Published: August 19th 2012August 16th 2012
Eduardo, the taxi driver, claimed he was sick and couldn't show up at 08:00. Our hotel arranged for another driver, but at a much higher price than we'd arranged with Eduardo, yesterday.
The most important thing was, we had to get to Pemba, as we fly out from Pemba to Dar-es-Salaam from where we head home to Doha. It was too late for the bus which had left at 05:00, and chapas would have been too much hassle for this distance (about 400 km).
On the road, we realized this new driver was the friend Eduardo had taken the car jack from. Oh ... So, ... this made things interesting ... but, ... we had to get to Pemba.
The road was being worked on in sections, but our driver was doing 120-130 km a lot of the time. By bus, the trip would have been at least 8 hours. By car, it was going to be a little over 5 hours.
After 2 1/2 hours of hectic driving we had a flat tire. No surprise there! Had he got his jack back frm Eduardo? yes. and he had a spare too. He changed the tire ... rapido ... but the spare was nearly airless too! That didn't stop him from driving fast until he found a road side hut with a compressor.
We were then stopped at a police road check. The driver was asked to go talk to the officers at the other side of the road, while another officer asked N.. for passports. The officer went over every stamp in the passport ... he found the receipts for the Mozambique visa, so ... there was nothing wrong with the paperwork. He then noticed E..'s day pack in the backseat and asked to open it. E.. asked rather crossly "Why?" ... N.. played the good cop and said, "Please, open it" ... playing bad cop, E.. again said "What's this got to do with road safety?" ... then she opened the bag, showed the jacket at the top, then dug out the road food and the way she flourished it in front of the officer was enough for him to say stop. No more. The other officers were done with the driver by now and wanted to search the boot.
E.. was having none of this. She flew out of the back seat and glared at the officers. No way were they going to pilfer anything ... they saw her expression and decided not to search the bags! Hey ... good cop, bad cop works on cops!
So, the officers didn't find the damaged tire in the boot, which probably would have been deemed a road safety ... driving without a valid spare.
We got to Pemba and found a beautiful hotel right on the beach with a restaurant.