on travel, thoughts, and the art of short fiction

I heart Inhambane

In Mozambique on February 24, 2008 at 11:14 pm

I arrived in Inhambane on Thursday and it is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever encountered. I’ve been fortunate to have seen a lot of beautiful places in this world, and I know this is completely subjective, but Inhambane is truly very magical.

I’m right on the Indian Ocean. The weather is obviously warm but not humid (which I am grateful for – let’s keep that ocean breeze a commin’). The malaria risk is very low. The landscape is breathtaking. There are so many intriguing plants which are the most astonishing vivid colors. So many glorious shades of green. I’ll see pine trees, next to flowering cactus plants, next to exotic waxy leafy plants, it seems so random.

We are surrounded by water. The bay of Inhambane meets us in the town square and then about 30 minutes out of town is the beach. I’m talking resort style, secluded, fluffy pure sand, and warm, clear, gentle water. Everything is so clean and nice. There are tourists on the beach strip but it’s not overdone, the natural beauty is completely preserved. Most of the tourists come from South Africa.

The Bay of Inhambane at sunset

Tofo Beach

In Inhambane, we have access to excellent night life and wonderful restaurants as a result of the tourism. Today, we went to the beach and I had lemon sugar crepes for breakfast with guava juice and for lunch, curried sweet potato and shrimp in a coconut sauce. So cheap and so fresh. And to think I was preparing to eat rice and beans everyday for every meal. I truly can’t believe my luck.

I haven’t started working yet because I arrived on a Friday night. I begin tomorrow, so up until now, this has been a vacation and I’ve soaked in every second.

I went to ADPP (the school where I will be working) on Saturday to tour the facility and meet the staff. Everyone seems nice. The teacher training college is beautiful. The facility is brand new having only been built in 2006. The student’s dorm rooms are immaculate and the bathrooms pristine. Much better conditions than I had on the Mountain in Massachusetts.

ADPP Campus. A quick five minute walk from our house.

One of the students even took me on a tour of Inhambane City, which is small and charming. He was very patient with my Portuguese, I hope all the students are this patient. Many of the people here actually speak English to my disappointment because they want to practice and once they hear my accent they try to speak to me in English. And it is great practice for them, but I need to practice my Portuguese so they are speaking to me in broken English and I’m speaking to them in broken Portuguese and somehow we communicate.

Let’s see, my living conditions.
I live in a four bedroom house with one other Development Instructor, my lovely friend Tracy. I’m so glad we were placed together because we both trained on the mountain in Massachusetts, we get along really well and have a lot in common, such as spontaneously breaking out into songs from Broadway musicals and a love for literature and writing.

Our very pink living room

My bedroom. The Mosquito Net is a lifesaver!

Freaky

our front porch

Our house is simple but nice. I have my own room with a bed, dresser and desk. We have a kitchen and a living room and a porch with chairs. We’ve got a crazy cat named freaky who is the loudest cat I’ve ever heard. She screams all day long, but she’s cute so she is accommodated. The only drawback, no running water and bathrooms outside.

I’ve already seen my first tarantula in our outhouse. We have a hole in the ground with two posts for the feet and you just stand there and let it rip!

We have another hut that is our shower hut. You have to retrieve water from the well, pour it into the bucket and ladle yourself clean. It’s not bad actually and it’s easy. I shower about three times a day (it’s so hot) and I’ve already gotten used to it. The best is showering outside late at night. There is nothing like the sky over Inhambane. There are so many stars here on a moon free night.

The bathroom hut at night. Prime time for spotting nasty spiders and cockroaches the size of my hand.

We have a really sweet cleaning lady and cook named Jaqueline who does our laundry everyday, keeps us with a steady supply of pure water, cooks our dinners and cleans our house. It was weird at first to have someone clean and do things for me, but she’s very insistent and Tracy and I have no clue how to prepare food here or how to effectively hand wash our clothes (I take care of the small things like bras and underwear) so it really is all for the best and she gets paid really well.

Speaking of preparing food. I went to the market to buy Mangos yesterday and it took me almost thirty minutes to cut into my mango. I was cutting and slicing. In the end it looked like a drunken tic tack toe board. I started prying the pieces apart with my pocket knife. I’m surprised I didn’t lose a finger.

Fresh from the market - breakfast is served

The fruit here is sooooooooooooooo good. We have papaya and mango and guava and bananas and much more as well as vegetables of all kinds. The land is very fertile.
Then there are the gifts from the sea.

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