Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Breakfast. The culinary highlight of the day.
(Photo by Paul Larkin)

Turkey Bowl with a coconut.
(Photo by Paul Larkin)

Team Mohundro.

Short-shorts equipped with Team Mohundro buttons.

A visitor in our bunkhouse.
Perhaps, he was training for "Open Air" certification.

Team Mohundro suited up and ready to go.
(Photo by Drew Murray)

Certified Open Water SCUBA Diver!
(Photo by Paul Larkin)

Team Mohundro with Diving Instructor Drew and Assistant Sebastian.

Found art in Maputo.

Found art in Inhamussua.
Notice the mustache on the condom.

During Thanksgiving weekend Chase, Paul, and I did our Open Water Dive certification at Barra Beach. Thanksgiving was hardly the festival it was last year. We had granola from Marie Katrib's in Grand Rapis, MI with bananas for breakfast, eggs and toast with mangoes for lunch, and beans and rice for dinner. The rest of the week was packed with aquatic life including painted anglerfish, crocodile fish, trigger fish, lion fish, porcupine fish, oriental sweetlips, juvenile sweetlips, Solander's toby fish, shrimp, blue spotted rays, undelated moral eel, marbled octopus, white-tip reef shark, and a manta ray. Apparently, Team Mohundro is the luckiest (talented and good-looking) groups ever because we saw a shark and a manta ray during our four day training. Hopefully, this sort of team work, or team luck, will carry over to our journey up to Tanzania next week.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My mother graciously arrived in Mozambique.

And, enjoyed Mozambique's notorious public transportation.

We went to Namaacha where I spent my first ten weeks.

She met my host family and ate beans and rice.

She found pumice stones and seashells on Morungulo Beach.

She drove on the left side of the road.

She treated me and my friends to a few nights at Barra Beach.

We walked the docks at Flamingo Bay. (Photo by Paul Larkin)

And watched the sunset over and infinite pool. (Photo by Paul Larkin)

Paul made the first the first attempt to climb the palm.
(Photo by Chase Nye)

Chase admirably matched Paul's conquest. (Photo by Paul Larkin)

I demonstrated to these mountaineers what climbing really looks like.
(Photo by Paul Larkin)

My mother posing over the marsh in Mutamba.

My mother and I using one of the more common forms of transportation.

The bus that would take 15 hours to go 407 km (252 miles).
(Photo by Paul Larkin)

My mother eating sugar cane. Paul posing.

My mom trying fresh coconut. (Photo by Paul Larkin)

Posing outside of the Catholic church in Maputo. (Photo by Ali P. Gross)

My mother praying...for strength to put up with me.

Ali leaving Judaism.

The altar.

Mkhaya Game Reserve in Swaziland.

My mother taking the steer by the horns.

The game reserve after my mother got done with it.

A welcoming warthog.

A tucking trapping tortoise being held by Thulani.

An very dangerous, baby black snake on Paul's hand.

A knowledgeable nhala.

A windy-horned brazing buck posing in front of a tree.

The endangered sabel antelope.

A herd of water buffalo.

Hungry hippopotami and a crocodile in the back.

A lonely zebra.

Zebras getting their stripe on.

King G, for giraffe.

Posing his neck off.

The queen and prince.

King G and his kingdom.


A dirty rhinoceros.

Intimidating a rhinoceros is as easy as it looks. (Photo by Paul Larkin)

My mother turning her back on the rhinoceros.

An elephant.

Our room at Mhkaya.

Ratação. Literally "ratation." I like to think they are "Rats of Unusual Size."

A street market in Maputo. (Photo by Paul Larkin)

My mom hitting the water bottle at the end of her African Experience.

A fond farewell.

Getting close to elephants.

This November my mom arrived in Mozambique appropriately on Maputo Day. This was a Monday. The following morning we got up bright and early and took the public transportation, better know as "chapas", to the lower side of Maputo and the to Namaacha. We walked some of the same roads I frequented during my training here in Mozambique, then she met my host-mother and relatives. As we were leaving Namaacha, we ran into my host-father then returned to Maputo. The next day we were up at 4 am and on our way to Massinga, where we check out the school, the new bakery, and briefly explored the market. Thursday we went to Morungulo, a secluded beach about 20 minutes northwest of Massinga. We quickly toured the rural village of Inhamussua on Friday as we were picking up Paul and Chase then we made a dash for Barra Beach near Inhambane City. After a couple days on the beach we headed back to Massinga with Paul down to Maputo to see a few tourist sites and arrange an opportunity to see some wildlife. The bus ride took a grueling 15 hours to go 407 km. That is 252 miles, with an average of 16.8 mph! We ended up taking a tiny little KIA Picanto to Swaziland and had a wonderful time nearly getting stuck in mud and observing three of the big five game animals (the big five are buffalo, rhinos, elephant, leopards and lions). By the time our wild life tour was over with, it was already Thursday. So, we did some last minute shopping, ate some good Indian food, and, Friday afternoon my mother was on her plane back home. I feel like I am always saying something along these lines, but, those 11 days were the busiest 11 days of my life-packed with great food, emotions, friends, family, school, animals, beaches, city life, countries et cetera. It was really good to touch base with home and see my mother.