Category Archives: Travel

Turning 28 in Thailand

Turning 28 in Thailand

This year I spent my birthday 9000 kilometres away from home, in a tropical paradise with the amazing new mates I made. If you had told me last year at this time that this would be my reality I would have said duh, I’m planning for the trip over right now, you nincompoop. But if you had told me that this would be one of the happiest and most memorable moments and statements I would make in 2017, I wouldn’t have been sure.

Birthdays have always been an odd obsession of mine and I’d explain why this is so if the origin story wasn’t so dark. Essentially I rate people should be very grateful to be alive and to have been birthed (if this is what they wish of course). And every year, I come together with the people I hold dear to me – my female friends – and spend the day that I came out of my mom, jaundiced and cute as all hell. This year I asked my mother what time I was born, I figured she’d told me before and I’d just forgotten. She also doesn’t remember because how was she supposed to keep track of the time while enduring labour pains? Her words. But it was apparently any time between eight and ten, and I’ll take that. This explains my preference for sunsets over a sunrise. I’m a night queen (GoT wink).

My good friend Wendy invited me over to Phuket – to a less populated beach on Nai Harn and it was like something out of an actual dream. We started the day off at We Café for lunch where all of the produce is fresh and in-house. The rest of the day was spent on a beautiful blue water beach with cold beers in our hands and the sun gently embracing us, the water was cool enough and the beach was empty enough and my stomach and heart were full enough. In the afternoon we drove our scooter up a beautiful winding road, hugged by palm trees and other greenery on both sides, to the viewpoint overlooking the rest of Nai Harn and some islets off the gulf – I can still feel the breeze from up there right now.

Christina came in from our town in the evening and we sat down for a quiet al fresco meal at a Mexican style restaurant on the side of a busy road before heading to Patong for a more rowdy end to the night. We sang and danced and drank the night away – Grey Goose and Rihanna spurring us on – and returned to the hotel at the 3 in the morning. A fitting end to a wonderful birthday weekend. It sure felt really good to turn twenty eight.

Happy New Year, from Kho Phi Phi! [VIDEO]

Happy New Year, from Kho Phi Phi! [VIDEO]

My first New Year’s Eve in Thailand and my entrance into 2017 saw me and my XploreAsia friends hop on a ferry for 2 hours to go and make a mess of the famed Phi Phi islands, while also exploring and experiencing and just generally doing all the things a large group of excited and exhausted teachers would do during a well served long weekend. My friend Pat was kind enough to collect the priceless footage chronicling our amazing time on the beautiful island. Watch:

Hello everyone! Decided to finally put my GoPro to use and make a video of my New Year. First video I have ever made so let me know what you think! Everyone who is tagged is in it at least once (along with others who I am not friends with on Facebook yet). Thanks for the memories guys, this will be a New Year I will never forget :)Songs: Lost Frequencies – Reality (Kygo Remix) Kodaline – High Hopes (Filous Remix)

Posted by Patrick Herndon on Sunday, 8 January 2017


A Minute in Malaysia

A Minute in Malaysia

So a few weeks after destroying myself with Big Changs and building myself up again with Bloody Mary’s in Krabi, Thailand, I went over to Malaysia for a bit on official visa business (I’ve always wanted to say ‘official ____ business’, pardon me). I went on a 12 hour solo minivan trip to pretty Penang and spent 48 hours there. Forty-eight hours isn’t a lot of time to fully explore and get to know a country but it’s enough time to get the taste of a town and let it make you fall in love with it so you want to come back and stay longer. This is what happened to me in Penang.

Travel in Malaysia

On day 1: I arrived in the morning and didn’t waste time messing around with complimentary hotel breakfasts (I’m vegetarian so its usually bland AF  for me), I showered and pretty much bolted out of my hotel to the first and nearest hippie sign I could find; this is always what I look forward to when travelling, I only ever really want to meet the chillest people in a country I’m in. And then I found Why Not Bar and my day was off to a good start, with a good breakfast served with a nice adult drink. After that, it was good chilled vibes for the rest of the day as I met with one of the XploreAsia gals, Kat and we went off to explore the Art district in Georgetown by foot (you can bike but like, why?). We walked – and got lost – for hours taking in so many different forms of art and taking a few snaps here and there when we’re done marveling*.

Art in Penang Malaysia

We headed to Little India – which literally I swear for 4 or 5 whole blocks I thought I was India – and grabbed a truly life-changing authentic Indian meal and I think I cried while eating because Indian is my 2nd favourite cuisine and I would risk it all for paneer tikka masala. We ended the evening (the following morning?) on the bar street not too far from my hotel and made a jol of it all at the Raggae bar where I met a fellow South African, Kyle and a really cool Indonesian lass, Feeky. Penang’s nightlife was just as laid back and eccentric and engaging as its day-life. Fun was had, yo.

Art in Georgetown Malaysia

On day 2: I did exactly what I did on Day 1 and it was still awesome. Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia I thank you and I’ll be back! 🙂

*This is not a travel blog so details are as sparse as your unwilling Movember attempt at a moustache?


Incredible Krabi! [VIDEO]

Incredible Krabi! [VIDEO]

When the holiday season rolled round and we all found ourselves missing our respective homes our friend Jack decided that Friendsgiving would be a great idea to get us all together from our different towns and cities all over Thailand to celebrate the holiday and to see each other and wish each other a Merry Christmas as well. What followed was nothing like any of us had experienced during the holidays. The Americans had no snow and no turkey, the South Africans had no braai and Reconciliation Day, and we all had no family and no regular Christmas. What we had was Krabi and parties. IN ABUNDANCE. My friend Gage was cool enough to document most of what we got up to. Watch:


We went on a Roadcast to The Cradle of Humankind!

We went on a Roadcast to The Cradle of Humankind!

We didn’t go on a roadcast – that’s not a real thing you can go on – we made a podcast while on a roadtrip and called it a roadcast. Janine, Nolly, Alex and I took a trip to The Cradle of Humankind and it was quite enlightening for all of us in different ways. I guess it’s because it’s so easy for us to forget ancient, buried, not-directly-affecting-us-right-now existence because we’re always thinking in the present tense. Evolution is never on our minds, I’d even forgotten that the Dodo was recently extinct and soon that’ll be the rhino right? In any case, human beings and animals alike, we rise and fall like whatever rises and falls (I forgot that line but Odysseus says it at the end of Troy). And thats what happened with everything that came before us. That took a grim turn, which is not the intention because it was delightful to witness the Earth’s glow up. More to the point, though, we had a good ‘ol chat about the boy band Blue, how South Africans used to be really obsessed with UK pop bands and Men’s Rights (LOL).

Have a listen!

The one where I did Victoria Falls in an Overlander Truck: PART II

The one where I did Victoria Falls in an Overlander Truck: PART II

“In this life journey we meet incredible people [that] our souls connect with instinctively. Last week I travelled with some amazing beings. We shared laughs, we shared food, we shared drinks, we shared care, we shared the little we had, we shared the abundance we had, we shared of ourselves, we shared sharing. They are my teachers and my friends. God knows the love I have for them.”

– Phindi, Truckmate 🙂

My Zimbabwe Trip

I’m not sure if there is any simpler and more heartfelt and right-on way I could say this. This is literally all I feel about my journey to Zimbabwe and all the wonderful people I met and got to know and formed a weird little bond with. But let me tell you a little about the greatest overlander truck to ever exist. Let me tell you a little about the people of Truck Hercules.

Nas and Bule: If there ever were a more laid back couple than these two, I don’t know of it. Nas was the first person I actually met, and she was excellently chill and so friendly. We kept on teasing Nas about how strict she is with Bule and he just kept laughing at us. That made sense, because the endearment with which the whole thing played out between the two of them was one of the sweetest things about them.They’re both very attractive as well, so everything makes sense. And to be fair, I think Nas is strict with everyone – she made me eat my food during the last supper. ILY, both.

Lusanda: This little lady is so spirited and such a creative individual you can almost see kaleidoscope emissions coming off her, the way those smelly squiggly lines come off of cartoon characters. It is unmissable and so cool. Also, she’s gorgeous and fearless. She helped me flirt with this Swiss boy at a party on the 30th. He was really hot and I turned into a blubbering mess when I saw his biceps. Lucie was kind enough to calmly coach me. She was also one of the few crazy people who went white water rafting on the Zambezi and I will physically fight anybody who thinks that is not thee most badass thing to friggin do.

Louise and Marcel: Whymisical Louise and her awesome love, Marcel. I may have been a little obsessed with these two’s union because it is so lovely and unadulterated and just all the things. I’m okay with that though, because I was not the only one who expressed how affected I was by the two of them and their love. We’d all just look on and sigh whenever they interacted. Above all that, I had the most amazing time hanging out with these guys – they are the truest jol to hang with.

Zintle: This girl took such good care of me. It was a few days before we actually sort of hung out but once we did, I couldn’t stop hugging her because she’s so bloody pretty, like a doll, and just kindest kid in class. There are lot of random things I made this tranquil spirit do but we also sat through Dumi’s sex counselling chat together, which kinda bonds you for life. We were inseperable after that – she’s the Vic Falls Yin to my Yang.

Dumi and Phindi: I want to say our charismatic leader but that feels hitlerish. Dumi was more like a big brother/resident sex counsellor/party starter. He is a presence – like a big one. And his particular person – yes, this is what he calls her – Phindi is very outspoken and she stares right into your eyes when she speaks. At first I felt like she was staring into my soul, which made me feel hella anxious, but I remembered she’s with Dumi, which means she’s probably insane. And insane people are the best people, so I got over myself.

TK and Derek. The two lovely big boys. Anybody who knows me, knows that big boys are my fave thing (Ugh, there’s no clean way to put that statement across, sorry). One was beautifully above average tall and the other had a laugh and ass that brought tears to my eyes. They were also quite adventurous. Like we all did a few activities, but these dudes had plans like everyday to some death defying shit. Kudos. I don’t have the balls – literally. They are such cool peoples. But by far the coolest thing about them is that they were with my tent mate, Simi!

Simi: Sim-ee, Sim sim, Now you Simi – my roomie! Simi and I were the only solo ladies and that’s how we ended up in a tent together. It was the beginning of the coolest roomship. Simi, like my dad, was born on the first day of the year. Amd we all gathered around in our campsite during the last supper and watched her welcome the new year and blow out the candles on her birthday. There was champers and there were tears. It was transcendental.

The Danish kids: Lars, Camilla and Simone. Lars and I sat next to each other on the bus, so we clocked in quiet a few hours in each other’s company. What were we doing most of the time? Sleeping. It’s almost like we were competing or something. At some point it felt like it was contagious and eventually our sleep times just started synching. Lars is so polite that he would feel so bad if he fell onto my shoulder by mistake – what a sweetie. Camilla and Simone were travelling with him and they remind me of doves, the way they’re so pretty and soft spoken. Made me think the whole time, are Danish people really quiet or are South Africans just really loud?

Mas and Nthabi: The two ladies with the dreads that went down to the arches of their backs #longdreadsdontcare – I’m being biased about this because I have dreadlocks, duh. Mas takes brilliant instagram-worthy photographs and she was always the first to wake up, and Nthabi is sweet but she was the first to be visibly gatvol when we got to the 1000 metre long queue at the South African border. I dig both of them – for all those reasons –  hugely.

Tim and Tiega: First of all, they sound like a sitcom, what’s not love? Also, they’re close friends and make me think of Portland, USA twenty-somethings… How I Met Your Mother, anyone? (I know its set in NY, don’t be a smartass). I just wanna make a show out of them because they’re so damn cool and wonderful and fun to chill with, godammit!

Harley from Australia: Harley, Harley, Harley… our charming Australian friend. There is so much to say about the upbeat, lone-wolf Mr Straya, especially from an American perspective, I think? 😛 But, what happens on Truck Hercules stays on Truck Hercules. We didn’t let him forget though  – in fact we had a right lekker time with it. It was nice – he was nice.

Ofentse and Thuli: Ofentse runs and Thuli is the queen of taking pictures. Ofentse is one half of the magic duo (the other half being Dumi) who prepared the last supper for us, the biggest gesture of our bond as Team Herc. And I don’t think there’s anybody on the truck who didn’t get a chance to be involved in an impromptu Thuli photoshoot with all her professional Kardashian poses. I think I took like 20 pictures of her at one spot at the Victoria Falls National Park – and it was my pleasure because she is a delight to be around.

Pete and her sister: Pete’s sister was quiet and honestly even when everybody was complaining about the heat or the queues, she also complained but with a smile. How? What a lovely lady. Pete was our resident photographer – she had like a real camera, not just a phone. And she was also more obsessed with mosquito spray than the rest of us. Great gals.

The older dudes: The suppliers of sage advice and unlimited red bulls. These guys were obviously more travelled than us, especially in Africa and they always had something really helpful or really funny to say about the places we were visiting. And I’m not mad about the cold water and energy drinks that they offered us during those smoulderingly hot days either. Hearts.

And last but not least, our drivers and uncles for all intensive purposes, Amious and Munya, four words. THEY. ARE. THE. BEST. I have been truly lucky to have met all of these funions and I appreciate that they exist and that they are all awesome. I love you, guys and thanks for the memories… *sniff sniff*

Overlander Truck Hercules Zimbabwe

Photo cred: Pete 🙂

The one where I did Victoria Falls in an Overlander Truck: PART I

The one where I did Victoria Falls in an Overlander Truck: PART I

I spent the last four days of 2015 and the first three days of 2016* seeing, Botswana, Zimbabwe and a little bit of Zambia. Of course I’d love this to be a super normal and straightforward post about the sites and sounds of this bizarre trip but it isn’t the sites and sounds that made this trip what it was for me. It was the people, and if you called me cheesy just then, I wish adult chicken pox on you, because this is very serious and I’m in my feels right now, k?

But let me indulge you.

This may take long and may even be strange for some people to read but I think, by now, you folks bother with this blog because you enjoy my strange stories. The overlander truck carried 25 other people who were complete strangers to me and most, to each other. But you spend 7 days eating, drinking, partying and sleeping with 25 other people in the bush (don’t be dirty) and all the rules and lines of everyday living and social codes are blurred (again don’t be dirty).

On Monday, we set off on a 650km drive from Benoni to Palapye, Botswana. Funny story; I was running late because Nkee and Sibo made me drink, the Sunday. Luckily, there was somebody who was way later than I was. If I’d missed this trip, I would have hung myself on a loose clothesline with some wet toilet paper.

I found Botswana okay enough. I think this is because I find ocean-less countries kind of underwhelming. Like, where’s your beach, bruh? Sun’s out, guns out? No? Mmkay. Also, we were so exhausted from the journey that even if there was pretty shit around, I wouldn’t have cared. We all just got off the truck, pitched our tents (not really, I got ahold of the demonstration tent like a boss) and headed to the bar, where we got treated to some nicely highly priced beverages. The Rand is not having a good time.

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We woke up bright and early the following morning after a quick brekkie and started the 850km drive to Victoria Falls Town, Zimbabwe. Needless to say, it was hot and draining but everybody was a good sport about it, especially because we got to see a few elephants every now and again.

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We already had big plans for when we arrived in Vic Falls – we were going on a party train. Yeah, I know – we actually hopped on a train with a bar area and a dance floor in it and guess what happened next? It took us to another party where things got nice and messy. You wish you were there, bru, no doubt. I have no clear recollection of the party train ride home, I remember a winding railroad, lights and laughter and giddiness.

Breakfast was at around 10. The weird thing about festivals is that you can sleep really late and wake up at a normal time and not feel as crappy as you would at home. In the day that followed we visited, of course, the great Victoria Falls themselves and it was majestic. I usually only use the word majestic to describe a horse’s mane or godly arms on a dude, but man… this is where that word belongs. As we walked through the rainforest, snapping pictures and marveling at our surroundings, I thought to myself, this is so touristy but this is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. It was low season in December but there was still so much water and spray, I vowed to come back during high season one day. I literally felt like the water, falling heavily as I walked those paths, was cleansing me – no joke, and I felt the most elated I’d been in a long time.

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After taking all of that natural beauty in, we walked over the border to Zambia to lunch there. It pains me to say, I underestimated the sun and the walk and how much tourists get hustled for money. And mostly, during the whole trip, I underestimated just how much the Dollar was currently tearing the Rand a new one – all that RAND>DOLLAR>KWACHA exchanging had gotten me famished. It took us a bit of a walk around to find a nice air conditioned restaurant in Livingstone but we were very happy when we did. The walk back wasn’t as bad and we got home just in time to get ready and go party hopping all around Vic Falls Town. There were many parties, there was a Swiss boy and he was beautiful. It was mint.

It was so mint that we spent the following day vegging next to the pool, with our overpriced slushies and ciders. For the whole day. And played a game where I ended having to jump into the pool with all my clothes on. Eventually everybody jumped in too but I was bummed because I hate the game we were playing. Card games… ugh. At night we got onto one of the many shuttles transporting all the campers to the venue where the big finale concert was taking place. There was no alcohol allowed inside so we had to down our drinks at the gate. Or did we? Well, let’s just say, there was a part of the wall that the security personnel were neglecting and I was rolling with a bunch of badasses, and I’ll end it there. There is never really much to say about New Year’s parties because we’re all too busy getting into the fun of it all – and boy did I get into the fun of it all.

I think all of that fun and all that happiness surging though my skin helped me not to kill myself on the drive back to Botswana and further back home to South Africa. The border was dreadful and our truck had turned into a sauna, everybody was gatvol and nobody was chattering anymore – we had all become zombies. It wasn’t until we saw the network bars on our phones come alive and the last border behind us that our humanness was restored. And we arrived in Benoni, so happy to be back in SA but equally so happy we had gone to Zim and travelled with the world’s most amazing group of people and seen one of the world’s most amazing sites. And also Bots 😉

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*(this has been backdated for continuity and such, kthanksbye)

We’ll always have Mozambique

We’ll always have Mozambique

I should think that much is true, especially for South Africans and especially for me. I’ve longed for an Eat Pray Love vac for a bit now, for most of my adult life – although, let’s face it, I can’t take a year off of my life to travel exotic places yet. But finally some sort of opportunity presented itself and instead of spending three months in Italy, India and Bali respectively, I spent three days in Maputo, Inhambane/Tofo and Tofo again. Because I’m not a best selling novelist by the weird name of Liz and my journey isn’t played out by Julia Roberts in a cult chick motivational flick. I’m 25 and I have a day job. It’s just not practical. So three days is all I could afford okay?!

They say budget travel (I say cheap) isn’t for the faint hearted and boy is that true. So Friday night I hopped on an overnighter to Maputo and there were a couple of things I was nervous about. Mostly foreign border officials and travelling to another country alone. Those two were def at the top of my ‘To Worry About’ list, so much that I forgot that the distance to Maputo is a huge b-word on its own. Alright, cards on the table, I’m from the Eastern Cape so honestly that many hours on the road is hell on earth, but a hell I’m pretty used to. I just wanna complain like all the other kids. The border went as expected – but not as feared. I was just not emotionally and mentally prepared for the hours I spent inside that bus. Not prepared. How many pit stops do people need? And do we have to pit stop for so long? Why are Mozambican people so lax?

So fast forward to my arrival in Maputo. I stepped out, so glad for the fresh air and was overcome by this awesome feeling, everything felt so warm and colourful and in very beautiful ruin. Old colonial era buildings, street corner stores, cool alfresco cafes, music coming from all over… I was glad I came. The driver who was supposed to pick me up to take me to the Backpackers was behind on time but I got a lift with the most awesome local whose sister was coming from SA. This is when I first noticed that Mozambican dudes find me attractive. Win.
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Fatima’s Backpackers in Maputo is a paradise for hippies and easy going travellers. It’s bright and friendly and super chilled. I hung out with a couple of South Africans from Johannesburg, and we all huddled by the sockets to charge our phones and chat about weird South African stuff we were glad to be away from, like traffic and work and how we should all just run away to Moz to escape the suffocating racial issues back home. Later on I met a few very awesome ladies I quickly became friends with, Pat (SA), Eva(USA), Kholi(SA), Joni(CHI) and – later – Olga(GER). Fun fact: None of us knew how to speak Portuguese 🙂 I mean, I’d learnt a few phrases thanks to Duolingo but it was so much tougher because Mozambican Portuguese, like Brazilian, isn’t exactly the standardised form of the language. Between us we managed a few words though, like please, how much, thank you, no thank you, bye and water (which you have to buy a lot of). I also learnt ‘beautiful’ because the word got thrown my way quite a bit. I love foreign countries, because I get there and I’m exotic AF.

We walked around and had drinks by the ocean with a view you’d trade your nephews for. And had lunch at this cool outdoor restaurant called Pirates that has pizzas the size of a tractor wheel and the Moz beer 2M on tap. I also tried Laurentina but 2M caught my fancy. And, of course, we shopped around for stuff to take back home, from colourful fabrics to hand crafted jewellery and bags. At night I was supposed to go to some dancehall thing but I was too bushed so I stayed at the Backpackers and mildly flirted with the barkeep, then drank enough 2M’s to knock me out – right after I sprayed myself with enough Peaceful Sleep to poison a little well. Because, Malaria.

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The following morning, we took a 5am chapa to Inhambane>Tofo to Fatima’s Nest, which was 7 hours away. Again, the chill factor in Moz was startling, with all the pit stops and all the slow walking and the fact that Traffic cops will stop a chapa and check for a driver’s license but don’t mind that the vehicle is brutally overloaded. Is it because it’s so hot and nobody cares for these trivial things? Upside of the journey was all the clear blue ocean and quaint little tropical looking towns we saw on the way. But nothing could have prepared us for the tranquil majesticness that is Tofo beach.

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Tofo is magical. Blue beaches, white sand, surf and food. I loved everything about it. I loved my room and how the sea was a stone throw away from my door, just like the bar. I loved that my whole bathroom was a shower. I loved all the people, locals and travellers. It just felt like a super amazing dream, honestly. Although the Moz heat bordered on insane I was not mad at what that sea breeze and humidity was doing to my skin. I have dreadlocks so I don’t have the hair frizzing over problem either. Haha. On arrival, Joni immediately went for a swim in the ocean – it was early evening so the conditions were perfect. I ordered a monster size 2M and hung out on the deck, just lying in the sun and looking out into the sea. Side note: There were so many good looking people there, I literally could not move. Later on we ordered a light dinner (think I got some sort of gourmet sandwich) and dined by the bar, I got quite a few surprise phone numbers from some dudes and I’m sure whatever they were saying in Portuguese was super charming but I had no idea what it was, I was just shocked that people still write their numbers on coasters and serviettes and give them to strangers. After dinner we lazed around on the bean bags and finally got around to answering texts and other social medias. There was also this family of three, a dad and his kids who are about my age who brought their laptop out to the general sitting area and we all watched The Grand Budapest Hotel at midnight, tipsy on TipoTinto.

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Breakfast was a lot of ice cream and pancakes and a crap load of Catemba. Joni and I visited the busy market and it was beautiful but it was too hot to stay long. I bought a pipe and home made island style juice in a coconut and went home, but Joni the Explorer went to Inhambane for the day. Then I met two older guys from Cape Town, Albie and Sean and we had a good chat on the deck while buying shell jewellery from the local kids and musing about the paradise we were all in, and I remember thinking, gosh I wanna be this cool when I’m 40/50. They had anklets and they surfed and ate watermelons & nuts, and their tans were out of this world. There is a really cool strip of restaurants, central to everything where I grabbed lunch with Albie and I just listened to him talk about his adventures. The rest of the girls arrived not too long after that and the fun truly began. It was nice to be just a bunch of girls from all over the world, enjoying ourselves on holiday. We swam in the sea at sunset and took pictures and laughed (because giggle juice – and I’m pretty sure I almost got lost at sea because of that night tide). By nighttime, the Backpackers was alive with music and chatter and a large group of us joined tables and just had a great big tipsy chat. The night was not over for Eva and and we found ourselves grabbing dinner with a group of like five gorgeous British okes intensely talking about Egyptian current affairs and politics, at one of those eateries on the strip. Then we all went dancing until sunrise. Which I dreaded because I had to rush back to SA that morning to spend Christmas with my family in East London. But three days was all I needed to fall helplessly in love with that place.

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We’ll always have Mozambique. I think I still have sand in my hair.

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