Finally at the beach again

Trip Start Sep 12, 2006
Trip End Dec 23, 2007

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Flag of Mozambique  ,
Monday, November 12, 2007

The next morning we rose at 4 am, and made our way to the bus station. As we were ready to board our bus, yet another surprise: the tickets we purchased the day before were only for us, but apparently not our luggage. That was going to cost extra. We raised a big stink and the driver and conductor said if we refuse to pay, we can hold our 70 L, 18 kg bags on our lap the whole way. There was principle involved here so like stubborn little kids we said "Fine" and took the bags and put them on our lap. So here we were squished in a tight seat, intended for 4, but seating 5 adults, and our knees tight against the seat in front of us, and our huge packs on our lap. We managed to withstand this for the first 2 hours, but at the first stop, we squeezed one bag where our legs were, and put the other one horizontally on our seat and sat on it. This was much more comfortable! The ride was relatively similar to the rest. The driver was especially mean to people on the bus, squeezing extra people and luggage, to the point that the conductor got on the bus, and would barricade himself in by taking luggage in through the window and placing them against the door. The bus was not equipped to fit this much luggage and had no roof rack. At one pint they tried to tie some bags to the roof, but in full motion on the highway one bag fell off and seemingly fell completely apart dispersing the entire contents all over the road. Without so much as a sorry to the passenger whose bag was destroyed and the contents wrecked, the conductor got out, gathered some of the stuff together and tied it in a shawl and through it back on the bus.

All stops on this bus were very difficult, since it too about 10 minutes to un-barricade the door each time. In this time, the driver was out and having a smoke and a cold drink, and the 30 of us sat boiling on the bus while we waited to get out to stretch our legs.

After about 11 hours we finally arrived in Vilanculo, the premier vacation spot in Mozambique according to the guide book. It is a small quiet town (when not overrun with tourist South Africans in December and January). We made our way to Zombie Cucumber backpackers, a small little place right by the beach owned by an English couple. We decided to stay in a dorm since prices seemed quite high (dorm was $10/person/night). The receptionist dude, rightfully named Grande, took us into a small 'building'. It had a smooth circular concrete floor about 8 meters in diameter. It had 3 foot high concrete walls and then another 4 feet of thatched bamboo walls, and then a one to two feet space. The roof was thatched and laying on thin mats around the circle of the room were 8 mattresses, each with its own mosquito net. This really was quite basic. Everything was neatly painted and clean, but uber basic. We were shocked that this was the cheapest place in town for $10 a night. But is did also have a common lounge/bar, hammocks, a pool and small cabins. Seemed everything was great (except for price). We dropped our stuff, cleaned up and went out on the town to get some food. We found a 12 year old boy John, who had walked us to show us where The Cucumber was, and asked where we can get cheap food. He took us to the market and we wandered around thin walkways and into kinda darkish alleyways and he bobbed his head into small places but seemingly none had fish. Finally he did find a place that would serve rice and fish for about $2. Seemed perfect and we sat down outside with John and a couple of his friends. This seemed really to be behind the market and completely away from the rest of the town. As we ate, we both remembered that Mozambique was described as generally safe but to avoid isolated areas and situations. Here we were, just the two of us, well out of sight from anyone else, and who knows if there ever was a tourist where we were, sitting with 4 teenage locals, seemingly smiling at us. If that was not enough we decided we needed a picture so we decided we needed a picture, and gladly handed over our camera to one of them, while the others lined up for the shot. By all accounts we were WAY to trusting, and if they took off with the camera we would really only be able to blame ourselves, but they did not, they eagerly brought us a beer, did not overcharge and invited us back for breakfast. This was a super experience and we had a super time. From there we weaved our back through market, and back to the Cucumber to get some much needed rest after 4 days of travel. We both slept great, as the temperature at night drops to the low twenties.   
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