Location: Maputo, Mozambique
Heading to: Mabane, Swaziland
After our time in Inhambane, we headed to the beach only 22km away- Tofo. A vacation retreat for South Africans (and Mozambiquans) to relax, surf and dive. Tofo isn’t really a town, it’s consists of a few dirt roads- vegetable and fruit sellers, 10 vendors selling the same drinks and snacks, places to stay and some restaurants. It has a surfing vibe- how it must have been in Hawaii in the 60’s and 70’s- not much around except surfing and chilling.
We enjoyed 5 nights there and on our last night finally joined in with a dutch and german guy who prepared fresh seafood everynight. The bought barracuda, kingfish, prawns, crab, lobster whatever struck their fancy/whichever was available from the fisherman. I regreted not joining in earlier. Every night I’d see them cooking and say, yeah, I want to do it too. The agreed I should. Except skinning and gutting a fish isn’t something on my fun list… but they didn’t mind doing it.
On our last night we enjoyed king fish stuffed with tomatoes and onions cooked over bonfire coals. Somehow preparation took 3 hours but it was delicious.
I headed over with the guys to the nearby bar, where they had a band play cover songs and then the dj pretended to know how to play songs to keep a crowd on the dance floor. Needless to say, I never went to sleep and stayed up till I had to be on my bus at 4am to Maputo.
The bus ride was by far the best ride we’ve had in this beautiful country. We had some space for our bodies, weren’t cramped, and the road wasn’t littered with pot holes. Unsure why.
Maputo isn’t anything I would have imagined. It’s a good sized city with plenty of high rise buildings and apartments. Twenty story concrete blocks with laundry blowing in the wind and satelites. The guidebook mentions remnants of Karl Marx and communism and then it all makes sense. The streets are wide, lots of trees in the center divide, lots of cars, people on the street and plenty of western stores. We were in shock to find a 4 story mall filled with small boutique shops. I don’t remember getting on a plane to Miami. hmmm.
We even took advantage and got ourselves haircuts. They washed it too. $18 haircut and wash. It was one of the fastest cuts I’ve had and he chopped 2 inches more than showed him (to cut) but it’s only hair, it will grow. I still think I can do a good job with my pocket knife scissors but after 5 months without a “proper haircut” it was more than luxurious!
People here have been very friendly and helpful. They’ll go out of their way to show you something. On our very last day together- after trying to enter the British embassy, which has a tennis court British citizens can rent- we were told where to go to exchange malawian money. It’s worthless here so banks and foreign exchanges won’t take it. We met a business man who happened to have time on his hands that afternoon- took us to the bank of mocambique and when we couldn’t exchange it there he got money out of the ATM, gave Heather Metacais and took her Malawian kwacha to exchange with his friend who frequents Malawi often. Unexpected. Fortunate.
By midafternoon and all of Heather’s errands accomplished we chilled at a food court in a newly developed mall- where they have a Nike store. Crazy. and a 5 story mall filled with random shops- lots of elegant dress shops, electronics, swimsuits, kids stuff… didn’t cater to clothing for people in their 20’s and 30’s but I was still surprised to see this mall. Their opening a cinema too!
Heather and I then ventured to another nearby cinema playing a terrible romantic comedy- Love and other diasters. Their was no air-conditioning so we were happy to be there at 6pm rather than midday to escape the heat. That wouldn’t have worked. It was deserted being a monday night and we were chatting with the young woman who sold us our tickets. At the end of the movie, we chatted and it came up that her friend was getting her hair weaved on Friday. I want to come. No problem. And then I remember shaking my bum and they said, you should go to Coconuts- the nightspot on weekends!
So in a few hours time after I eat dinner and get a few hours sleep, I hope, I’ll be shaking my thing on a Mozambiquan dance floor with my new friends- Fatima and Arsenia. I spent all day at Fatima’s house watching Arsenia get her hair weaved, then Fatima prepared spagetti with sardines (not too bad) and tomato and onion salad. Then she took me to a nearby place to exchange money and then the both went off to work at the cinema. I’ll see them a bit before midnight.
Heather left for home on Tuesday (morning after the cinema). After hardcore roaming around the whole city for 2.5 days with her, I’ve been taking it a bit easier. I miss her. We made such a great team. Until next time… now I travel solo. will see what happens!
Tomorrow I’ll be minibusing it to Swaziland! A new country! It’s within South Africa. 5hr journey to the capital!