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Africa » Mozambique » Southern
September 18th 2011
Published: October 1st 2011
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Sunday was quite different than Saturday – mainly because we spent all day being comfortably toasty and didn’t find it to be cold at all. After breakfast it was around 9:30 a.m. and we decided to take a walk before heading to the beach to lie out – we walked to the south of us and there is a beautiful rocky point that we explored there. We agreed that if it was at least 11 a.m. by the time we got back to the room – then we could start drinking without feeling bad about it 😊 Turned out it was past 11 so we popped open a bottle of sparkling wine, toasted a day full of nothing but beach and sun, and took the bottle and glasses to the beach to lay out. There is really no authority here that we can tell and the only thing it said about glass and alcohol on the beach was to be careful with glass on the beach as there is no doctor in the village should you get hurt - Haha… quite remote here to put it mildly.

We spent the afternoon laying out on the beach and relaxing while we enjoyed the spectacular view of the Indian Ocean in front of us. It was a perfect day. However, as beautiful as it was, it was sobering to be reminded of the poverty that also exists here. At one point we were sitting and drinking and enjoying our lunch of dried fruit and nuts and a little boy walked by. I don’t think he spoke English – he just was rubbing his tummy and touching his mouth – Jeff quickly picked up on the fact that he was saying he was hungry and tossed him what was left of our nuts, to which the boy seemed grateful. We felt bad that we didn’t have more food to give him.

Later in the afternoon we had a first-hand look at how poverty and desperation can make people do crazy things. We were sitting on the beach enjoying ourselves and talking. There was one older woman to the right of us a ways down and then past her there was a group of young adults (maybe 5 people) all laying on a towel. There were also two girls lying in the water that I think were with that group of 5. So as we are sitting there, we notice this young Mozambican man walk up in front of where everyone is – he was maybe around 20. He had a huge gaping hole in the inside right leg of his pants and looked a little off. He was walking around slowly and just staring at everyone. Finally he walked in front of us and then next to us on our left and then proceeded to stand behind us – just staring. We started getting a funny feeling about him so we flipped over so we could see him and pulled our backpack closer to us, all the while he just continued to stare at all the people on the beach. As time went on he would pick people to get close to – first the older woman, but she was awake and looking back at him, then the group of young girls, who were all asleep. He was getting closer and closer to them – scoping them out. He also would get close to the two girls in the water from time to time – just watching everyone. He was so obvious about it that at one point Jeff and I were staring at him, the older woman was staring at him, and a guy on the beach in front of us (who was with the sleeping girls) had his hands on his hips and was staring right at him. None of this deterred him though. We thought for sure he was going to take something from those girls and run since they were all asleep and unaware of him at that time. They woke up though, thank goodness and turned around – which made him step back slightly. He went back to the top of the beach and sat down so he could look down and watch everyone. He kept putting his hand in his pants too which was really odd and we didn’t know if it meant he had a weapon of some sort … Jeff started packing our stuff which got the guys attention and so then he started staring at us again – maybe thinking Jeff was leaving and I was staying… who knows what he was thinking but that is not what was happening. Anyway, at some point the older woman had had enough and she packed up and started walking off the beach – to our horror this man pops up and starts following her closely. So Jeff says to me “pack up now – let’s go” and for once in my life I listened to him immediately without question. I was packing up and simultaneously waving to this woman to come back. She did turn around and see me, and also saw this man following her and she started looking for someone to help her. She saw a man sitting there near her and I guess she went to ask him for help … she later told us he was so drunk he couldn’t speak and that he invited her into his room – what is wrong with people?? So anyway – Jeff and I caught up with her and told her we were going to walk with her. She was terrified. So the three of us start walking together and can you believe this guy again starts following closely behind with his hand in his pocket. At this point I was terrified because clearly this man was desperate and crazy as he had the balls to follow all three of us in broad daylight. We were right next to our hotel so as soon as we reached the entrance we popped in there to find security (a joke) and luckily ran into a couple we dove with the day before. So now there were 5 of us, 6 actually because a staff member came up too. I guess this was enough to deter him because the man kept walking – and he was incidentally joined by another man who had been sleeping on the beach above us who we thought was harmless – but it looks as if they were in this little operation together. Jeff was not about to leave me and we were not about to let this woman walk by herself now – so we offered to walk with her to her place – to which she gratefully said "yes please!" We walked her to her place and watched her lock herself inside. We then went to our room to drop our stuff off and then decided we didn’t feel like sitting on the beach anymore.

Jeff was all pumped up from thinking he was going to smash a bottle over this guy’s head to protect us – so he suggested we walk off the adrenaline on the beach, a suggestion he later regretted as it became a 2+ hour power walk complete with wind resistance. When he said let’s walk I was thinking let’s walk to the point on our left (we are in the middle of what looks like a “u” with a point of land on either side of us). The thing is that with no points of reference (houses, people, etc) land looks much closer than it is. And once I had it in my head we were going to reach that point – I was not turning around until we did. We had an hour long debate over whether the point really even existed as Jeff said the point itself was probably a mile long… I think he may have been right about that, but regardless I needed to reach a definitive point to be satisfied. Thank goodness I finally found a point where I could see to my left and into the next little cove. I ran to it and jumped on it with excitement. However, Jeff was all too ready and excited to show me that he was right. He stood on my point with me and asked me if I could see the hotel – to which I responded that actually I couldn’t at all. So maybe that wasn’t the point that you see from the hotel – but it was the end of it I said. This debate went on and on as then he wanted me to show him where this elusive point started – if that was the end. Ahhhh… the differences in how we think… between a practical numbers / map person and a feeling / intuitive person. I just had a feeling that that was the point and proving it or explaining it didn't matter at all.

As we got back to our hotel – finally – we decided to jump in the ocean as it was our last opportunity (for now) to swim in the Indian Ocean. The waves were really rough and rolled in one right after the other – so it was a quick dip, but fun nonetheless. We went to get ready for dinner and experienced some more “fun” as our shower head was malfunctioning and the bathroom flooded – not only did the bathroom flood but the tub didn’t drain – so we were swimming in water. To top it off we ran out of hot water again so it was a cold shower… There are no phones in the rooms so we had no way to call anyone. We decided to just head to dinner and let them know on our way. We did just that and they said they would send someone up. We enjoyed a great dinner and headed back to the room to sit and have some Mozambican beers and listen to the ocean.

When we got back to our room we checked out the bathroom only to realize they had done absolutely nothing. So we had to march down there (again, no phone) to sort this out. Culture differences or not, I was out of patience and ready to give them an ear full. When we got there we explained again that we needed them to come to fix our bathroom. The staff member that helped us was polite and said that they had had a complaint from the room below us that water was leaking down from their ceiling. He said he went in our room to check to see if that was the source of the water – but that our room was dry. Jeff and I could not contain our laughter as this was so obvious to us! The water from our bathroom must have leaked into the room below. Maybe there was no standing water in our bathroom anymore, but how did he not see the piles and piles of sopping wet towels all over the floor? We told him that the water probably was leaking from our room as our bathroom was flooded but now there is no standing water as it all leaked downward… I don’t think he understood anything we were saying though. He said he would come check it out. So we popped open some beers and waited… and waited… Finally he came and looked in the bathroom for not even a minute, and then when I told him the water was gone because it likely leaked downstairs – he said he was going to go look downstairs for it!!??? So another hour later we were still waiting for him. Finally he comes back and asks us if we want to change rooms to which we replied no as we were leaving the next day. We asked him to send someone to clean the bathroom and bring fresh towels as we just wouldn’t use the shower anymore. That actually happened fairly quickly and the whole thing was finally resolved.

Again, it made for a comical experience at least.
It’s Monday morning now and we are getting ready to pack up, head to breakfast, and then drive to Durban for our afternoon flight to Cape Town. We are looking forward to being in a modern city again and to all the creature comforts that that entails!
Check ya later – J and V


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