It’s Ramadan, and during this time most people hate travelling. Somehow though it always happens with me that I get sent away to some African country. First year in Jhb and lucky I was sent to Madagascar about 2 weeks after Ramadan. Second year in Jhb [last year] I get sent to Accra, Ghana. This year the beginning of my third year I get sent to a country on South Africa’s doorstep, yet I haven’t visited till now…Mozambique.
I started typing this delightful blog entry in Maputo, but it got forgotten when the workload came in. So excuse the late posting of this here simple piece…
So here I sit in Maputo typing this and wondering how much longer to go till I can break my fast. Supposed to be paying attention to the training programme that Inter Press Service Africa is running with journalists from all over Africa, but my priority is food right now.
Maputo is an awesome place. I’m one of those weird types who loves travelling Africa. So far every country I’ve been to is awesome in my book. And Maputo is no different.
Flight sadly was delayed so landed only at 9pm [SA and Maputo share the same time zone]. But the plane ride alone was an experience and a half. If you’ve been on a rollercoaster you know the feeling when it falls and the pit of your stomach just goes upside down. Well it was exactly like that. Travelling in a brand spanking new LAM small plane – smaller then the conventional plane we use travelling between cities in SA – the take off went smooth but the ride just got bumpy. Any turbulence hit sent the plane up and down like a rollercoaster — only thing missing was the loop the loops and the funny twists and turn.
Landing the first thing I noticed was that Maputo is a brightly lit city, no different from Johannesburg or Cape Town, BUT the streets are heavily lit and not really the houses. An oddity to say the least.
The hotel we were accommodated in was the same one the conference would be held in. the Fanrpan dialogue, would be an interesting one as only their name alone can suggest. FANRPAN = Food Agriculture Natural Resources and Policy Analysis Network – Regional Policy dialogue.
Yes that’s exactly what I attended. A mouthful and a half to say the least.
So first thing was worrying about sehri for the next morning. Yes I know as a traveller, I did not have to fast but I wanted to and I also felt that I needed to as my journey was not a difficult one and neither was it an entirely different time zone. So I fasted and it was easy. [well some what easy – have to admit I had moments where I wished I wasn’t fasting but I kept them all]
Sehri was provided by the hotel kitchen before I headed to sleep. Two rolls and some butter. Its very hard trying to communicate with them if they only speak Portuguese. Water in my hotel room and I was sorted for suhoor. Why didn’t i just order room service? well for one it ends at midnight and two because they were terribly expensive! No idea why but they were!
I was lucky that my old housemate Zakiyya’s sister is married and staying in Maputo as well. Hajra took it upon herself to make sure I had food for iftaar and sehri every day till I left. Thanks to her I was sorted for the one week from Monday till Friday. But the Friday to Sunday I fended for myself. I had carried some Kajoor so that again was no problem, the hunger and thirst though was madness. Use to head straight out from the conference to my room and hunt for some chips [crisps] and junk food.
After though I royally indulged in the delicacies that make Mozambique famous. Portuguese chicken, fresh fish, crab curry, prawns and even a huge lobster was on the menu for me when I joined my colleagues for supper around the town.
I think I most probably put on more weight in Maputo then I have ever done in any other Ramadan.
I hunted for a mosque near where we stayed, but found none sadly. I was though shown one on one of the field trips slightly out of the city. Managed to catch Iftaar with some of the locals. Portuguese bread is amazing. Not like the synthetic rolls we get here. 🙂
definitely my highlight moment.
Next blog… all about Maputo.