Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tree house in the Mozambican jungle.

Mac & his dog in front of part of his tree house. Moz 1997.

Me staying at an out-of-town hotel on the border town of Zimbabwe, called Mutare, led me to spend 7 days in a tree house in the middle of the Mozambican jungle. Stuff one only dream of but, on that day, it really happened to me.
This man called Mac, was giving me a lift into town when he asked if I wanted to spend 7 days in Mozambique. What anyone in their right mind would say? "Yes!", I said excitedly. What else would I say?
I stayed in one of his spare bedrooms, up the main tree. (The house was built on 2-3 trees & a big wooden fence to keep the wild animals out.) I remember vividly my first night, up in the bar, sipping a glass of Amarula with the bushbabies (monkey-like animal that makes a sound like a crying baby.) and a distant drumming & chanting of a village nearby, a multitude of stars glowing in the night sky.
I couldn't feel more in Africa than this!

With day visits to nearby towns of Chimoio & Gondola or visit to local tobacco farmers, I was kept busy. All this traveling was always done before the sunset. It was that dangerous that Mac kept a loaded gun under his bakkie (truck) seat!

We had one adventure that I'll remember for a long time to come! We were ridding on a bush trail to get to a good fishing spot when we encountered tree trunks blocking the road. We were a bit apprehensious because the rebels are are known for using this tecnique to ambush cars & trucks. Nothing happened except for the most venomous spider in Mozambique. A tiny spider with a white body. Brrr! It stayed on the outside windshield, on the driver's side, Thank God! I was staring at it the whole time we were stopped. I was thinking of a plan in case it moved.
Here's what went through my mind at the time:
Screaming was out of the question (I'm too proud!)
Opening my door to go where? I open the door straight into the jungle! The jungle up-close look scary!
Nor was closing the windows, it was way too hot & humid.
Besides, it is not recommended to stray from the well trodden paths as the country is still full of land mines.
In the end, we got to the fishing spot. He gave me a line & told me to catch a fish. He was going to a bigger river. I caught a fish minutes after he told me to!

I'll never forget that week!