Nelson Mandela Square.
This is Tuesday afternoon. I am currently lounging on the outdoor terrace of my hotelâ€”the Holiday Inn Maputo. It is one of the few better hotels that sit right on the beach. Writing this journal is difficult, because I am constantly being distracted by the beautiful beach sprawled out before me. Maputo is a very poor city, though you would never know it from this viewpoint.
This morning we had more orientation meetings, but the rest of the day is now free time. I will be traveling to Manhica in the morning, which is about 65 miles to the north of Maputo. There I will be assisting with a team who are setting up equipment at two different locations. I will most likely spend a night and 2 full days there before traveling further north and westâ€¦close to the Limpopo National Park.
Iâ€™m excited about spending time in this area because of the wildlife! It will be like a safari while I'm there, which is for roughly two weeksâ€¦nothing definite on where I go after that, but most likely back here to Maputo.
The staircase in the Palazzo
Yesterday was spent in orientation, meetings, doing a small tour of Maputo, and getting acquainted with everyone. I will elaborate more on Maputo in my next entry, but right now let me briefly tell you about our time in Johannesburgâ€¦
After meeting four of my co-volunteers at the airport (Julie, Marcy, Lydia, and Raquel) on Saturday, we were taken to the Palazzo Montecasino Hotel. This hotel used to be the InterContinental, a 5-star hotel.
Iâ€™ve supplied some pictures, and even thought the pictures are nice, it just doesnâ€™t do this place justice. I absolutely fell in love with it! And the service was top-notch. The four girls and I had supper at the Mideo restaurant in the hotelâ€¦the others who were coming from Port Elisabeth wouldnâ€™t be arriving until 8:00. They actually didnâ€™t make it until 9:00.
A golf club!
Once the new arrivals (Rita, Jason, Travis, and Violet) checked into their rooms, we were off to Katzyâ€™sâ€¦ Katzy's is considered one of the worldâ€™s best bars. It is a New York-style cigar bar and is perfect for that pre-dinner cocktail or post-dinner cigar. The bar specializes in whiskeys, cognacs and cigars. But they did have all the other familiar drinksâ€¦including Grey Goose, Queen CW!! Haha! Though the action was fairly laid-back when we first arrived, it did get rowdy later on when the ties came off and the drinks started to flow.
Live music started up at about 11 and the dancing got into full swing on the dance floor. Half of us ended up leaving about 3 in the morningâ€¦not because we wanted to, but because we had a tour that started at 8:30 AM.
A roadside surgery shop! It looks busy, too.
And Sunday morning came soon enough! We were up at 7:00, had a quick breakfast at the hotel, and then were off on our tour. The tour group included Rita, Lydia, Travis, Raquel, and me. The tour was compliments of one of Travisâ€™ friends who lives in Johannesburg. One day is just not enough to see everything, obviously, but we crammed about as much as you can into 8 hours. I will update this entry with more details on the places we visited (including Ellis Park), but time is of the essence right now because I am supposed to be leaving in about 10 minutes with some of the others to explore a little of the beachâ€¦.
and the beaches here are to die for!!!
The balloon at the Palazzo.
We were back at the Palazzo hotel by 5:00 PM, with just enough time to load our bags and return to the airport for our flight to Maputo. We also met two more people (Karyn and Ellie) at Tambo International who would be working with us in Mozambique. We departed shortly after 8:00. Johannesburg was a great city, and I was most certainly sad to leave it behind! I will be back, though.
**I'm going to upload as many pics as I can before I have to leave...but there will definitely be more**