Bvumba to Maputo

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Africa » Mozambique » Southern » Maputo
August 20th 2010
Published: November 15th 2010
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A hectic day of travelling and not really getting very far. The hostel owner's husband drives to Mutare daily for work, so he picks us up on his way past, then drops me at a random junction. I hitch a lift to the border in a pick up truck along with another random, he then luckily offers to help with my backpack. So I get stamped out of Zim. and get a visa into Moz. for only $9. Next is a chapas, minibus taxi, to Chomoio, but as usual I attract some strange local. It seems many Zims pop across the border to go shopping as it's cheaper in Moz and there is a higher availability of imported items such as trainers. 2 of the people I meet are going to buy trainers, one is going to buy spaghetti! The artist next to me soon decides we should have artistic children together, a common theme to my conversations with the local men. I don't have change for the chapas so he pays, although this back fires as he leaves early so at the end of the ride the conductor demands I pay again or he won't release my bag from the boot, how annoying! It's about an hour to Chomoio, a very small town but I manage to find the internet, not by asking directions as people don't seem to know what it is, just random wandering helps. After an hour wandering with my backpacks, and only a muesli bar since breakfast, I'm about to pass out. Luckily a bloke helps me find the right bus to Beira as there are no flights out of here today to speed up my journey. It's another 3 hours to Beira, in a very cramped bus, but better than the chapas. I have to pay extra for my backpack as it takes up too much space. An argument breaks out as the only seats left are the flip ones in the aisle and there are 3 women in their 50s wanting to sit down, their excuse is that they are big women, but it doesn't make any men swap with them. From Beira a man helps me find another chapas to the airport and another man tries to pay for me, as I am being charged double again he argues with the conductor then refuses to pay, this time it's in Portuguese but I claim to not understand. Lucky this man can also speak English as I wouldn't have even noticed the airport, it's so tiny. I manage to buy some flights, at inflated prices due to being last minute, but can't pay by card as the system is down, and I can't exchange my dollars as the change places are closed for a holiday. That would explain why there are hundreds of children running around the whole airport like it's a playground. As I get money from the ATM, I attract their attention, not as beggars but as I am a novelty. By the time the money comes out, I have over 30 kids crowded round me, I could be the pied piper and run off with them, they can't stop staring at me, open mouthed.

Maputo is a very nice city, doesn't seem very African either, almost European. The map from the hostel is slightly worrying, the key only has 2 items, areas to avoid at night and areas to avoid at all times, delightful! I walk around the town and it seems safe enough to me, there are some rich areas with large brand shops. For lunch I try out the fish market. First a chef takes you around and asks you what you'd like to eat, he then picks the best specimens depending on how you want it cooked. I opt for a clam starter, followed by grilled prawns and a whole fish. Eyes bigger than belly! We then go round the back where he finds me a table, brings over some beer and garlic bread then the sea food delights. I am full after the clams so then the 16 huge prawns are a struggle. Good job he has a doggy bag for half the prawns and fish! I then cannot physically move for 2 hours and have to lay down!

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