Monday, February 19, 2007

Back From The Beach

Righto folks, you can all breath a sigh of relief, I'm back :)
So, the Holiday in Moz ... where to begin? It's almost hard to remember back that far.

I will tell you up front however that this is a tricky post to write .. mostly because i've never been bothered by who reads my blog, but now I may start having to be careful so as to not ruffle feathers. But, in my usual way, I still can't help being bluntly honest about things. Most people who know me have figured this out and appreciate it (hey, Sal ;) ). So sorry in advance, but this here is my space and these are my thoughts. If you don't like 'em, you don't have to pop by and read them.

So the trip started with Varen and I over-catering, as usual, Or so we thought. We actually hit it pretty spot on. Then way back on Saturday morning we woke early and hit the road by 3am. He let me sleep a little and the drive was fairly uneventful ... until we hit the Moz border around 8:30. Now the border gates only open at 8am so we thought we were being very clever getting there early and all. Obviously everyone else is also aware of this trick as we queued in the car for about an hour and eventually got stamped into Mozambique about 2 hours after we'd first hit the lengthy queues. Yay, more stamps in the passport! So off we go. This is where the story becomes most unpleasant.

We're pretty nervous driving around a foreign country, trying to obey all the laws and keep to their low speed limits. Then we get pulled over by a guy who says he's police. We obey, naturally. Since he can hardly speak English and the threat of a Mozambiquan prison is worse than one back home, I'm quite sure. He takes Varen's driver's license & passport ... he'd asked for it, so we'd obediently obliged with a smile. Stupid us. Now he has our official documents and the bribery begins.

It turned out later that the guy wasn't even really a police man, just some local pulling a con on the innocent people driving a GP car and their Rands. We found this out the hard way because a while later we were pulled over by the real police for speeding and given an actual fine (receipt and all!). Which was fair enough because it gets a little tiresome being over-taken by speeding buses, with trailers even. Worst of all, the Moz cops weren't bothering to stop these locals driving at light speeds, I guess they already know they can't afford the fines, so rather make some money off the foreigners ;)

So here are our hard earned lessons for those of you thinking of driving across the borders into our neighbouring countries some day: Keep lots of certified photocopies of all your official documents (drivers & passports) handy. And when some official looking local asks for them, hand these over instead. They're certainly not worth the bribe to get them back ;)

So the drive to Tofo was not fabulous and I guess I'm sort of grateful that Varen didn't just swing the car round and head back home during that trip.

We met the others at the Albatroz in Tofo, they'd driven down on the Wednesday before us for a few extra dives. Albatroz was a nice spot to stay. We had a 6-sleeper self-catering hut. The owner was pretty visible and an all-round nice guy and their food was good too. I'd go back. Although the stairs to & from the beach did get a little exhausting on your third or fourth time back up during the day, but hey you probably need the exercise ;)

All in all, it was Varen & I, another couple and a brother-sister pair). It made for interesting times. I'm always nervous of traveling with friends for more than just a weekend away. People tend to have different expectations of their holiday and this was no different. I'm not sure if it just came down to the fact that we generally wanted to do different things (like swim in the sea ... odd, I know!) but the holiday was spent in a bizarrely segregated fashion. We actually all ate together only once on the entire trip. Admittedly there were nights that we braaied "together", but they organised the food for the four of them and we organised ours. Perhaps it's a matter of catering, we joined later and brought our own supplies, but we'd bought in bulk, expecting some overlap.

That was such a truly bizarre aspect of our trip, i cannot fully explain it. Maybe it's because I'm from Cape Town and we swim there even tho it's freezing and because Varen was there with me, but we were the only two who swam in Moz's beatifully warm ocean the entire holiday (that I know of). Excluding any swimming that may have taken place during the diving, which by it's nature forces the person to be emersed in the actual sea water. Bizarre.

And then there was all the free time when not diving. Admittedly all I brought to pass the time were books (5 to be truthful! But one was Spud! and that was only because Varen had started it). Between the four of them, there was one book. One fiction book, there was another with pictures of the fish we were hoping to see). Okay, so they're not big readers. They brought backgammon (which I've now learnt and is actually quite fun - Varen & I are fairly well matched) and cards. During the entire trip the six of us only ever played one game that included everyone. They managed to teach each other bridge, a delightful card game for four. Varen and I did eventually get a chance to pick up the rules and catch the occasional game, but I think you get the picture.

Hey, and in all fairness, maybe they thought we just wanted to do stuff on our own? We did two drives into Inhambane and were regularly reading in bed in the afternoons - I prefer reading lying down than sitting, I guess cause it's easier to get & stay comfortable ... I read for lengthy periods of time, which is why bath-time is perfect for reading ;)

So from that perspective along with all the ups & downs Varen & I had, it wasn't the best holiday I've had, although it was truly relaxing and I loved being in Tofo. The diving was fun ... even tho we only managed to dive 3 times. The wind really picked up on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday we suffered thru a lengthy, choppy boat ride (my worst!) and eventually managed to get down to the bottom for about 3 mins when the DM called Time. The bottom was so churned we'd landed in an underwater sand-storm! Wednesday they didn't even bother launching our boat. Anyway, for those of you who've been, we managed to hit Mike's Cupboard, Giant's Castle & Manta Reef. I saw Giant Manta Rays and a Guitarfish for the first time and 2 turtles (my fav!). The rest of the sea life was spectacular, but those were my highlights ;)

And I missed Bean a lot on this trip. It sounds weird, but that's how it was. Not in a "I want to get back together with him" kind of way. Just because I think it was a fairly long holiday to have with Varen so early in the relationship. Bean and I knew each other, well. We had established boundaries and we understood each other ... out of time and habit, whatever. I missed that. I missed that understanding you share with someone after so long. I miss that comfort of having someone know you that well. Varen and I took a bit of a knock this holiday. It was a learning curve, for us both, I'm sure. But, as I said to him on the drive home, I'm not entirely sure yet what I learnt. Also, I'd only ever dived with Bean before, we'd also been to Ponta do Ouro together and let's face it, anyone who's been to both can surely see the similarities. And on the drive there & back we passed places we'd been. It was heart-wrenching. And I was sad. But I couldn't be sad and I couldn't properly explain my sadness. Even now I'm not sure I understand it completely. But I'm sad for Bean, for my loss. I think the holiday highlighted things, aspects of his personality that I lost when I gave him up, things that Varen isn't. But, I keep reminding myself, there are things that Bean wasn't, that Varen is, that I'm learning about and that's how I got here. I guess the trick is figuring out what you need and what you want and what is forgivable and aiming for that.

We got back on Saturday after another long drive (with no un-scheduled stops, thankfully!) and I was grateful for the Sunday at home to be back in my own space and get some of those post-holiday admin things out of the way (washing, fetching post, cleaning the fish bowl etc.). And I'm looking forward to a little space this week.

Had a fabulous sushi lunch with Loulou on Sunday. Was great to see her again :) And now it is back into the swing of things at work ... Time to wade thru my emails and try to remember what exactly it is I do for a living.

Ps. Happy Birthday Mom! Your pressie will be hand delivered next weekend ;)


Anonymous said...

Perhaps if you stopped pining for Bean and instead focused your energies on your relationship with Varen, you'd be surprised where your relationship would go...

Perhaps you haven't really let Bean go though...

phillygirl said...

I'm not pining for Bean, I take offense. I fully agree, and am aware, that I'm not over him. But I think I'd be a little worried about myself as a person if I could get over someone who I was with, and lived with even, for over 2 years in 2 months.

I think the problem comes in when trying to develop a new relationship when you're not over the previous bloke. I imagine it's hard for anyone who tries to do it. And I'm not sure it's the best way of doing things ... but life sometimes presents you with situations that you cannot avoid. I couldn't have put off this thing with Varen till I had finished grieving over the loss of Bean, we tried ... it lasted a few days.

Oh well, I'm sure we'll figure things out eventually :)

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