Barra Lodge…

…welcomed us with pouring rain!

We boarded the Zodiac rubber ducks about an hour after breakfast – the sun was still gloriously high in the sky.  Mom was extremely nervous about the 12 minute journey from the ship to the beach, but her fears were soon allayed once she was seated and safely dressed in her life jacket.

Dad and Uncle Barry sat next to each other, on the outer edge of the boat.

We set foot off the Zodiac when I, along with my bag, containing my entire life, got knocked over by a wave.  I was suitably drenched, but fortunately the camera was dry and the rest of the stuff inside was only slightly damp.

As we started heading up to the Lodge, it started to rain…

but it didn’t dampen our spirits – we swam in the rain.  The ocean’s temperature was like tepid bathwater.  If the water in Mossel Bay was like that, I would swim eveyr single day of my life.

As most of the excursions had been sold out by the time we decided we were going ashore, we were left with only two options – a Village Walk (thank goodness we passed on it, because we would have got even more soaked!) or a bus trip into the town of Inhambane.  We opted for the latter, which was a three-hour round trip, with some interesting things learned along the way.

One thing that struck me during the trip was that there wasn’t one single pothole on the road from Barra Lodge to Inhambane – definitely better than South Africa.

Our guide was a local gent called Lino

who told us many interesting facts about Inhambane.  Along the road, he stopped the bus and fought with a tree until he got this off.  It is a Cashew fruit – with the renowned nut on the top.  However the nut is not edible like this, it must be roasted first.  The fruit is used in the fermentation of local “hot stuff” (beer).

From there we made our way through the rural villages

When we eventually got to the town of Inhambane, we stopped at a local museu (yes, it’s spelt like that there), where we saw some interesting things, like the popular dhows that are used for fishing, an olden-day beehive and a “hot stuff” still:

We stopped at two churches, but the rain had caught up with us again, so we did not get off the bus.  We also stopped at a statue of Vasco da Gama – there is a statue of him in our local museum too.

Our last stop on the tour was at a local market.  Not wishing to be mobbed by vendors again as I had in Maputo, I opted again to stay on the bus with Mom.  Aunty Carol, Uncle Barry and Dad got off, but they weren’t gone too long – apparently the smell of the fresh fish was a little too much to handle.

From there we headed back to the lodge, where we caught a Zodiac back to the ship.  This time I managed to stay dry!

Upon getting onto the gangway, I was greeted by a friendly face – that of Chief Engineer Guiseppe Balzano, who asked me to join him for a drink after midnight at the Pasha Disco Club.  I told him I would see if I could make it as I knew there was a serious party planned on board as it was Tropical-Carnival night, but…more about that and the cabaret at a later stage (probably Sunday) as I have to get ready for a G.N.O with Elizabeth and her sisters.

Have a great weekend everyone!

The Roadtrip…

…to Bloemfontein for the first leg of our two day trek to Durban to board the MSC Sinfonia started with us locked and loaded into the car a touch after six in the morning.  The air was filled with palpable excitement. 

Our first stop en-route was just outside Willowmore, where we had breakfast under the trees (in very cold, windy conditions).  After that it was a mandatory refuelling stop in Graaff-Reinet for not only the car, but us – we run on Wimpy coffee.  I wasn’t really hungry so I opted for a cream cheese and carrot muffin which was very yummy.  Mom and Aunty Carol weren’t so lucky with their bran ones, which tasted like what I imagine dog biscuits to taste like.

From there we hit the road to Bloem where we stayed at a delightful place called Blueberry Hill.  The host, Alta makes your stay a home-away-from-home.  The entire house is at the disposal of the guests and can sleep up to 9 people.  It is comfortable, clean, fully equipped and above all, reasonably priced.  We will definitely stay there again when we go up North.

After a quick unpacking session, and a welcome cup of tea on the verandah…

we headed off to the Windmill Casino – needless to say, it was a waste of our time and money.  We weren’t even there for two hours when we headed back.  I had a shower and got into bed.  I was so exhausted, I don’t even remember putting the light off…