12 October 2014

Dear Coco

Sorry not to have written sooner but we had no internet where we were in deepest darkest Africa. Actually we were only in Mozambique – but in a lovely deserted spot with Hudge's parents Amanda and Glen, and Belle and Roxy's parents, Jenny and Pete. Amanda and Glen have a beautiful beach house at a place called Pomene, but before we left for Mozambique we first spent a night in Johannesburg with David, Gordon and Luna in their stylish new house in Linden. You can see Luna at the door. She is like you, when she is inside, she wants to go out, and when she is out, she wants to come in.
After a super delicious supper, and a super comfy night with David, Gordon, Luna, Streak-the-cat, several hundred beaded ladybirds and some other strange creatures ...
we flew to Inhambane in Mozambique on a small aeroplane that made the Alph really happy. Amanda and Glen met us at the airport
 and we linked up with Pete and Jenny in Maxixe, did some shopping and drove (for quite a long time) to the beach house at Pomene  -  which was just the most magical place.  
It is right on a spit of land with endless empty beaches on one side, the Pomene estuary and mangroves on the other and a posh lodge behind it. We went for amazing walks that you scots would have loved – and saw lots of crabs and birds. This is a whimbrel
 We took a drive up to Pomene View Guest Lodge where we met the owners Clint and Leanne and their little girl, Lillie, and their two Fox Terriers, one of whom serves in the bar. (You can see the photo of the original fox terrier with Clint's father on the top left.)
 Looking down over the Msasa trees across the Pomene estaury from Pomene View Lodge you can see where Amanda and Glen's house is right on the furtherest edge of the spit of land.
Most mornings the boys went fishing in Glen's boat,
and the Alph caught a tuna. (Although he maintains that the fancy rods and lures caught the fish - he just reeled it in,)
Even I ventured out in the boat one fine day - past the flamingos and the sooty terns.
Sometimes people popped round to see if we wanted to buy stuff - and you can see the Alph in his beautifully loud shirt from Julia. 
We found lots of lovely shells, 
had some fabulous walks, 
explored the ruins of an old hotel that was taken over by RENAMO in the Mozambique war in the mid 1970s, 
 and bought the most delicious home baked bread from the local bakery.
I really liked the election posters which are up everywhere. This bird is the emblem of RENAMO. (There are three parties in contention - Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO), Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) and Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) and the election is on Wednesday.
Amanda had organised some fabulously fantastic meals for us. Here are Jenny, Pete, Glen, Amanda and the Alph about to consume some of the tuna the Alph had caught. 
 More wildlife on the beach - some fantastically beautiful and delicate little brittle stars - all eating a dead jellyfish.
On our last night at Pomene it was windy so we walked across to the posh Pomene Lodge for a drinkle and dinner;
I felt like I was in a fancy travel magazine. 
But all too soon we had to say goodbye to the mangroves and our flamingos,
and au revoir to "The Glen",
and hit the road. Putting air in the tyres near Massinga
with encouragement from some schoolboys who slipped through the fence of their school.
Pete's little "warthog" waiting ...
and some election fun and games.
Amanda and Glen dropped us in Maxixe, and we caught the ferry that took us across the estuary mouth
to Inhambane on the other side. Amanda and Glen were driving home and Pete and Jenny continuing their holiday in Gonarezhou and the Kruger Park.
We were picked up at the ferry by Diane Bishop from Bayview Lodge, and taken to our new accommodation at Barra Beach
where we settled into our beachfront hut very quickly.
It was not as wild and deserted as Pomene, but very very beautiful, with beaches
and fishermen in dhows,
and local residents who sell lovely things on the beach from bangles to fruit bowls (this is Lucas and "Mr Price"),
and the most amazing restaurant called the Green Turtle that offers classy, local fare, run by Joelle and her husband Francois from Montpellier in France, where we had breakfasts of omelettes and fruit salad in coconuts, and dinners of prawns and barracuda and homemade ice-cream sorbet,
and lounged around watching the world and his dog go by.
To make up for all this excess, we walked one day all the way from Barra Beach to Tofo Beach which took us two and a half hours. By the time we got to Tofo we needed those Laurentina beers!
You can see how far we walked: right from that far point all the way round to Tofo beach.
The Alph made a friend on Tofo,
and we found some more election posters on a dead casuarina tree
near the market.
They really cater for dogs here,
and even the backpackers have paintings of dogs.
We then walked back to Dino's beach bar where Dino had promised to find a friend who could take us back to the Bay View Lodge as we were too tired to walk all the way home,
and true to his word, his friend took us home on a sandy track through lots of little villages on a large quad bike.
After a last breakfast at the Green Turtle, we were taken back to the airport at Inhambane by John Bishop (he and Diane own Bayview Lodge)
where we watched the comings and goings of helicopters on election business until our plane arrived to take us home
to you,
Harv and the Lad.
It was a fabulous holiday, but also wonderful to be home again. I am glad you and Lad  behaved yourselves with Leticia and Simamkele, and I am sure you will miss having Simamkele to play with, but tomorrow I promise to take you on a nice walk with Rupert and Paddington.
love from the Food Lady.

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