The sound of my thongs slapping against the wet, muddy footpath irritated me with each step I took... and I wasn't stepping - I was running, running to get to the Mozambique Consulate before it closed, and locked my Mozambique Visa behind its doors.
Our day had begun at 8am, we had to apply for and pick up our visa's all in one day if we were to catch our bus to Maputo, Mozambique the next morning. It was basically a logistical nightmare to begin with... we had to call the consulate at 8:30am, get the price, and their account details off them so we could deposit the cost of the Visa's in their bank account (why they don't accept payment at the consulate I do NOT know!), then we had to get passport photos, physically go to the consulate and fill out forms in Portuguese translated into broken English, pay more money for the forms themselves, hand-over our passports, and kill 4 hours before they would be ready.
I was keen to see a movie to waste time, so we headed for the Rosebank Mall and purchased 2 tickets to Invictus (a suitable movie considering we were in Sth Africa) - we were late for this and missed the first 10 mins... luckily Clint Eastwood didn't make the plot too tricky to follow! I managed to concentrate during the movie and enjoyed the air conditioned comfort (considering we had walked an hour in the heat to get to the consulate that morning) - a great quote from the film, which is a little off topic - "I am the master of my fate, and the captain of my soul"
Post-movie we did some shopping for dinner and lunch the next day... upon exiting the mall we were met with TORRENTIAL rain, lightening, thunder and flooded footpaths... we had an hour to get to the consulate before it closed and we needed to get moving... we put all our valuables in a plastic bag and headed into the rain (We were saturated within 30 seconds).
An opportunity for a shortcut was suggested, and so it was taken... 40 minutes later of walking through rain and random residential streets it dawned upon us that we were in fact walking in the OPPOSITE direction to the consulate... I may have nearly cried if it wasn't for the ball of delirious anger boiling in my stomach!!
We had no choice... no cabs were available, and we had NO IDEA which bus to get, and from where - we had to get there on foot! I took the lead with my thongs slapping away (kicking up mud all over my skirt... yes I had to run in a skirt). Tim decided to risk it and took off his thongs completely - let me tell you, I was in NO WAY going to risk AIDS from a needle prick!! The only thing keeping me running was thinking of the story of "Invictus" and the struggles others in the past had experienced... surely I could stand this short run in the rain if others have fought through much worse!? Also I had offloaded the shopping and backpack to Tim to give me a greater advantage of making the distance hahaha!
20mins and 3kms later, we arrived at the door of the consulate looking like drowned rats - I straightened up and tried to casually stroll in like nothing was wrong (I looked like I had been swimming by this stage). "Ohhhh you are luccckkyy I was just about to lock up!" says the receptionist - Tim slams our receipts on the counter, and our Visa's are retrieved from a safe... relief flows freely through my mind.
As we left the consulate, Tim realised his backpack had swung open when we were running... leaving a trail of food behind (needless to say it wasn't there when we retraced our steps). Living on a budget had translated to donating food to the locals of Joburg!
Refusing to walk one step further we hailed a cab and negotiated a fair price... as we drove back to the hostel I couldn't help thinking "this is not the type of trip I envisaged"... but looking back on it now, I figure the struggles we endure make the victories sweeter (just like in 'Invictus').
In other news... I'm damn well looking forward to sitting on my butt for a 9 hour bus drive to Maputo tomorrow!! Bring on the seafood and beaches!!!