Monday, February 8, 2010

10 things about Mozambique...

1. Ruins: Mozambique was once under Portuguese rule, so the Portuguese built beautiful buildings throughout Mozambique. Especially on Ilha De Mocambique, which had a stone town full of old ruins... the building below was a church on a pennisula in Mozambique (had to take a dhow boat from Ilha De Mocambique)2. Transport: We travelled by many means in Mozambique... the last two were perhaps the most novel - Train (See below) and bicycle (you had to get a ride on the back of a bike from Mozambique into Malawi! - the guys had to carry our packs and all on the bikes... felt so sorry for them (UNTIL they tried to rip us off majorly... and suceeded)
Other means we travelled by were boat, trucks, utes and buses. There are two types of buses in Mozambique... your common 'Chapas' - run down mini-buses in which they cram as many into as possible, on which you are usually stuck in one position for times of upto 10 hours... bring on the DVT!!! They are serious hell sometimes... and also not for the faint hearted, as most of them are driven by 19 year old maniacs.
The other option are the BIG buses... we welcomed these with big grins as we thought they would be a nice break from 'Chapas' - how wrong we were! The first attempt left us being driven into some dodgy side street by these 4 18 year olds running it, they then locked the bus (with us in it) and left it to go to a bar!!! It was a huge storm outside and only us and one other guy on this huge bus... it was quite scary. Eventually someone came out and said the bus would continue, but the driver was rotten drunk... uhhhh no thanks. Tim and I promptly left... and walked though the pitch black in these local streets... saturated and when I didn't think it could get any worse a car went past and sprayed muddy, shitty, filthy water all over us.... and yes IN MY MOUTH!! Our second big bus adventure was the next morning after a sleep in a local guesthouse... it took around 13 hours... it was hot and disgusting. Oh and I got left behind in some town!! I got out to go to the toilet (you have little choice but to go behind fences or whatever you can find in the main streets), and was mid-pee when I look around and the bus is driving off!!! I finished, pulled up my pants (10 locals staring at me) and started sprinting down the road screaming STOP... I seriously thought I was a goner... I had no money on me or anything!! The whole town was running with me laughing and thinking it was a great time... eventually just out of town the bus stopped... and the whole bus laughing at me... except Tim who had run to the front of the bus screaming at them to stop also... I now hold on to go to the toilet!!
3. Weather: Mozambique can be unbearably hot and humid one minute... and producing tropical storms the next. The photo below was taken in Nampula from our hotel window... of the 3 nights we were there... a HUGE storm came through each evening and flooded everything.
Humidity was a killer... I think I have lost 5kgs due to sweating alone!!

4. Beaches: The beaches in Mozambique are "bloody beautiful" - they are the ideal place to kick back and relax... although watch out when walking on the sand... IT BURNS!! I have never walked on such hot sand in my life... every time was like walking on burning red coals... the locals thought it was quite hillarious watching us go along the sand screaming "ow ow ow ow ow ffffkkkkkkkkkk". Also the sea life is amazing... through snorkelling and diving we have seen wonderful coral, fish etc
5. Roads: The roads in Mozambique need massive work... one word can sum them up pretty well - POTHOLES (is that one or two words? I seem to have lost all literacy skills) they are everywhere, and I have numerous bumps on my head from smacking the top of the mini-buses when hitting the potholes. The government are slowly working with a Chinese company to fix some of the roads. I'd safely say half the roads in Mozambique are just dirt and mud!!
6. Food: The food in Mozambique was generally pretty good... although sometimes it could be hard to find a meal! I got a little sick of chicken, chips and rice.... but I was cured of this sickness when we hit the beaches or islands... as seafood quickly filled my tummy!!! Did I mention FULL lobsters for 4 aussie dollars?! Ate like a king!
7. Electricity: The electricity could not be relied upon... as it was frequently cutting out (Especially in storms)... Mozambique has the Cahorra Bassa damn which is the 5th largest in the World (We didn't end up visiting this due to plan changes) - so it creates a hell of a lot of electricity... unfourtunately, the Mozambiquan government sells the majority of this to South Africa... leaving LITTLE for themselves... go figure...
8. Mosquitos: I feel I need to pledge my life to finding a way to exterminate every last mosquito on this planet... they are vermin carrying PESTS!! I hate them... and no matter how much deet or protection I use they feed on me nightly... I'm just awaiting malaria to hit.
9. Mountains: See last blog-Penhalonga.... the mountains in Mozambique were beautiful and a relief as no mosquitoes hung around up that high!!
10. People: The people of Mozambique were mostly friendly and welcoming... they have had some hard times, but have stuck through it and are working hard to build their country up. We met some lovely locals who were always willing to help us out with whatever we needed. As in most countries... watch out for the rip-off merchants... tourists are their favourite targets!!!
Note: We didn't end up heading into Malawi straight away like I mentioned in the last blog... we headed west and up the coast of Mozambique and then across the country to enter Malawi (this was due to Visa issues entering Tanzania from Mozam), we are now in Blantyre, Malawi :)

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