Ok, I’m the first to admit it. I’ve been super spoiled. I’ve traveled everywhere and there’s not a day that I don’t reminisce and recognize how lucky I am. Here are some of the most amazing places I’ve visited:
Although I went to Mozambique to be a volunteer and expected my time there to be a great sacrifice I actually had a lot of fun. Inhambane (pronounced In-yum-bonni) is about an 8 hour bus ride from the capital, or a 45 minute plane ride from Johannasberg, South Africa. The bus ride shouldn’t take so long, but the border passing can take 3-4 hours and the roads are terrible. Sometimes we drove in the ditch along the road because that had less potholes.
I lived in the bush for 7 months with a few other volunteers. We had a little turquoise house with chickens running everywhere. Electricity was rare, and there was no running water. We used an outhouse and bucket showers. To get water, we either used the dirty rainwater well (which made me sick for a month) or walk a half mile to the well. Everyone in the community knew me, and when I’d go for walks and get lost even strangers knew where I lived, and were able to walk me home.
I went to Africa thinking I would need to be on guard all the time, but I’ve never felt safer in my life. I hitch hiked everywhere I went, something that I would never do anywhere else. I met amazing people while I was hitch hiking and even visited two different families in South Africa after they gave me a lift. When I’d tell people my reason for being in the middle of the bush (I was a volunteer teacher at a teacher training school) they’d usually buy me lunch and offer to let me use their beach house for the week. I was constantly surprised by people’s kindness and hospitality. If you don’t feel like hitch hiking you can also take a chappa but you can’t be claustrophobic or sensitive to smell.
The two beaches of Inhambane, Tofo and Barra, are insanely beautiful. It was only after I arrived that I learned these beaches are internationally renowned for the scuba diving, and people come from all over the world to see the Whale Sharks. My great regret is not taking a scuba diving lesson while I was there. It was about $500 which was my stipend for 6 months so I couldn’t justify doing it, but now that I look back that seems really cheap for a once and a lifetime experience. Oh well, you live and you learn.
The beach was along the Indian Ocean and the water was always warm. The sand was soft and white and on most days I was the only person for miles. One of my fondest memories was running along the beach at sunrise with my friend, Pricila. The colors of the sky reflected on the wet sand and it felt like we were standing inside a rainbow.
During the busy season there were 200-300 people tops. It was mostly Australians, South Africans, Germans and Swiss. Since the area was pretty small everyone got to know each other really fast and it always felt like a giant party with all your friends.
The city of Inhambane was an hour long drive from the beach. Again it could be faster but the pot holes are so bad. This is where I’d go everyday to pick up fresh fruits and vegetables. At the time I was reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma and I realized that all you need to do to escape poor health is not live in a developed country. The food was really fresh and healthy there.
Inhambane city was adorable. Mozambique is a former Portuguese colony (they speak Portuguese, if you were wondering), and you can really see the influence in the architectural features of this city. The building’s were all bright colors, and there were blue and white tiles everywhere. When I visited town, I felt like I could be anywhere in the world. the restaurants were delicious, the Indian ocean was always in view, the people were friendly, and the market place was exciting and unique.
My favorite part of living in Mozambique was having three distinctly different lifestyles; The cosmopolitan city life, the modest rural life, and the fun nightlife of the beach. Inhambane is definitely a place to visit.
If you’re on a budget rent a bungalow on the beach at Fatima’s. It’s only about $10 a day. If you want real luxury, stay at Flamingo Bay (that’s where I took the header picture for my blog). It cost about $500 a night but your hut is on stilts in the water and when you wake up you’re surrounded by millions of flamingos. Don’t miss the full moon party at Dino’s. Verdino’s and Sem Ceremonia are excellent restaurants in the city. And don’t forget to drink a 2M beer!
The rest of the top 10 list:Nicaragua The Catskills Portugal St. Petersburg Nepal Israel Vieques Turkey