Thursday, December 28, 2006

Mozambique, here we come!

6 girls, 2 trucks, and 2 full days of driving got us to a place we like to call "real Africa." For Christmas holiday this year we decided to take a trip to the east coast of Africa to the country of Mozambique. Here are just a few pics from the journey. Sometimes the roads were good and sometimes there was no road...

Many African women carry just about everything on their heads - here it's just water, but you can imagine how strong their necks and backs must be.

Now here's something we had never seen in beginners Africa (Botswana) - a whole herd of goats on top of a semi! How crazy is that?

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One morning we got up early to see the sun rise over the Indian Ocean. Considering we got up at 4:30 and it rose at around 5:00, you better believe we all went right back to bed.

Fishing is a big part of life for Mozambicans hence the large number of sailboats that you can barely see on the ocean.

We decided to be ambitious and make some homemade seafood dishes. Here's Crystal, Shawna, Emily, and Kelly shelling crabs for our crab casserole.
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L to R: Shawna, Crystal, Emily, me, Kelly, and Stacie. Where we are standing is currently dry land, but at certain times during the day is completely covered in water. The difference in high tide and low tide is astounding, but the water is extremely shallow.

Botswana meets Mozambique...

De-pooping prawns for our next seafood dish - absolutely discusting
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Christmas Day

This year we opted for a bit of an unconventional celebration...we went snorkeling on the 2 mile reef off the coast. On our way out there, we saw several dolphins but only a few came as close as these did to our boat

Some of the islands that make up the Bazaruto Archipelago

Emily and I getting ready for our little adventure

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That's definately my finger covering half the lens...oops

Christmas Dinner

After a long day in the sun, we decided to forego our initial plans of cooking lobster for ourselves and go out for a nice meal. It was definately an upgrade from last year!
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Tofu Beach

After spending 5 nights in a posh house, we made our way back down the coast and stayed overnight at a place we affectionately called the crap shack. I'm sure you can see why. The short time in Tofu Beach was possibly the hottest I've ever been in my life!
But we did have a nice beach front view
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Surfs up!

Shawna, Crystal and I decided to try our hand at surfing. The day we went the waves were rough, but we had a good time wiping out (some of us more than others)

Watching with anticipation as our instructor showed us how it was done

Patiently waiting for a good wave

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Wipe out!

But not quite. This happened more times than I care to admit!
Nice to know all those years of gymnastics did absolutely nothing for my balance ;)
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Traditional Mozambican homes made from reeds and palm
Palm trees

Goats on a leash

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana

On our first evening driving around we saw a leopard!!! Pretty sure this cat crossed the dirt road right in front of our truck and walked off into the bush. I think we were all in shock for the next few hours. It's really rare to see leopards in general, but more especially rare to see them while it's still light out.
Another rare thing to see in the daylight is a spotted hyena. We had one of these come into our campsite after we had gone to bed, which is fairly common, but to see one in broad daylight, wow, definately a treat.

Day 2, morning drive...we came around the bend in the road and this was who greeted us
We followed this female lioness for about 1.5 km - she seemed completely unconcerned that we were right on her tail, literally.

These hippos were pretty well aware of our presence the whole time we sat there watching them. There were many more hippos in the water, I just couldn't fit them all in the picture!
This pic was actually taken when I was standing on a bridge and the hippo was about 30 feet from me

What is it with me and elephants? We watched this herd emerge from the trees and completely surround our truck. Stacie and I were sitting on a bench above the cab of the truck watching all this happen starting to get a little nervous since there were elephants blocking our road...
in front...

and behind.

At one point some of the males got a little angy with each other and we thought they might charge our vehicle, but they were just letting off a little male aggression

Now here's something you don't see every day. Really, they're not frequently seen. This is a honey badger carrying it's baby in its mouth. They're not particularly nice creatures, actually they're pretty vicious.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Botswana traditional baskets

One of the few things that are made here in Botswana are these baskets.
It's a very intricate and long process, believe me I've tried, but if done well can produce something very beautiful. The design on every basket has a meaning. The design on this particular basket is the "urine trail of the bull."
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