Another two-three months down and it is time to update the blog again. So what has changed about me? I now am a blond due to the sun and my hair is past my ears. I am also starting to look like a local due to my sun tan.
So, where was I when I last updated my blog? Harare., Zimbabwe. It turned out to be a cool time due to some cool people and some cool camping in the northern wilderness mountains of Zimbabwe. I met several guys staying in the hostel who had been chatting to a guy called George about a new lodge he had been building in the north of Zimbabwe and he wanted us to be the first to visit (at no cost). It was about a three hour drive to get there (I think I slept for 2 of them). We were up a mountain, in the middle of nowhere. The closest village was about a 30-40min drive from us. It was beautiful. We camped in little ‘A’ frame huts, went for a trek to the waterfall, got back late so we tried to cook on the fire and drunk wine and beer. We all sat round putting the world to rights. It was great.
Then, back to Harare…. What a difference. Back to the Mozambique Embassy, only to be rejected for the visa I need so I decided to move on to the border and try my luck. It was a 4:30am start with a lift to the centre to catch the combi-bus. That took a few extra hours as he blew the engine up so we had to catch another one as they passed. Then a shared taxi with 7 people in it to the border. Through the border and on to another combi to a town called Chimaio. Just my luck, it was pissing it down. I popped in to a small cafe and the guy who owned it gave me some help with where I had to go next. Another Combi to a crossroads in an area called Inchobe where I would have to hitch the next 600k. The light was dropping and I was getting a tad worried I would be sleeping by the side of the road again. Finally a guy with his two daughters and baby son picked me up. We finally worked out a price, 500mzn (about £9). They were a lovely family they even fed me dinner in the car. The kids had a very small amount of English and the dad had none. My Portuguese has a lot of fine tuning to be done. I finally got to Maxixe at about 1am and the first boat across the water to where I needed to get to was 5:30, hmmm. So I found a bench to sleep on. Not a very nice bench either. So after no sleep at 5am I jumped on a rickety old boat for a very choppy ride to Inhambane. Then finally another hour long combi (called a chappa in Mozambique) to Barra. That was a hard 24 hour journey.
So I finally arrived at the dive centre. I had my own room in a read shack and I got to unpack my bag. God that felt good. I met some really good friends here, Nick and Kurt, Jezza and Caro, Chris and Annie, and of course Predi. I got on with pretty much everyone there. The diving was amazing. Better than any other diving I had ever done before. Mantas, sharks, whale sharks, stingrays, morays, frogfish, lionfish, paper fish..... The list just keeps going on and on
So I was pretty settled by now and was enjoying the work although we were getting up at 5:15am and finishing work at 4:30-5pm then a few beers, a shower, food, a few more beers and then it was time for bed. This was the general day to day routine.
Christmas day. We had all been drinking quite heavily the night before so everyone was a tad quiet first thing we had a few dives going on and then we were finished. The dive was great. I dived with Sok and my Santa hat. We all finished work and got ready for Christmas celebrations round the pool. Good food (that was a huge luxury), lots of drink and Santa. Good old Rob, an Englishman with the loudest laugh and voice for that, took that role. Everyone had to pick a name out of the hat and spend no more than 100mzn (£1.75ish) and it had to be useless. Very amusing. I got a mango stone. Yep, the stone from the inside of a mango. I think mine was the most useless. I will defiantly be doing Christmas on the beach again.
New years eve..... I don't really remember much about that one. 11 people in a car to get to Tofo. The boot wasn't the most pleasant ride. Midnight was spent on the beach with Nick and Kurt then on to a beach club where we partied till about 7am then 11 of us got back in to Richie's car to find other bars back in Barra. Everything was closed so we went back to the dive centre with a rake of beers by the pool. I finally crashed at about 10:30am. Up again at 3pm for beers at the bar (and tequila). Ooops, big mistake. The 2nd Jan was a hard day.
Barra got quiet after about the 6th when all the south Africans went back to work. We were still diving every day so I was still happy. Then a few new guys joined the team. One in particular, Tine, a beautiful girl from Belgium. The rest of that story, I will let you guess at.
Tete with no buses to Zambia and my trusty thumb was failing me. So I spent the night on a campsite and got chatting to a south African couple. They were off to Malawi the next morning. So I jumped in with them. And here I am. I have been round two city's here on my way to Zambia (tomorrow) as I will be coming back to Malawi in 3-4weeks to meet up with Tine to travel Malawi with her.
I will update again in a couple of months.
Miss you all (ish).
Ben and Sok xxx
P.s Sok is fine and says 'Hi'