Some days we don’t ride. Those are strange but it is good to give your ass a rest occasionally.
Some times we get to help Mandy to make soap to sell to the hotels. It is a side job (a mystery how she can find time and energy to do it!) to help make money to feed those hay eating machines. You cannot go anywhere in this community without finding those charming little gems. It is great fun and I plan to continue to do it when I get home.
Hmmm home. Strange concept. When I am on these trips, home seems like a dream, there but distant. Does that happen to you?
We also go into town; poor Mandy and Pat wear a rut in the road going back and forth. There is always something to pick up or drop off. During those forays they often drop us off at Kilimanjaro Coffee Shop, famous for their coffee float. Paula (volunteer) is addicted and will be going through withdrawals when she leaves. I have discovered my drink – espresso with ice cream. OHMYGAWD! Have mercy. I should be running up and down that damn beach instead of on a horse!
Vilankulos reminds me of one of those wild west towns in the U.S but with tuk tuks. It is coated with a golden sand dust and defined by erratic sidewalks and unpaved streets that are more theory than reality.
There are as many VodaCom cell phone/time stores as Starbucks at home. Everyone has at least one cell phone, more if they are engaged in nefarious acts. As in most economically depressed ‘urban’ centres there is a lot of hustle going on as people try to survive. You get the distinct feeling that if you aren’t privy to the rules here you will be a guppy in a sea of sharks.
Tons of people hang out on the streets, too many for the sidewalks to hold so they spill out onto the street where motorists do their best to avoid mowing them down. Yet pedestrians are not given the right of way, at all. Only when death/maiming is eminent will a driver actually stop or swerve.
The women sway down the roads wearing beautifully patterned capulanas (sarongs), carrying everything short of the kitchen sink on their heads, giving them the posture and grace of a high fashion model. Mandy claims she saw a woman carry a bed on her head! Speaking of women, I noticed this particularly beautiful woman striding down the street smartly dressed in a modern black and white dress, topped by a chic chapeau. I looked down to see her handbag…. stunned speechless that it was actually 3 small dead chickens being held by their legs. Oh for a picture of that!
Everywhere there are an array of kiosks, some so small they are defined only by a scrap of bamboo matting overhead, selling a few items… sometimes just a couple of tomatoes or a pair of well worn shoes. The larger ones sell clothes they get donated from Canada or the US in bales. Even in the countryside you will see tiny outlets pop up in the middle of no where. Suitcases and backpacks have a huge market here, made so cheap that not even I am tempted to go near them.
Pool R&R at Pool at Archipelago Resort
Occasionally we even get to lounge by the pool at our resort. We aren’t actually staying at the resort, more like in the backyard in the concrete courtyard. Which is fine since we still get the amenities, just not the posh digs. The pool is conveniently located next to the bar/restaurant and the wi-fi is only available at the two tables closest to the office. I have requested a ‘reserve’ sign on one of those tables but that has yet to appear. The office manager is P (Priscilla), a lovely woman who is a fount of skill and knowledge. She also makes a lamb curry that brings grown men to their knees and me to tears thinking only of the baby sheep that was sacrificed. She has promised me a fish curry… I wait with bated breath.
We are never far from the horses though, our world revolves around them. If they need anything, everything else is dropped and it is all hands on deck. That is how it should be. They give us their all, it is only right we should do the same for them.