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Published: August 16th 2008
Today was our day to go to the beach. The only problem is that it was the first rainy day we’ve had.
The drivers were late. We’re not sure why. We called them and asked where they were, and they said they were on their way, within five minutes later. They didn’t get here till an hour later. Apparently that’s a cultural thing here. Aggravating, but common. Who knows why they were really late.
According to my GPS, the beach is 18½ miles away. It took us about two hours to get there, over one of the worst roads I’ve seen in my life. Dirt, ruts, washouts, you name it. At least it wasn’t a dangerous road on the side of a mountain, like some of those cruddy ones in Peru. But it was in worse shape.
The road went out of Beira, and for the first time we were out of the more or less heavily populated areas where we’ve been working. There were a lot of guys riding bikes on that road with big loads of charcoal or wood. Their job is to go off, cut a load of wood and, if they want, change
A typical truck along the way to the beach--bottomed out with big bags of stuff and lots of folks.
it to charcoal. Then they wheel it back to town on their bikes to sell it. It’s a hard, hard way to make a living, and it looked especially hard today as they pushed their bikes through the mud in the rain.
We got a lot of puzzled looks as we drove by today. I suspect that the road we were on is rarely driven by foreigners. We passed mile after mile of flat, fertile, fallow land. I was struck by the fact that if you brought all that land under cultivation, you’d literally be able to feed Beira.
Along the road we saw some cool birds—a little multi-colored one, and some beautiful white cranes, and some pelicans, and a black-and-white bird that hovered over a little pond, I assume looking for fish to grab. One time we had to stop in the road so the driver could walk behind the bus and pee. We passed several very large trucks—about the size of the Cowleys’ truck, but flatbed—that were absolutely jammed with people and their stuff.
The resort where we went was really nice by Mozambican standards. There was a restaurant where we ate chicken and shrimp
On the way to the fields
Notice all the fallow land behind, which stretched for miles.
and rice. But it was freezing with pouring rain and a driving wind. We’d come all that way, so we were bound and determined to swim anyway. I ran to the beach to get a little warm, and getting in was actually warmer than standing around in the rain. There were almost no shells or anything else on the beach. The beach seemed kind of sterile. But now I can say I have swum in the Indian Ocean. The place where we were was near a river that comes into the sea, and there were a couple small but interesting boats on the river that I photographed.
The trip back was uneventful, and we’ve basically just been hanging out at the apartment tonight. We didn’t go to the baby orphanage.
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