It’s a tough life

But someone’s gotta do it!

Rather good timing on my part I think but I just so happened to arrive in Mozambique just before a national holiday. I had a few days of work then we had a long weekend off. My new colleagues were taking the opportunity to escape the city and offered me a spot in the car.

Never one to turn down an invite to be by the sea I accepted. And my word I was glad I did!

Think of the most cliched beach house you can imagine…white washed walls, a stones throw from a white sand beach, big veranda for sunset drinks etc etc. That was pretty much where I spent my weekend.

I have to say, the South Africans really know how to live the dream. This is the view from my bed!

I had to be reminded to close my mouth as I stood gawping at this place we were staying in. The family who owned this place should be on one of these housey TV programmes…..it was just…well – fabulous daaarling!!

Apart from the 1 day I managed to motivate myself to run along the beach (with a beach like this it was fairly easy!) I pretty much spent my days reading, swimming and indulging in monster barbeque sessions…I had lots of burger babies that weekend I can tell you. There ended up quite a group going…friends of friends of friends…so one of the days the whole group met up for lunch.

I have to say I felt exceedingly multi-cultural at one point sitting there speaking rusty spanish to one of the guys while his portuguese girlfriend sat next to us speaking english to one of my colleagues and a couple of South Africans were having a broken dutch-english chat with a couple from Holland!

I don’t think there was a common language between us – it was brilliant!!

           

Weekend over it was back to the grindstone (well something like that!) but what a great intro to life in Mozambique….I think I’m going to rather like it here!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GORGEOUS GIRL!!!!

So little Lulu…1 year old…A HUGE HAPPY BIRTHDAY from me!

Sad to miss the party and even sadder to miss out on some rather tasty looking birthday cake (nice bit of baking there sis!)

But the birthday girl looks like she had a great time with her shiny new climbing frame curtesy of grandma and grandad!

Me..? Deep end..? Never!!!

No pictures with this post – but quite a funny story!

This is going to be one heck of a rollercoaster ride of a learning curve! Yet again!

I reckon one of the best ways to learn your lessons is by your mistakes…but how I managed quite so many within the space of 2 hours of being on the African continent is still bemusing me.

I wouldn’t mind but I hadn’t even managed to leave Johannesburg airport!!

Lessons so far…number 1 – pick very carefully who to ask for help….number 2 – learn to love paperwork….number 3 – everything is going to take a long old time out here!

Arrived in departure lounge of J’burg airport, already checked in via Heathrow so look for fast (ha!) bag drop, don’t see it so think ah-ha I will ask someone….

No No No, 1st mistake!

Before you check in your bag you have to weigh it on random weighing scale miles away from check in. Bags weigh 25 kg, lots of tutting and sighing…”problem madam” they tell me, I’m only allowed 20 kg apparently, I thought 30, no apparently its 20.

So off to another desk to pay excess baggage. Lots of paper shuffling and calculator tapping later I am slightly less well off but have my required slip of paper.

Back to the weigh-in lady who has been replaced by a different lady who informs me in a bemused manner that I AM in fact allowed 30 kg. So, yes you guessed it, more paperwork as I slowly work through another paperwork exercise to organise a refund – I’ll tell you 6 weeks time when (or if!) I get my money back!

Having quickly learnt the lesson that if you just do what you think MIGHT be the right thing to do …or actually if you just attempt something confidently enough…someone will eventually stop you if you’re doing it wrong.

Thoroughly bored by bureaucracy by this point I make the ‘executive decision’ to bypass economy check in, bypass business class check in and instead approach first class! Lo and behold it works!

Sadly didn’t get a 1st class seat but did get checked in immediately, got given a brand new boarding pass even though I already had one (because apparently, in check-in man’s own words – my first one looked a little ‘tired’!) and was sent on my way.

Right now onto passport control – oh Lord help me!

Last lesson of the day – never, I repeat NEVER board an african flight last! You thought Ryanair was bad…you aint seen nothin’

I though one passenger one bag…oh how naive I am! Apparently elaborately wrapped cardboard boxes, musical instruments and chicken coops fall outwith that rule!

Lesson learnt – board last, sit with your bag on your knees for the flight!

AFRICAAAAAA !!!

Well it appears my work in Cambodia is done! Or so the powers that be seem to think.

After my 3 action packed months there the big bosses back at HQ have in their wisdom decided its time for their baby bird bootcampers to be booted out of the nest to see if we can fly solo!

and so…much to my delight…into Africa I venture!

As of tomorrow I will be living in Mozambique!

So what was meant to be 2 glorious weeks of leave with time to climb some Scottish hills (Cambodia is a beautiful country but very flat!) and hang out with much missed friends and family, with all the fun of the last minute Georgia drive it has ended up being flying visits around the UK.

Although I did manage to sneak in a quick climb of Arthurs Seat in Edinburgh – pretty much always my first port of call on a visit to Old Reekie!

A place with memories of many a momentus occasion…and a seriously great place to make those ‘what to do with your life’ decisions!

Even this blog entry was part-composed up top as I sat perched on a rock with the entire summit to myself – a rare treat…thanks to the thick fog and rain so not offering much of a view to the intrepid tourist!

Normally you can see the entire city laid out in front of you – Holyrood Palace, the Royal Mile snaking up to the doorstep of the Castle, ‘Edinburgh Shame’ on top of Carlton Hill, all the way down to Leith and out onto the open water across to Fife.

It even has a very authentic ruin halfway up!

However its now time to descend yet again on my long suffering parents for the usual whirlwind chaos of washing machine on repeat and heating on full blast to wash my pants and re pack my kit before I head back to the airport.

So…Mozambique I hear you say – where exactly is that? (Mother darling tells me my job – although not so good for her blood pressure – is doing her geography the world of good!).

Mozambique is southern Africa…above South Africa, next to Zimbabwe.

And I have to admit I’m feeling pretty darn smug right now – with a coast line pretty much the length of the UK, latino language the mother tongue (ok so it’s Portuguese rather than Spanish but hey! how different can they really be?!) and seafood apparently the staple diet.

And did I mention that I hear the scuba diving is to die for….although naturally I will working extremely hard and will of course have no time at all for such frivolous fun!!

It looks to be a journey and a half to get out there though…via Manchester, via London, via Johannesburg and into Mozambique…and I’ve just been informed British Airways has decided to cancel the first leg…so my next blog MIGHT be from Africa…watch this space!!