Sunday, July 10, 2011

Farmer-to-Farmer Program: Day 0-1 (South Africa and Mozambique)

Twenty-two hours after starting my journey, I arrived... in the same time zone. This strange fact was a little difficult to wrap my head around. I almost would have preferred the jet lag. At least, it's a more plausible excuse for the weariness and disorientation of extended periods of time stowed in coach's upright and locked position.

Leaving the heat and humidity of Barcelona's summer, a southern hemisphere winter smacked me full in the face upon arrival in Johannesburg (South Africa) airport. At a nippy 34F/1C, other passengers in this way-station were bundled in blankets and an abundance of fleece. I watched a better prepared bulky woman shrink before my eyes as she shed layer after layer going through security. If you came ill-equipped, the airport had a high-end outdoor clothing and shoe company with stacks of floppy hats and zip-off trousers for those headed on safari. Other stores, like a butcher selling an assortment of bush meat jerky and a home decor shop where you could buy a real zebra skin rug, were easy reminders you were now really in Africa.

Mozambique, thankfully, is a tad bit warmer. Coming into Beira, Mozambique's largest port and second largest city, I swear I saw a crocodile in the shallows of the Pungue River. The fine folks from CNFA Mozambique came to meet me (and helped sort out getting the change back from my visa). After a briefing at the local office, there wasn't much day left to see Beira itself. I did manage to enjoy my dinner of grilled chicken with a side of piri-piri (the hot chili sauce that seems to come to tables here as regularly as salt and pepper) at a restaurant playing Mozambican music.

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