Squished in the passenger seat with my guitar and two more passengers, overland it went through the tiny town of Rusape to the even more remote Juliasdale. Apple country! I tumbled out the minibus with all my bags more or less on top of about a dozen ladies trying to sell me bags of different varieties: "Green Apple! Two Dollar! Fuji! Two Dollar!" I fought my way out of apples being shoved into my face, marvelled for a moment at the lush, green, forest-covered hills surrounding the place and crossed the street to the hotel where I was meeting my next host, Rob. (I had been worried about finding the right place, but in a town that consists of a hotel, a gas station and a tiny supermarket, the hotel is pretty easy to find.)
|Beautiful country, flat top acacias|
Sunday I spent recovering from my journey, with some delicious food prepared by Kevin, a bit of walking on the marvellous rocks, and an explanation by Rob on how he became one of only two white chiefs in Zimbabwe.
|Nyanga looks too much like Europe!|
|Rob on the trampoline|
And Nyanga city had dusty roads, delicious sadza ne nyama for just a dollar fifty, and no other white person in sight.
The next day Rob and I went to explore what he calls the "fort", an amazing assembly of ancient stone structures tucked away between the rocks in the mountains. The vegetation up there in the shade is the most jungle-like I've seen during all of my travels, and the ruins are mysterious and almost magical. Three rings of fortification, filled with circular foundations of something - gold mining basins? Houses? At this point, no one knows.
|See the stone rings in the jungle?|
Finally I went on a trip to Honde valley with Kevin. Across a mountain pass from Juliasdale the climate is completely different, warm, tropical. Mozambique starts on the other side of the valley, and the rocks are full of gold-carrying veins of quartz.
|Crossing the Honde river, note the quartz in the rock|
|To the Kraal|
We also visited the friend's son at his school out there, and us two white people were the excitement of about 50 little black children - first they kept running off and giggling as soon as we moved, then they got very excited about my camera and all tried to cram into one picture with Kev.
|Kevin + a bunch of school kids|
While I stayed at Susurumba, in the shaded valley by the river, I really didn't want to leave - it feels like home! I even introduced the community to some of my fermentation projects - the local women will be making Sauerkraut from now on - and started some Susurumba sourdough. Alas, the two of them are heading to Victoria falls this weekend, change of plans, and I'm heading out towards Mozambique tomorrow. This is going to be interesting, my Portuguese will be put to the test for real now.