Bluebottle Jellyfish – Discovery Friday

Another Friday, another flashback and another discovery to share with you guys. This is a little jump back to my most recent trip to Mozambique where I had the pleasure to encounter these for the first time.

These little bad boys are known as Garrafa Azul, Bluebottle Jellyfish or the Portuguese man’o war – yes the Portuguese got in there and named them that because they look like a typical Portuguese ship as it is ready to set sail.

These little things look glorious on the sandy white beaches, the blue rays of these animals decorating the shore in such a beautiful yet dangerous way. It is enticing almost, my friend and I had never seen one before and got really close until warned by another friend that we shouldn’t touch them.

It is said that the sting of a bluebottle feels like someone is slicing your skin and muscles open with a butchers knife… not something I would like to experience, but they do look amazing! How mother nature has made such a beautiful world filled with stunning creatures.

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This amazing photo of a Bluebottle on the beach in Tofo, Mozambique, is credited to my amazing friend Dárcio Essá, who dabbles in nature photography and has some breathtaking shots. Thank you for letting me use your image. Please click here to see some of his incredible photos. 

Woman in Black – #ThrowbackThursday

So November 14th 2015, I had the opportunity and pleasure of watching the Woman in Black live in the theatre, and today I am throwing it back to this theatrical experience.

Let me make it explicitly clear that I am awful with anything horror. I sat through the movie Woman in Black with a scarf wrapped around my head with just a gap for my nostrils where I could breathe and the tiniest slit in my eyes so I could barely see it. The sound of it alone is just agonising let alone the visual impetus. I felt that in the theatre it was made ten times worse, seeing as I could also smell everything and the performers are at arms reach.

The play itself is actually really different from the movie, in that is it all a recollection of a story and uses metatheatre as the story telling device. For those who do not know, metatheatre is when you are watching a play about a play, so theatre within theatre. This is how the piece is originally written and it works so well, with two primary actors taking on all the roles and making it a very intimate setting, which only adds to the creepiness of the whole affair.

Now I am painfully aware that OBVIOUSLY there is a third performer who plays the woman in black HOWEVER, theatrical license is everything and the performer who plays the woman in black is not mentioned AT ALL in the programme nor do they appear at the curtain call. This only adds further to the creepiness of it all. I did some extra research into this and found out that in the actual script she is not written in either. This is far too much for me to deal with, it is too creepy.

The production was amazing and they were all fantastic and really delivered the spooky story successfully. I for one will leave this behind as one of those things I have done and watched that I do not have to do again. That is how much of a wimp I am. That being said, I have to say that in the end – SPOILER ALERT! – for those who have watched it – she comes out, for the scariest bit after all the build up, the sound team are pressing those buttons with all their might, there is a fog machine going, you do not see her coming from anywhere but she appears in all her might, scary as hell, and she accidentally – or I am hoping it was accidentally – revealed her face and got lit up with a weird green light and no word of a lie, the woman in black looked like Elphaba the Wicked witch of the west. That really did help me go home less paranoid so I am so grateful, and I hope no one else saw that and it was just me.

You can watch Woman in Black at the Fortune Theatre in London. Tickets are available on www.thewomaninblack.com

Mozambique – discovering Africa for the first time

So 2015 ended with a bang and 2016 started with one! I embarked on an awesome adventure to visit my best friend in Mozambique this year, so we could spend our 3rd consecutive New Year’s Eve together. (Now if that is not love, I do not know what is!)

After months of preparing to head over to the land down under, taking additional jabs (not as many as anticipated as apparently Asians have very similar diseases floating about) sending out visa requests, my passport going in a brown envelope with a ton of sellotape and me thinking it would never come back, mentally preparing myself to have hallucinations and daily sickness on malaria tablets (did not happen HOORAY!), packing and re-packing to consider winter to summer conditions, and trying to find clothes to suit the weather conditions considering it is UGG boots season in England. FINALLY I was ready!

So I boarded a plane, expecting nothing at all but an awesome time and warm weather. Instead, I had love affair with Mozambique.

Tofo, Inhambane

The first section of the trip took place about 10 hours after a 500 km drive up North… or further north in the southern region of the country… details.

There is not much to describe this place, but absolute paradise. It is hot, the cleanest whitest, softest sandy beaches, warm and wavey waters and not to mention the friendliest people ever. The music in Mozambique is amazing, and we were staying in a little backpackers inn, with live music and a club every day that really did just make you want to dance along. Other things that added to the atmosphere was the incredible amount of vegetation, lots of coconut trees and mangoes galore.

Fatima’s, the little backpackers inn, is a really cool quirky place to stay in, and the huts are awesome, but I would suggest going in one of the larger shared rooms as the huts are SO HOT in the morning, even with a fan switched on inside – not to mention these are definitely not sound proof, hello club music in my sleep!

Near Tofo we also had the opportunity to walk to other locations such as Tofinho, which is a small secluded beach with some rocky structures and a few more pebbles but otherwise continues to be the same, gorgeous water and picturesque view.

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In terms of costs, etc, getting here from Maputo is not so bad, Fatima’s has a shuttle bus that takes you straight there and it is 800 Meticais for the ticket, that is £12.30 for a 500 km ride. Take it. Food and drink costs nothing, but Fatima’s has kitchens so you can take a bunch of groceries and cook for yourself majority of the time which is a HELL of a lot cheaper. We found a place near by called Branko’s which had pizzas for 190 Mets – yes that works out at 3 quid for a HUGE thin crust fresh home made stone oven cooked pizza SO DO IT! and Here you can also try to eat the Bife na Pedra, which is stone cooked beef and it is truly divine. The rest of the time just eat as much fresh fruit as you can, because it is sweeter, bigger and nicer than in any European country, and forget your dreams of cheese, cheddar cheese, until you get back to Europe. Also, I would just accept the fact that you will swallow one or two microscopic ants, just don’t look, it is protein after all.

Aside from all the travelling details, the absolute highlight of this quick escape to the beach was getting to know this incredible group of people. My best friend is happy and I felt like I had spent a lifetime with these people, I felt like I was in a home away from home. I made a whole new family and group of friends that I hope to come and see again. I think that a huge part of travelling the world, in whatever terms you do it in, is that you have the opportunity to start affecting lives elsewhere, and see that your life is affected by these people too. I do not want to set these people aside or forget the amazing time I had with them, and I will keep in touch and I will see them again… in 2017/18 according to the best friend. Still, it is always good to come home to the loved ones, leaving little threads of your heart in other places in the world.

Going here was just beautiful and an absolute delight, a true place of relaxation. So today I leave you with photos of this beatiful side of the world, and in a few days, will you be ready to see Maputo? We will see!

Happy reading, writing and travelling!

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Discovery Friday – Sugarcane juice and Coconut water

So, this week’s Discovery Friday pays tribute to my very recent first ever trip to Africa. I had some amazing experiences out there, met amazing people and was faced with such a fascinating history and culture. Mozambique is truly a mess of a historical country, with so many outer, Asian and European influences bombarding it left right and centre, you are sometimes at a loss to where exactly you are. Still at its root, it is full of African charm, warmth and bright, colourful and happy people who make the experience ten times more than any European country I have been to so far.

For me, a true part of experiencing a country to its full potential is embedding yourself in the culture and THE FOOD! This includes drink too. So here is my discovery for this Friday, Sugarcane juice and coconut water. I already knew that these things existed, of course, but these are discoveries for me as they were a total first.

Sugarcane juice is officially one of the most refreshing naturally sweet drinks I have ever drank. It is honestly beautiful. When people talk about drinking from the pool of life the water that will you make you live eternally, this is what I imagine it would taste like, pure, refreshing, untainted, sweet life. I took some photos of the guy preparing it too, he cut canes and squeezed the juice out of every single one. And if you have a cold, like my friend did you can even add some lemon and ginger. Glorious! Try it!

The coconut water was also fantastic. I love coconut milk, but I despise the texture of the actual coconut fruit, so I do not eat it. This was my first time trying coconut water, straight from the coconut might I add. Those things are so heavy, I genuinely was amazed by how heavy it was, which explains why people get seriously hurt if a coconut falls on them. I was also surprised by how much water there is inside the coconut, it was delicious. It tastes something like a cross of light and nutty… is nutty an adjective ever applied to a coconut? I wonder what you guys think, if you have ever tried it please tell me your thoughts.

Happy Friday and until the next one!

 

It started with goodbye…

2016 has already brought people such joy and anguish. We are 21 days in as I sit here and write this piece. I only just returned from my trip 10 days ago, and have been so bogged down with work that there has been no time to be here. Aside from being occupied I have been consumed by grief for the icons that have left us behind this year.

Already, in such a short space of time, 2016 has brought us tears and the realisation that the lives of those that seem so phenomenal and amazing beyond comparison, are also lives that are frail and taken away from us at any time. I feel that it has been a bit of a shock as in 20 days we have all said goodbye to huge influences in all our lives, but three in particular have struck me as particularly shocking. So today I dedicate this art post to the loss of huge talents to the world wide entertainment industry.

David Bowie

What an absolute icon! I can still remember working at the Victoria and Albert museum when the Bowie exhibition was taken down and booking its trip around the world. I believe that it is currently being shown in Rio de Janeiro, but do not quote me as it has been a while and I might not recall the dates as well as I wish.

Bowie was a huge fashion icon, film talent and a musical influence and god that evolved with time and released some of the most awesome music ever. Bands can only dream of creating the unique sound that Bowie continuously honed, and his break through musical techniques are of huge influence to the music industry. It seems bittersweet and a planned goodbye that he released his 25th album on his 69th birthday, just days before he passed away. It is with memories of his sweet voice that I whispered goodbye to his name and remembered a well phrased Bowie quote:

“… And these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds are immune to your consultations. They’re quite aware of what they’re going through…”

Alan Rickman

A theatrical and film icon, known for many roles but loved globally for being the unsung and unpredictable hero of the Harry Potter series, Severus Snape. Has there ever been a man who’s voice could lull me into a different Universe altogether… maybe my dad’s but not anyone else. He played a huge part of my generation’s coming of age and is such a phenomenal loss to the industry and the world and fantasies of many growing children and dreaming adults. I will ALWAYS be waiting to take a potions and defence against the dark arts class with you. Mostly, Alan Rickman, I will never forget how you forged and paved the way for so many British actors and actresses, a true talent and your grace both on stage and screen will never be forgotten. As you once said, in the most beautiful, sincere and simplistic way – Always.

Glenn Frey

Finally, but not least, Glenn Frey. This may seem like an odd one, but my mom and dad brought me up listening to the melodious and harmonic abilities of The Eagles, and I have the fondest memories of this music. This music that I still have on my car when I do long drives, this band who graces my headphones every day with some of the most iconic and legendary pieces of music. When you write a piece like Hotel California, you know you’re about to make a record that is going to be historic, just like Rumours for Fleetwood Mac and The Wall by Pink Floyd. Glenn Frey is a lyrical and musical talent that has left a great big, thundering and aching gap in the music industry and in my heart. I leave you here with some of the very best of The Eagles.