Mozambique - See and eat everything under the Sea

Trip Start Jan 20, 2005
Trip End Dec 27, 2005

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Sunday, July 17, 2005

Well, we are really starting to hit our groove in Africa. From Cape Town we worked our way along the coast by bus and stopped in a few towns to enjoy the coast. We stopped in Mossel Bay and enjoyed a great hike along the cliffs of the coast for 5 kilometers. The coast here reminds us so much of northern California. It is really stunning. The towns are also very much like being back in California and very western. We later stopped off in Knysna where they were having an Oyster Festival. It's a nice little town, but we didn't have any oysters. Although I did get to play some poker -and lost-, we enjoyed the waterfront activities. Later we stopped in Durban where we just missed a huge surfing competition that had gone on the week before. It's a big city with a long beach front. We hung out at the beach and got our visas for Mozambique.

To be honest, while South Africa was a beautiful place with its amazing coastline, for V and I it didn't feel like Africa. Most of the towns are so westernized and pretty much owned by people of European decent, we were looking forward to getting on to Mozambique. If we had a car and time, we would have liked to explore the interior of South Africa and this is where you would find more of the real Africa I am sure.

We took a bus from Durban to Maputo through Swaziland and it only took about 8 hours. It would have taken less time, but the bus attendant insisted on fighting the Customs authorities at the border. They wanted her to unload the bus' luggage for them to inspect, and she refused saying this never happened and if they wanted to see the luggage they would have to pull it out themselves. Man, it's the same everywhere, you can't argue with someone in Uniform or they just make your life more difficult. She spent an hour arguing, then finally did it and we were on our way in 15 minutes....

We spent a couple nights in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. This country used to be a Portuguese colony and thus the city is full of old, architecturally interesting buildings painted in bright colors and with some real style to them. Most are quite run down, but it is a terrific city to wander around and imagine what it used to look like while appreciating it as a diamond in the rough. It's a fun city too and it has the constant activity of a heavily populated African city. Different from the towns/cities we were in in SA and Namibia. The people are extremely colorful and friendly. They all speak Portuguese and so V is our official spokesperson for Team Volpe - though she doesn't want to use her Spanish as much as she could. I make up for knowledge of the language by sheer willingness to make a fool of myself. We make a great team, she lobs me a couple phrases in Spanish and I try to say them in my best Portuguese accent - whatever that is- so far I haven't been beaten or spat on, and we've gotten most everything we wanted - though some answer back in English - they must hear my slight American Accent.

We spent a couple nights out in Maputo as the city is really vibrant at night, though we didn't want to walk around after dark. We went to a fish market with a group from our Backpacker hostel where we got to buy extremely fresh seafood from the wives of local fishermen, then have the restaurants nearby grill up everything. Amazing food. We bought a Kilogram -2.5 pounds- of HUGE Tiger Prawns - these babies where like small lobsters each about 8-10 inches long- for only 8 bucks. We got a small snapper for about 2 dollars. The restaurant grilled them up and kept them moist in a butter/garlic/Turmeric sauce. My god, those things were heaven with a cold M2 Beer. We stuffed ourselves on all the seafood. Another night, we enjoyed a few drinks and some dancing at a local Brazilian /Jazz/Blues/ Jamaican fusion bar. Was pretty good live music. The town has a lot of Jazz bars and other live music. Great place to really enjoy yourself.

We probably should have gotten more sleep, but had to get up at 5:30am to get on our bus for Inhambane on the coast where we were going to the beach. The bus ride was on an ancient bus jammed with locals to the point where there was standing room only. The roads were pretty rough and the 500 kilometers took about 9 hours. We then got a small buss out to the little village of Tofo where we are staying in a hut near the beach. When I say hut, I mean, it is bamboo poles, with some palm leaves covering it and two mats on the ground. We do have a Mosquito net though so we're pretty happy with it. They also have a nice bar on a hill overlooking the wide stretch of white beach on the Indian Ocean.

We're going to do some diving tomorrow to see the huge Mantas they have here and hopefully a whale Shark which are frequently around here. Other than that, we are just enjoying the beach, relaxing and tonight we are going to buy some fresh seafood from the fishermen and cook up a pasta feast with some folks we met at the backpacker. Life is really rough ;)

We're heading north in a couple days to enjoy yet another beautiful beach and more diving. It just keeps getting rougher! Though the roads are pretty bad, so we suffer a little bit ;)
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