help this problem. We would have already done it, but getting cats neutered in Mozambique is not a cheap procedure. Right now we are waiting on a check from one of our consulting projects that should be issued by Friday. Once that money is available, we are putting the cats in their handmade wicker cat carrier and marching them straight to the Vet school at Eduardo Mondlane University for the big snip.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Goodbyes

Not surprisingly, I hate goodbyes. I live a good 10,000 kilometers from most of the people that I fiercely love, the friends that have come into my life in unexpected places like the line at the bank or a shared aisle in a plane, the family that I was blessed with and the family that I have chosen over the years.

It seems like I am constantly leaving at least one of these people, finding a way to fit all essential posessions and small indulgences in two suitcases, trying to capture all the memorable moments on film or on paper or in a final soul-squeezing hug so that I might be sustained by these slivers of the past while away.

I hate saying goodbye, but I do recognize a silver lining amidst the ache of absence: it makes the next airplane ride back home that much more exciting, the next bondinho ride up the hill to Santa Teresa that much more beautiful, and the next face-to-face smile with a loved one that much sweeter.

In Which I Look Increasingly Like My Mother

I haven't had bangs since I was in 6th grade. Now that I've finally mustered up the courage to cut them again, I can't help but think I look just like my Momma Dog...and that's not at all a bad thing at all! :)

Friday, February 02, 2007

Exciting Times this Week

* I finally got a haircut. I had the woman chop off all the grown-out-highlights-turned-blue, which took a good 4 inches off my hair. While at it, I asked Sra. São to go ahead and give me bangs. Yes, bangs. Fringe. Franja... I love it!!

* Jenny and I have started going to a cha-cha-cha class taught by a Cuban professor named Felix. The students range from ex-professional dancers to a poor boy who kept speeding up the cha-cha-cha part and raced through every step sans rhythm. The graduates of the cha-cha-cha class then have the option of moving on to the salsa class. I can't wait.

* I ate a delicious pineapple cream tart today. For breakfast. While waiting for Jenny and crew to pick us up to go to the beach. We're not going camping, but we are getting some sand and sun at a nearby place called Macaneta. No speedboat necessary to get there, just a batelão, a floating platform of a ferry where the cars load up to cross the bridgeless Inkomati river.

* Yesterday I received a lovely shipment of beads and silver from my Uncle and his family via DHL.

* And speaking of mail, I received not one but TWO holiday cards in the mail a few weeks ago. I couldn't believe it. One was from Paris Parfait in France, the other from my friend Gaby in London. I nearly keeled over from the shock of it all. There are absolutely no guarantees, but anyone inclined to test out the postal system here is welcome to give it a shot.

* Exciting, but not in a particularly good way, is that Pria has sent us several pointed messages in the last week. First was an epic piss on our bed that soaked through the mattress and took an entire bottle of bleach to burn out the smell. Following that episode we decided to discipline the cats (is this even a plausible concept?) and keep them out of our room for a while. The result? A massive turd pile on the wicker armchair, neatly hidden behind one of the throw pillows. Had I not seen the smallest little smudge of shit on the cushion, I can only imagine what might have happened had a guest come over and decided to sit on that chair.

* In other news about the boys, they have learned how to open the door to our bedroom. Three times now we've gone to bed with the door firmly shut, only to wake up in the middle of the night with a snuggle or a meow. How they are managing to do it I can only imagine, but the boys are certainly resourceful when so inclined.

* Beach time!! Have a great weekend.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Island Weekend

This past Sunday we decided it was high time to get out of Maputo, not in the permanent sense but at least for a little weekend jaunt.

We boarded the Zavora, the boat of our acquaintance Sérgio, and navigated for an hour through the Bay of Maputo.

The water was beautiful, the sun was strong - a little too strong, maybe, seeing as Rico and Jenny took to singing the theme from Indiana Jones at one point during the boat ride.

Our first stop was Portuguese Island, a deserted island that is a nature reserve and a little slice of heaven just outside Maputo. I spent the entire afternoon collecting shells, floating in the super salty water, and catching up with Jenny, Lies and her boyfriend (also named Ricardo, also a Brasilian).

We ended the day with a super seafood lunch on Inhaca, a large island next to Portuguese Island that covers the mouth of the Bay of Maputo. After red snapper and a couple of beers, we were ready for more sun and a good nap on the boat on the way back (at least that was the plan for me and Jenny).

All around a fabulous excursion. So much so that we are contemplating another trip this weekend, only this time to go camping overnight!