Thursday, August 14, 2008

Boys on a plane

On Saturday we are leaving for our holidays. Four weeks of fun, family and friends. Oh, and lots of flights. 8 in fact.

First stop is Johannesburg (2 and a half hours), where we'll be staying with the lovely family who made friends with Joaquim and me during our 6-week stay in Milpark hospital and made us feel human again. Joaquim is besides himself with anticipation at being reunited with his "best, best friend", 10 year-old Mekyla. Sebastian is unaware that anything is up. I'm wondering just how chilly it will be (it's mid-winter here, down South) as I have no closed shoes and can just about remember what it feels like to have cold feet.

Then we'll be stopping-off in London (10 hours) for three days, followed by a week in the Alps in France (2 hours), another brief stop in London (2 hours) and ten days in Portugal (2 hours) before flying back to Pemba via London (2 hours) and Joburg (10 hours plus 2 and a half hours). That makes 33 - count them - hours in a plane with two children under 5. (I wanted to take the train to the Alps but our tickets would have come to almost 1 grand, and on Ryanair they cost 280 quid. That's how easy it is to take the environmental option.) Much as I am ardently looking forward to the holidays, in fact Joaquim and I have been crossing the days off the calendar for getting on for 2 months now, this prospect is slightly scary. I have plasticine. I will take a couple of books. I will buy some cartons of juice. Our portable DVD player is - alas - broken. I'm a bit wary of sedating them as Joaquim is unbelievably heavy to carry. Any winning tips?

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Kite surfing in paradise

We have just had a fantastic week-end. Our good friends Carlo and Suzanna, owner-managers of the beautiful Il Pirata and Pirate Kites in Murrebue, hosted the Pemba Open: Mozambique's first ever kite-surfing competition. Anyone who knows me will be able to confirm that I am not an avid sports fan. I just about do World Cup footie and the opening ceremony of the Olympics. But this was different: 18 kiters from Pemba, Maputo, France and South Africa, a beautiful beach, an enthusiastic crowd, and - on Sunday at least - perfect conditions: 20 notts of windpower and a bright blue sky to set off the colourful kites. There were high jumps, long jumps, fancy tricks, spectacular wipe-outs, speed, foam and lots of laughs. The deserving freestyle winner was a local friend's cousin on holiday, but the Pemba crew did themselves justice by winning the course race, the "king of the air" (most time in the air) and heading up the "loosers' group" in freestyle. It was all very good-natured and loads of fun for competitors and spectators alike. Even the boys, when not playing with the gang of feral kids who roamed around to their hearts' content, were impressed: "Big jump! Biiiiig jump!" cried Sebastian, whilst Joaquim delightedly shook hands with the winner and offered his congratulations when we met him in the showers afterwards. He asked us two dozen times afterwards who the winner had been, just to make sure he had actually met him. Perfect pizza, camping under the trees and a damn good coffee at breakfast dotted the i's and crossed the t's. Couldn't have been better. We're looking forward to receiving 40 kiters next year...

If I were a bit cleverer I would post their website here (need a tutorial from my siter again), but it's: wwwdotmurrebuedotcom. Have a look. Will post photos when I have some.

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