Remembering the Senses

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I’ve been promising to write all I can about my trip about a month and a half back to Maputo, Mozambique. But along the way I lost the plot a bit. This is me here trying to rectify this little mishap.

Listening to Nickelback blasting in my ears and writing this hear quick summary of Maputo. Hoping the pics below express more then my words. As words fail me when describing places. It’s all about the senses when you travel Africa.

The sight, smells, sounds and tastes are hard to put down on paper. Maputo is no different. The experience there is nothing compared to Johannesburg and anywhere in South Africa for that matter.

Maputo ‘International’ Airport is small…no wait its TINY… in comparison to OR Tambo International. Security is almost non-existent… except every bag checked through is scanned and checked for items that can somehow be used to bribe you the traveller into parting with a few meticas (me-ti-cash) [local currency] or ZA Rands or US dollars… kaching!!

Balcony allows you a view of the runway…stand there long enough and if an Boeing lands [one of few that would land there] you can lose an eardrum. Or 2.

lady farming

Maputo’s climate reminded me very much of my hometown Durban. I mean I was there in winter and its so hot outside that I can walk around in t-shirt and 3quaters. But at night a light pull over was needed. Lovely beautiful weather. Streets dusty and lined with sand. Sand running through my toes. Hair flying in the wind. Cool salty breeze from the ocean a street or two away.

Maputo is even more chilled then Cape Town and I have no idea if that’s a compliment of insult to Cape Town. Siesta on a Friday in Maputo is a 2 hour lunch break…don’t expect to get anything done at all during that time. Not even a street vendor in sight.

Decided on the one day off that I had, that I would tour the town. And tour I did. Not only was I fasting but I had this insane idea that I could walk about 20km plus with out eating and drinking just so that I could discover the fish market, the fruit and vegetable market and take to the beach and ocean.

Sand flying everywhere walk I did. The fish market for me was something else. Walking through rows and rows of freshly caught fish, lobsters the size of my arms, tiger prawns, mussels, crabs as big as my head was wow.

Locals bargaining is definitely a sight to witness. Not that I understood much since Portuguese is foreign to me. The market ends with rows and rows of restaurants…waiters lining up to take your freshly chosen fish or squid or what ever you bought to make it up in the most amazing Portuguese basting around.

Only reason I know this is because we headed there for supper the one night and I ate the lobster that I had eyed out at the market the day before. Yes the same one that was as big as my arm. The multicoloured lovely fleshy lobster. I think the entire meal came to less then half of what you would pay in a South African restaurant. Lobster done Portuguese style over an open flame… amazing.

Not only that I think I ate most of my week away at nights. Nandos has nothing on original flame grilled Portuguese chicken. I think they need a lesson in that one.

Ok enough on the food, more about the place. Maputo like the rest of Mozambique is recovering from a civil war. You can still spot bullet holes here and there and the occasional demolished building. But it’s a thriving city. Lined with loads of development. Sky scrapers popping up everywhere and all Chinese investments at that.

They say you can judge a country by its roads…well Maputo has loads of work to do on their roads then. Potholes make JoBurg roads look safe. But then again no on in Maputo drove over 60km/h from what I saw. There were a few late night dodge mad capped drivers but in the 10 days I was there only saw 3 of those types. Every other person drove so slow I felt like telling them to step on it.

The police though and army officials are dodge. As soon as they notice you a foreigner well I hope to god you have your passport on you. Bribery is nothing compared to how hard they can make a simple stroll from where you just ate to the hotel a misery even though its only half a km away. ALWAYS carry your PASSPORT in where ever you go in Maputo!!!

Mozambique’s population is one of the poorest around but they definitely try hard to make an honest living. Selling oranges on the street that are peeled and cut at the top so that you can squeeze the juice out, to selling sim cards and credit and gum to even running someones stall at the market, they try. Outside the city on one of our excursions to a cashew factory and to where they grow vegetables to sell at the market I saw something amazing.

A tall towering stadium being constructed. Yes 2010 means enough to them as it means to us. New stadium in a poor area, because South Africa is willing to share some training matches with the neighbouring countries. Goose bump inducing moment. I only hope that the money was used in the best way and Mozambique can benefit while it watches its people suffer from hunger and floods and diseases.

Check out the pics

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