Read part 1 here.
Mini tour of Maputo
As exhausted as we were when we got off the bus, I had tons of energy because I was so excited to be in Maputo, I couldn’t wait to immerse myself in a new culture and try learn a new language! First things first though, we had to meet our hosts and get to a bureau to change money. At the Intercape office we met the family that was going to host my cousin Tania and Rose. The mother and daughter played tour guide and took us to the nearest bureau. During the search we had to split up and Tania and I got to ride a Chapella with her hosts daughter Patricia.
Chapellas are fun but dangerous little things, no side doors to protect you should things go wrong. Everytime the driver took a sharp turn we held on for dear life! Check out the videos below, one of the ride in the chapella and one of us driving through the city in Tania’s host mum’s car.
If you watch the second video closely you will see that they park everywhere! If you find a free space, you can park there. Even the traffic islands in the middle of the road where normally no one would park are completely covered with cars day and night! There are obviously more cars than the city was planned for. The streets are narrow and picturesque but not very practical.
After the fruitless bureau search ended, my cousin Karen and I were dropped off by a pizza place called Mimmos where our hosts would get us. After a little confusion (we were dropped at the wrong place, we were supposed to be at Mundos) we finally met my hosts father who took us around town for a quick tour. Our wait wasn’t a waste of time though, we met a street vendor by the name of Joaqvin who let me use his phone to call my friend. He could also speak fairly good English and promised to take us souvenir shopping later that weekend. I saved his number just in case but at the time I didn’t think I’d need it, and he probably didn’t either.
The first place we went to was The hotel Cardosso to check out an amazing view of The Baixa. The Baixa is the heart of old Maputo and is where most tourists usually hang out and has many shops, restaurants and markets.
We then drove around town and my friends father showed us the presidents street, the embassies, the beach front road and a couple of clubs and bars. Things we noted during the drive? Roads are very bad and one needs a 4×4 to get around comfortably and Mozambique has a cafe culture, we passed tons of beautiful, cozy and inviting little cafes during the drive.
After buying sim cards for our phones, we headed to my friends house to have lunch, take a shower and get dressed for our night out.
Out on the town
We went to a little bar popular with students and teachers called Garajinha. My friend recommended it for their cheap beer! And boy is it, the equivalent of just under 10 pula! The popular beer in Mozambique is called Dois M (pronounced “Doj em”, j pronounced softly) and is very light, not as bitter as most beers I’ve tasted.
After a few drinks we moved to the beach for more drinks. All along the beach are women/young girls selling beers and ciders while little boys move among people selling snacks and cigarettes. Seeing young children up so late trying to make some money reminded me what it’s like to be in a country with a poor economy. It’s a sight I don’t see in Botswana at all!
The beach unfortunately is really filthy! So much so that the thought of touching the water is disturbing. It all looks brown and murky. You would barely be able to see your feet at the shallowest point. Unfortunately because people come to drink and chill there, there is a lot of littering and it didn’t look like it is ever cleaned.
Aside from that, it’s a great way to spend the evening. Near by there were some women selling chicken and fries which we went to buy. After a while we ventured towards the clubs which were a 10 minute walk from where we were on the beach. We ended up not going in since we had to be in a bus heading to Xai xai an hour later. One thing we noticed at the clubs? The way the women dress! They pretty much wear nothing, at least in comparison to women in Botswana. Lots of mini skirts, shorts and very short tight dresses. Half tops are also still very popular. The girls in jeans or anything at the knee or below were the odd ones out. Even I felt very over dressed in my tights!
We headed home exhausted and set our alarms for 3:30am aiming to catch the 4am Intercape bus to Xaixai. However, Karen and I missed that bus which marked the beginning of a new adventure involving an uncomfortable Chappa ride, a walk through a village and a bit of hustling in broken English to get to our lodge….but I’ll save that for my next post!