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2019 Adventure – Mozambique

Wednesday: October 2, 2019

Here is another post for my 2019 Adventure! Remember, I plan to keep these simple with a short introduction, then show the sites and the eats, along with a favorite memory or two. If you want more details, just ask in a comment or through here :)

Before I get into anything, I want to remind everyone that Mozambique recently suffered greatly from Cyclone Idai (along with Zimbabwe and Malawi). While there, we had been asked where we were from by a local. To our response of USA, he thanked us for our help in funding efforts to restore communities. It really does matter where you donate your money to, and the people really do appreciate it. Do your part, when you can, as we are all on Earth together.

On July 5th, we took an overnight flight on TAP to the capital city of Mozambique: Maputo. We had Saturday, Sunday, and Monday to explore. As our first foray to the African continent, we were unaware of a major cultural difference that really hindered our exploration – people stay home on weekends which means stores and activities are closed, too. We didn’t know this at the time, though, so we interpreted the dead capital city center as a dead city. It really cast a negative shadow on our perspective of the city and how safe we felt. One of the techniques I use when traveling around in the States is to look at the type of cars in the area I’m in – if they look alright, then my safety is probably alright; if they are junky cars, maybe I should be more on point in security-minded awareness. That doesn’t translate well, though, to an economy less fortunate where cars are luxuries, even the “junky” ones. My brother suggested one of the techniques he picked up on in his travels: look at the male-to-female ratio. In essence, if women are out and about, it’s probably fine (though I did also watch to see how closely guarded they kept their purses, another layer of understanding safety in strange environments I picked up). This really added to the shadow feeling, though, because we really only saw single young men or groups of young men. Some were clearly destitute (washing themselves in a plugged storm drain), and others seemed to glare at us. It felt very unwelcoming, even though our host assured us that we would be safe. Our apartment was literally adjacent to Mozambique’s presidential palace (their White House equivalent), but that only added to the matter as the area seemed quite run-down and the palace grounds blocked all easy walking routes to downtown (it provided a lot of wandering peacocks, though!). Looking back, it was all just a bit of culture shock and my brother and I agree that we need to give Maputo and Mozambique another go before we make any claims to our experiences there. But I mention all of this to explain why the only photos I have don’t involve the outdoors at all – we were naively too afraid to take out a camera and snap a photo. How unfortunate!

The places (for all maps: Red = airport; Blue = overnight; Pink = short stop; Green = Day trip; Yellow = Border crossing; Brown = Train):

What we saw:

What I ate:

Most notable memory:

I don’t have a photo for any favorite memory, but I included this one just to show that I tried something new on this trip, which did begin in Maputo. I usually keep a travel log of my activities (in the hopes that I’ll make a scrapbook someday), but this time I decided to try a visual log. This is the title page, and, if you are curious for more, it will be shown some on my other site (whenever I get around to that). As for memories, well, you read in the introduction that we didn’t have the most exciting time here. We planned several things, and mentioned them to our host, and I guess there was miscommunication all around because she didn’t explain that certain things were closed – we made the journeys to get where we needed to be, sometimes even arranged by her for a taxi, only to find the place closed each day. It was frustrating! So my favorite memory, I guess, happened the day we left Maputo. We were unsure our arranged taxi would be timely, based on a prior experience, so we scheduled it to be quite early. Of course, he wasn’t just on time – he was early, too! What luck. Because of timing, the office wasn’t open yet and we felt very conspicuous with all of our bags just hanging on an empty street in a place we felt (at the time) like we were surely targets of a crime about to take place at any moment. I mean, it was still pitch black. After a while, as the sun attempted to say hello, the employees came and let us in to sit for a while until the bus arrived, where we faced the desk rather than the window. Eventually, we loaded the bus and were finally able to see the street in the light of day. We were both happily shocked to see the city had become a bustling and vibrant place (with women!) and were sad we didn’t get to experience that part of it. It was just a fun surprise that turned our perspective back around (especially once we learned about the weekend culture of the region! Every country we visited was pretty much closed down for the weekends.).

 

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