Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The final months

It's been a while...

After saying goodbye to Ashlea and Riaz, April and May were a blur of annual reports, semi-annual reports, quarterly reports, strategic plans, strategic reviews, budget papers, and life in Pemba revolved more around Pemba than travelling outside of Pemba.  Now that I'm back home in Canada (and preparing for my Masters of Global Public Health in Vancouver in a couple months), I can look back at the last few months.

Luckily, scattered within these busy months, there were still weekends, a trip to the big city, birthday parties, engagement parties, boat parties, and the inescapable farewell parties.  My birthday turned into a weeklong extravaganza with a beautiful surprise dinner (thanks Sarah!) and mammoth princess cake (thanks Luis!), a weekend getaway to Bush Camp with an upgrade to the honeymoon chalet, and melted into Sarah's birthday where we celebrated her birth with a boat trip and classic Wimbe beach party.  One of the best birthdays yet, all thanks to the lovely people around me...
Surprise birthday dinner - tableclothes and fresh flowers in Pemba?!
The mastermind behind the birthday dinner (and fellow Taurus)
Part of the birthday crowd
Princess cake (obrigdada Luis)

Edna and I are the exact same age,
born on the exact same day, only continents away
The Starlet on our way to Bush Camp
The beginning of the Bush Camp birthday weekend
Beach bonfire under the moon and stars
The weekend's chef and his FIRE

Our professional volleyball game (that got crashed by a handful of random men)
Another big meal

Not a bad way to ring in 26

Then we moved to another Taurus celebration with a boat trip to welcome Sarah to another year. What started as a calm and beautiful ride out to a beach across the bay to snorkel, swim, and picnic on a private cove ended with giant waves, gusting winds, soaking cold bodies, and me devising strategies about how the 9 of us (plus 2 dogs and 3 coolers) could swim to shore.  Then we moved to a classic Wimbe beach party complete with tiki torches, matapa, DJ booth, and dancing in the sand.
Lounging in the private lagoon

Our trusty ship and captain

The (seemingly calm) journey home begins
Still calm
Winds picking up and the dogs begin to hide under the coolers
And finally home!

 Everyone said, "You must go to Maputo before you leave."  And I didn't think I would have time or the opportunity, but luckily Luis and I made the 2 1/2 hour flight due south to the capital of Mozambique for a taste of the big city just before I left!  With advice from Sarah and the insider knowledge of Luis, we packed the long weekend with lots of walking to the Franco Mocambicano Cultural Centre, the National Art Gallery, Mercado do Peixe, a movie and popcorn (!), Jardim dos Namorados, the Polana Hotel,  meeting more of Luis's family, and a full driving tour of the whole city and seaside.  And after being in Pemba, I stuffed myself with sushi, blue cheese, Thai red curry, gelato, and beer on tap!  It is a beautiful and vibrant city and I could have stayed a lot longer!

The gardens and courtyard in the Franco Mocambicano Cultural Centre
The garden was full of sculptures made from the
recycled metal of weapons used during the wars

Behind the white truck is a wheelbarrow OVERFLOWING with perfect tropical fruit
Luis's first tastes of sushi (and a chopstick natural)
Sushi moved into the famous Mundo's and Laurentina beer on tap
The swanky Polana Hotel (and the most expensive orange juice I've ever had)

We belong here
Entering the famous Mercado do Peixe (Fish Market)

You enter the busy market and order your fish and shellfish.
From there, you give it one of the little stands where they prepare it how you want
and add sides like rice, xima (maize meal pap), and salad.

The port
The national football team of Mozambique and our jerseys from Maputo

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