Hot times in Tete

Trip Start Sep 30, 2006
Trip End Dec 24, 2008

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Flag of Mozambique  ,
Tuesday, October 28, 2008

We waved goodbye to Happy and the AUP crew and took the bus down the coast to Lilongwe. We had planned to visit Mozambique but after spending the past seven months in 'third world' countries enough was enough, we felt the pull towards supermarkets, pavements and general order in society so we made the decision to bus it through Mozambique and start visiting modern South Africa, our final country!

The next day it was down to Blantyre and the day after to the border. Mozambique is famous for corruption and our first taste was with the border guards. Do you have a visa he asked. The sign next to him says visa available on arrival price 25$. Why didn't you prepare a visa before he moans, why do you create work for me. Surly its your job I think to issue visas, you are standing at the visa desk. He contemplates the price, 25$ each for the visa, then 3$ each for administration charges, and I think another 2$ each for the form. Ok I say, while my mind is thinking, cheeky. Welcome to Mozambique.

From the border we take a minibus to the next major town, Tete. We get to Tete in the afternoon and its sooo hot, its a dry heat with a hot wind, the Lonely planet says its the hottest place in Mozambique.

There are no more buses onwards, buses are not allowed to drive at night here due to the high rate of accidents so all buses depart at 4am (woo). Next to the bus station is a bar and inside we see a gringo, his name is Michael, he lives in Tete and he says accommodation is hard to find because of a new mine thats just opened. He says we are very welcome to stay at his house for the evening and he can take us to the bus station the next morning.

Its a really kind offer, it would really help us out, but it could be scam. We take a risk and go in a taxi over to his house. Michael is the number one black market alcohol smuggler in Tete, his house is full of Gordon's gin, Morgans whiskey and 20 other types of spirits. He claims to have a source bringing it up from South Africa and he sells it on to all the bars and restaurants in Tete with a 50% profit. 

We drop off our bags and walk to a local restaurant. Michael excuses himself to go outside and smoke and our minds go into overdrive. We've left everything we own in a strangers house we met in a bar and we're not sure where his house is and he's disappeared probably to ring his mates and tell them to get over and take the bags and now he's nowhere to be seen oh dear oh dear I think we've messed up. And then Michael comes back in and we sigh with relief.

After eating we go back to his house to find our bags are still inside the house and in fact he has a security guard sitting next to them, Albert from nearby Zimbabwe, Albert is Michael's friend and like most of the country he has been forced to leave Zimbabwe and look for work. Its a hot topic of conversation in this part of the world, according to locals and the press,  Zambia's economy has been doing really well recently as they have been welcoming all the professional workers leaving Zimbabwe. While Malawi and Mozambique have been more hostile towards the better educated Zimbabweans migrating over.

Albert tells us he met Michael working in the bush at a crocodile farm. A huge farm that incubates and feeds 150,000 crocodiles, feeding them up with vitamins and proteins to slaughter them for the valuable skin which gets used for belts, shoes and bags in the western world. It sounds like a fascinating place to see, not an attraction you find in the Lonely planet and if we had more time a visit would have been on the cards.

We go out in the late afternoon for a drink and a game off pool, eat a typical Portuguese meal that looked like a children's party, it has cocktail sticks peppered all over it for some reason and went to bed, ready to get back up again at 3am.

Cooper Out

love Dan & Kat
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