Good morning and happy August!
It is absolutely freezing this morning, but the weather in general is heating up and the sun is rising earlier each morning. I love it! I even wore shorts for a bit yesterday! But right now, at 06:30 it is cold. I am currently sitting on my couch wrapped up in my favourite blanket. Hedwig is perched above my door doing her little head dance and standing on one foot. And Ryno is curled up like a fox with his tail over his nose on his big fancy bed.
Wait a second…. Ryno?
You heard (ahem, read) correct! Ryno is now in Mozambique with me!!!!! My heart is so happy in a way that I cannot even put to words. He was the missing piece to making this amazing place truly home.
This past weekend I went to Maputo and got to see the “big city.” Hugo and his lovely wife, Ily, took me in on their awesome pallet futon, we stuffed our faces with sushi (oh man have I missed sushi), and Hugo took me around town and gave me a grand tour of the place he grew up. I got to go shopping for myself for the first time in nearly five months. It is a crazy concept. But the world is crazy right now. Being properly in public during COVID times is … well, it is an experience. Masks are mandatory in Mozambique (cue the great mask debate – now giggle for a second because if you say “mask debate” out loud it sounds like “masturbate” … I promise I am an adult). Moving on… Every shop you enter, they make you hand sanitise and take your temperature. But the thing is they do not actually seem to read or care about what your temperature is. My temperature ranged from 34-36.something°C, 34 would mean I am a corpse, but the temperature-taker did not even seem to bat an eye at that, as long as he did his job of taking temperatures. I also managed to squeeze in some pampering and went and got my hair done for the first time since December, it feels so good to be a redhead again! I am so grateful to Hugo for taking me and translating too because no one at the hair salon spoke a word of English. That is another new experience for me. Every country I have lived in up to now has had English as the primary (or one of) language, in Mozambique everyone speaks Portuguese and all of the road signs and everything is in Portuguese. I do not know Portuguese. So, I was a little nervous if my hair was going to come out correct, but it came out perfect! (Also insert a shout out to Heather from Next for sending up my specific shade of red all the way from Joburg). I got to see the beaches from afar and enjoyed watching all of the flamingos, but the beaches are closed to the public due to COVID. Pubs are open but open air outside beaches are closed. Figure that one out. I also spent two nights in an AirBnB while in Maputo. Another new experience. I have always had the best of luck with AirBnBs, even the cheap ones, well my luck more or less ran out on this trip. The AirBnB itself was not so bad on the inside, but it was a small apartment shared with three other people who barely spoke English. They seemed nice though, but we more or less just kept to our own bedrooms. The area was kind of dodgy and I was a little nervous about parking my cruiser there, but all turned out okay! Just probably will not be a place I stay in again.
But the big event and the whole reason I was in Maputo – to meet up with my baby boy!!! Ryno came across the border late Sunday evening. I was so happy to see him again that I wanted to cry. Monday morning, we hit the road to home and he has been by my side ever since.
So far we this week we have driven up to the north section of Karingani twice and on the way had incredible drives – we saw elephants, a big herd of wildebeests, zebra, a stunning group of massive male kudus annnnnndddd yesterday morning on the way to photograph a management burn WE SAW A LEOPARD MAKE A KILL right in front of my cruiser!!!!!!!!! It was only the second kill I have ever seen in the bush and I was so excited about it! (Ryno slept through the whole thing). This young leopard (I am guessing male but was not able to confirm) took a male duiker right in front of me in the road and then moved off about 15 meters, but still in the open. He was pretty skittish though and after he killed the duiker he moved off into a thick bush. I knew he would come back out to eat his kill, so I stuck around and every so often I could see the leopard poking his head out to check on me, but he never wanted to come back so I decided to leave him in peace to enjoy his breakfast.
Ryno has been running with me in the evenings and it is so nice to have my running partner back. Although my little 5 km run is nothing for him since living with Kathryn who is incredible and ran marathons with him in Joburg while he was there.
At first him and Hedwig were both scared of each other, but now they have set into a hierarchy with Hedwig as definitely the more dominant one. When Ryno is eating and she decides that she too is hungry, she will fly down and start biting at his toes until he moves away and then she tries and steals his food. You would think that I never fed her for how much begging she has been doing lately, she is worse than any dog. Last night she nearly landed in my salad and then tried to steal lettuce – someone please remind her that she is a raptor that eats MEAT not salad.
But overall, I am so happy. My house is home now, I have my fur and feather children with me, work is busy in a good way and my soul just feels good being here in the bush.
I hope that wherever in the world you are reading this from that you too are happy. And you should take a moment to look around you and just find some little thing that makes you smile – a plant that you have managed to keep alive, your cat curled up in the sun, your kids running around, a project that you are working on or finished, or maybe you are sipping on an incredible cup of coffee. Just take a second to appreciate something around you. Go ahead and do it right now. You are amazing and you should know that, and I love sharing my stories with you. Thank you for reading along and just for being YOU. We live in a crazy world and in currently a really crazy time, but life is still good. Remember that.
Until next time…