Palm trees, dead body and sleepy town

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Africa » Mozambique » Southern » Inhambane
February 7th 2012
Published: February 7th 2012
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We left Malawi with a relief as it has been quite difficult to get around, overcrowded public transportation, daily increases in prices and the troubled currency but we didn’t have a clue how tough it would be for our first few days in Mozambique. Dirty and endless roads greeted us and we soon wished that we would be back in Malawi. We crossed the border happily since our cheap visas (read about it in the previous blog) worked and amazing people met us with bright smiles, and it doesn’t matter that we faced a language barrier already on the border. Soon we realized that we are in middle of nowhere and we were only ones who were crossing the border at the time. Welcome to Mozambique! The next three days included a lot waiting on the road, dirty guesthouses, sleeping with small bugs, dead body, friendly locals, boiling weather, no hot or cold water, loud music, crystal blue water and an amazing road trip to Inhambane.

We were forced to walk three kilometers from the border to the closest town called Milange. Well we could take a bicycle taxi but we felt sorry about the poor guys who would carry us and our heavy backpacks so up and go along the nice path. The bicycle drivers’ one after one tried to offer a ride and when we refuse every time the offer they looked at us like we are insane to walk so far. They were shouting in broken English: “You won’t make by foot. It is way too far”. Every local turned around and starred deeply at us and probably thought what it is wrong with these “mzungus” (white faced). Some people stopped to talk to us which has been a nice welcome sign to this country. Fortunately we made the whole way to Milange and it wasn’t far at all.

Milange is friendly and small town in middle of nowhere but we were happy to find a ATM so we could take our local money and catch some sort of transport towards our next destination. We haven’t any doubts that Mozambique has been a Portuguese colonel because you could feel it in the air and we got a good feeling on arrival. We were looking forward to explore this country deeply but first we needed to get out of this place. After some research we found that they have one bus daily and it has left early in the morning so we looked at each other and we knew that we have same though in our mind and often we understand each other without words – “Lets hitchhike”. So we were standing on the road and waiting for a lift, one hour, two hours… and still no car has passed. The sun was getting just hotter in the afternoon, curious locals surrounded us to help us and we just smiled since we don’t understand Portuguese. We opened our travel bible and decided to try to make to Mocuba which was 200km away. After a while a small truck offer a ride to this town and we were more than happy to be in movement but when the truck was stopping along the dirty, sandy road and picking up the local people from different villages so when we understand that our trip won’t be easy.

The roads were strange as they are white-sandy and the beach is a few hundred kilometers away. We had a feeling that we are close a sea in the villages but the fact that we weren’t. However the sand and dust was blowing in our eyes since we were sitting on the truck and the driver was driving so fast no matter the condition of the road. The sweaty locals were getting on and off, live chickens were struggling to escape, dirty pots, the sun was heating up food, sacks of coals were loaded onboard as well and we were sitting in middle of this chaos. It didn’t take long time for Diana to get car sick as we were moving in all kind of directions, the smell was varying from sweat to old fish and our backpacks became seats more for the locals than us. We couldn’t move a centimeter and we tried to sit on the ground but when we got our spine in the thrown almost since the truck made sure don’t miss the holes in the road, and we jumped at least five centimeters from the ground. We were holding strongly in the truck because it is easy to fell out of it… and believe we wouldn’t like to stay in middle of Mozambique’s wilderness. Diana was struggling for few hours to adjust to the situation got just worse since the chickens were lying around with the sad eyes. Well it hasn’t been a pleasant trip for nobody in this truck but the chickens had worse since the day would finish with a sad end and we couldn’t complain about our situation. This is torture! Still we were moving and Chris fixed a seat for Diana in front with the drivers.

But the sweat from the drivers was incredibly bad and to sit in the middle when they are joking and tickling each other has been quite awkward. They were trying to talk with Diana in Portuguese but she was trying to keep everything in her stomach and quite happy that she didn’t understand what they said. Suddenly we saw the town lights and in the same moment the car died. Oh we couldn’t believe this… what an interesting trip. Some passengers went off and pushed it until the car got life in it. The first stop was a bar close to the town where the driver bough himself a big beer to celebrate a good drive. In this case we needed to take a whisky bath don’t feel the pain in every part of our body. After 7,5 hours we reached our destination for a day and we could hardly walk. When Chris jumped off the truck and Diana got a sigh of Chris so she couldn’t stop laugh as Chris was similar to the locals – black from the top to the tip and looked miserable about the life.

We figured out that someone bought a sack of coal and the sack broke since the driver made sure to hit the holes in the road, and the wind blow everything on Chris. So in middle of night we found the closest guesthouse and it looked quite bad, the load music was playing half night, the bugs in the bad and we tried to touch so little we could. The personal of guesthouse couldn’t stop laugh when they saw how dirty Chris was and we understood why later on. We really needed a shower or Chris especially but after a while we realized that they don’t have any hot or cold water (no tap water at all). This we didn’t really expect and with body language we explained that we need a bucket with water so we could make us a little cleaner. We slept with bugs and mosquitoes around us, and we were happy that it was malaria tablet day 😊

Next morning we were standing on the road and first car stopped for us. We got a lift for 300 km and were dropped in a village where the locals were admiring us. We tried hitchhike but when stopped a car the local women run so fast they could and stole our ride. Since it wasn’t many cars passing so we needed to wait for a while but finally a nice Mozambique stopped and gave as a lift to next town called Inchone. It has been quite far away, around 400 km but he was driving crazy…in same point he was reaching 180 km/h and it has been scary. The highway isn’t really broad either so we were sitting like on the needles all the way. Once when he was driving 140 km/h and met a hole in the road so front and back tights broke. Maybe it was a destiny!!! We were stuck on the road for 1-2 hours since he has just one reserve tire and he needed to catch the a lift to the closest town and we stayed to look after the car (we promised don’t steal it 😊). Well we weren’t bored as it was an amazing place and the local children kept the company. The pineapple plantations smelled incredible and we couldn’t see the end of them, and we could get pineapples everywhere for few cents. However we reach safely day’s destination and stayed in a friendly guesthouse with wonderful people, and the driver has learn a lesion as he was driving slowly afterwards.

One day more on the road and we were out the bed 5am, and prepare to get a ride. Luckily we were standing just few minutes when a Serbian guy stopped and picked up and he went to our final destination (600 km away). The distances in Mozambique are really big and there aren’t big cities in between, just small villages. It has been a brilliant ride and we enjoyed our company but on the way we saw less pleasant sigh like a dead human body in middle of the road. The locals were putting branches from the tress around him and he looked like he has been overdriven few times recently. Maybe he was drunk in the night time and the speed limit is really high on this road, and the driver didn’t have time to react in the darkness.

Many people drink and drive since the drinking is a part of culture and causing many problems. We wanted to stop but we realized that we cannot do anything and the locals will take care of him, because we could be in trouble since the police are really corrupt. Actually it hasn’t been easy to forget this terrible sigh because the body was really destroyed. The food almost turn around in our stomachs…. Apart this it has been a great road trip and we really enjoyed the scenery and the landscape changed to palm tree plantations and coconuts on the streets just for few cents. The drive was one of nicest in Africa so far… the palm trees were taking over and your eyes cannot see the end. We came closer to the big town so the sea appeared from the palm tree plantations – magnificent view. Mozambique is becoming our favorite country in Africa so far – fantastic changing landscape, wonderful people and amazing atmosphere. This long trip through the villages hasn’t been easy but really interesting and worth to do through. Our Serbian friend dropped off us in Maxixe’s harbour and we took a short ferry to Inhambane. Yeah, after three days we were at our final destination and we were more than welcomed in our new home for a week (we supposed to stay for three days but every day we extended our stay).

In Inhambane we were staying just a few meters from the beach with a nice company. In fact Inhambane is sleepy and calm town, and quite touristic but not this time of year. The weather has been incredibly hot since family and friends were complaining that it is cold in Sweden so we complained that it is too hot (well it is 65 degrees difference between these countries). It isn’t a big deal in the town and you’ll see everything in a half day but it is nice to stay and relax for few days after this kind of trip. Actually it has been perfect to stay here for a while since we had a great company in the evenings and we could fix Diana’s visa for Australia in the day time. You’ll find cozy pubs and restaurants to try the local food. We have realized that we enjoying much more to stay in one place longer and we get know the locals and the town slowly, and take every moment. We have visited Tofo (25km from Inhambane) which is a tourist magnet and it was too touristic for us since we like to get lost in the local life. Of course it was gorgeous town with white sand beaches, sky blue water and many water activities. Through we met our friend from Serbia who was visiting his friend in Tofo and we were exploring this place together. We were invited to stay in Beira with him so we’ll go to Beira after Vilankulo. It hasn’t been on our plan but you cannot plan so much in Africa. As well we met some CS:ers in this town, visited the local markets and other attractions. It has been rained just one night and we cannot believe that it is rainy season over here. After the heavy rain the house was flooded and thousands mosquitoes found a new home.

Additional photos below
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10th February 2012
Stranded boat in the sunset

Excellent picture. Gives you a real sense of isolation.

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