138. Getting Back on the Horse

Believe it or not but this past week has been surprisingly busy. Our presence has been graced by one of the most influential LGBTQ persons of our time, our day-time hours have dwindled away bringing order to the chaos that previously reigned in the Irish Embassy library and our evenings have been spent being normal social beings – and for my case also doing a lot of yoga.

The week started off with the long awaited Q&A with Irelands most treasured drag queen – however not in drag. At last came Irelands turn to show their contribution to the European Film Festival in Maputo and there was a special treat awaiting the audience following the showing, which apparently had been lost upon some of the guests who had to confusedly hurry back to their seats as the main character himself of the documentary ‘The Queen of Ireland’ walked up on the stage in the small movie theatre. A good number of question was asked by the audience and expertly answered by Rory (yes, we are basically on first name-basis with a modern day national hero of Ireland) inspiring roars of laughter. Afterwards there was even selfie opportunities OMG!

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We even got to meet him again already the next evening at a function hosted by the Irish ambassador at his huge castle of a house. As we eyed him the entire night waiting for the crowd around him to diminish so that we might inconspicuously swoop in and strike up a conversation with the living legend, we casually circulated and small talked our way around the periphery of the ever growing and changing horde around the guest of honour. We even decided to stay to the almost bitter end of the night hoping our luck would come around, but to no avail, and alas we had to leave defeated and exhausted without even having spoken one word to the man himself.

Then began our ambitious pursuit to make some sense of the embassy library. By now, after five days of long hours toiling away in the basement sorting through documents dating all the way back to the 1960’s order has returned. Although it has been tough seeing all that waste piling up there was also something deeply satisfying in purging that forgotten hob of paper and discovering lost treasures among otherwise useless documents and huge encyclopaedias, like old Mozambican cartoons, ancient sex-ed and AIDs worksheets and office supply catalogues from the 90’s.

After more or less a week of recuperating from my fall from a horse I recovered enough to give yoga another go. For my last Saturday in Maputo I joined the yoga lesson in the botanical garden before I’d lost my chance forever. This was a truly amazing experience! With the sun over head we did yoga outdoors just at the entrance of the garden where you could just catch a whiff of the surrounding flowers and other plants, and, instead of the usual echo of labouring breaths, coughs and painful groans ricocheting of the glass walls on the roof of the apartment building, you could hear the singing of five different weddings being performed around the gardens. However, with the hive of activity around us an audience gathered from time to time to get a good look at us, which, when you are in certain positions, was not exactly comfortable – especially if you didn’t pack any sports clothes and are only left with a pair of small and loose shorts!

After another late morning spent among the books and dust in the embassy basement one of the ladies at the embassy asked if we would like to help her harvest tangerines, and of course we would. She has three tangerine trees and they were all heavy with fruit, so we got started, taking turns climbing up the ladder plucking tangerines till we had filled a huge bucket to its absolute maximum capacity. This is about when she tells us that they are all for us to take with us home, and we had thought we were only lending her a helping hand. And the generosity did not end there; she showed us all of her hobbies that she keeps herself busy with, including sowing all kinds of cute and handy little capulana things which she quickly produced two of and gave us as gifts, and we also got ice cream – throw back to all the times when we were WWOOFing and were made to feel like little children.

Saturday we went to the Azgo festival here in Maputo and we had planned to stay there until the early morning hours, but when we finally got there we were too exhausted from the long week and the farewell lunch party at the Norwegian guy’s place – so by 21.30 we were back at the apartment, what wild and reckless youths we are! The music we did manage to listen to was very South African and many of the artist will be at Bushfire this weekend as well, not that we got to listen to them as the best music didn’t start until way passed our bed time.

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Sunday we returned to El Paso where I finally got back on the horse.  The trot was a little unsettling in the beginning but I stayed on for the entire ride, and when we returned to the stables the riding instructor even told me that she was proud of me. It was a gorgeous day and when we rode on the beach you could see all the way to the horizon where the sea merged with sky – unlike at our first visit to El Paso! Following our ride we went on a hash walk, and do not be alarmed it has absolutely nothing to do with marijuana – although some of the others from the group sure were acting like they had smoked something funny! A trail had been laid with tricks and detours through the bush of Macaneta and down to the beach and back. Along with people of Maputo’s expat community and some locals we marched along the trail marked by flour with the sun beating down on us. It was very nice and refreshing with the exercise, but the walk ended up taking longer than expected as we got lost in the bush a number of times but in the end we managed to find our way back following the sound of the generator at El Paso.

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Next stop: Bushfire!

//Louise

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