Sunday, November 30, 2008

Scuba Diving and Team Mohundro

The scuba weekend has come and gone. We had 4 ocean dives and spent a bunch of time, around 8 hours, in the pool. It was great, scary for me at first, but we all enjoyed it thoroughly. both Patrick (Pat-dizzle) and Chase (in Africa) have posted blog updates at the end of November with some photos from our scuba time if you are interested. Links to their blogs are on the right side of my blog under "Friends Blogs".

Highlights were: seeing a white tipped shark, being a part of the Team Mohundro (like the Team Zissou from the movie Life Aquatic, see Chase and Patrick's website for some photos), completing our PADI Open Water Scuba Certification, splurging on a celebratory breakfast buffet (we lived off of $5 per person total for 5 days cooking our own meals), watching a 12 foot wide manta ray glide by us, and the beautiful white sandy beaches with aqua colored water just a few steps from our bunk house. Our scuba instructor said we were the luckiest students he's had, as far as seeing aquatic life is concerned, lucky indeed.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Got game?

I have been having a great time, just living the dream on my African Odyssey. The main two events that come to mind since my last posting are going to a Game Reserve in Swaziland and getting my PADI Open Water Scuba Certification. Below are some photos from the game reserve trip, photos from scuba diving will have to come later. If you want to see some even better photos from the game reserve trip visit Pat-dizzle's blog, the November 26 posting.

It was great to drive in Mozambique by the way, a unique challenge with a standard shift automobile in a location that doesn't drive by any rules on the wrong side of the road. A challenge I like to feel that I almost mastered.

A small sample of the goods for sale.

Wood, rasta, and a chissle, not a bad combination.

The skulls are from rhinos that poachers killed, opens your eyes a little. The horn is crushed up into a powder and sold in the orient to cure impotence.

Our accommodations were pretty sweet, great food, no electricity, and an open air cabin.

This photo is for my mother, a zoo docent. It is a rock monitor and was very impressive.

This last photo was some guys that were selling something on the side of the road. They looked like the rats on The Princess Bride. We didn't have the cash to purchase or the stomach to eat them though.

We leave on December 6 to start our land journey up north to attempt our climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro, near the Tanzania Kenya border. If you look at a world map we will be going a distance about the same as going from the state of Texas north and crossing the US of A border in Montana. Now imagine that trip in Mozambican vehicles, you will see on Patrick's (Pat-dizzle) most recent blog posting that our latest bus drive we averaged just under 17 miles per hour. It should make for some trying times in the transportation let alone climbing the mountain.

We should be climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest point on the African continent at 19,340 feet, around the end of December. I hope my body can handle the altitude, we'll see. So I probably won't be posting again until my return from that trip, so look for something again in January. I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Some beach and some fun

Senhor Chase has a great posting on his blog, linked on the right under “Chase in Africa”, regarding a splendid night in the capital of Mozambique, Maputo, where we lived it up at a US Embassy and a fellow American’s Election night party. At 5:30am we learned with certainty, after watching CNN for hours on end, that Obama was victorious. The next day people on the streets, when they saw two white people, cheered for Obama.

As some of you are aware, I have a squeeze top Nalgene water bottle. I take it every where I go and drink from it often. It has been dubbed as “Team Water.” So I got a shot of Team Water, my Delicate Arch Utah socks, and an African boy. Brining who I am to mix it in with where I am.

I have taken so many photos, that may be difficult for those of you to know me to imagine, and am having difficulty transitioning to having a blog vs. a photo site. But I’ll do my best with the transition and when I get home, three and a half months from now, I’ll post the photos archive some of you are waiting for.

If you go out to eat below is a typical meal of chicken, we shared this full chicken with three of us, and some fries.

Chase’s school, his house is just to the right of the building.

A crazy colored grasshopper of sorts.

Some anorexic, not by choice mind you, cows that they use for meat and as learning tools for the students at the agricultural school Chase teaches at.

Tofo beach, we hung out there for a few days with the new group of US Peace Corps volunteers.

Please take note of the serious air that was reached, the beach was spring loaded for sure.

We walked out to the Flamingo Bay lodge, which as you can see sits above the water on stilts. Unfortunately we are not staying there this round. But in the off-season, so right now, it’s only $200 per person for 4 nights, including breakfast and dinner. That’s only $50 per person, per night including two meals, not too shabby.

Patrick won the palm tree climbing competition, much respect.

In the two weeks I’ve been here in Africa I’ve been able to visit seven different towns, two different beaches, and cross two borders (one illegally). Good times thus far!

Monday, November 3, 2008


I met Chase and Ali on the side of a long highway at the Moamba junction, it was a grand day. I turned South African and greeting chase in some local attire that is called a denitard. I brought Chase his own denitard and he jumped for joy!

The bus ride was pretty sweet, the A/C made it freezing for the first hour. Then for the last 7 hours the A/C broke down and since I was on the lower portion of the double decker bus I got no moving air. It's not just the heat, but the combination of heat, humidity, and the wonderful scents of Mozambique that truly perked my all senses on the trip.

After arriving at Ali's sweet pad we go to participate in the Mozambican Olympics. The events were the swing launch, shotput, bowling, left handed distance toss, and the skeet toss. We all were masters at our individual events.

I then had the opportunity to visit the orphanage Ali works at and spend an afternoon with the children there. Even in their challenging situation, the kids still had smiles on their faces! Ali got everyone to jump at the same time amazingly, arm wrestled the kids to show them who is boss, and then made them climb a tree to make for some good photos. It was fun to interact with the kids and I gave them rubber wrist bands that I brought from home to leave them with something upon my departure. I hope to return sometime on my travels to visit them again.

A more comprehensive photo posting is located at the "Gross de Ali" link on the right side of the page under Friends Blogs if you are interested.