The next day we woke up, packed, ate some snacks we’d carried and settled our bill, all the while not exactly sure how we’d be leaving Paraiso. We talked to the manager who said we could try catch a ride with guests heading to the village or wait for a chappa that was scheduled to deliver some drinks at the lodge and jump on to that. While we waited, we took a few more pictures of Paraiso.
Finally the chappa arrived at around 10am, we said our goodbyes and jumped on. We ended up arguing with them too because they wanted to charge us 1000 mets just for the 30 minute ride to the main road. After settling that disagreement (we basically paid about half the demanded price and ran), we managed to get a bigger bus that went straight from Chidenguele to Maputo which was a relief. Aside from the spine twisting seats, live chickens, smelly fish and back row full of women that were obviously tickled at our presence, it was a fairly uneventful trip.
Arriving back in Maputo was like breathing again. The trip had sucked the life out of us. Seeing the city gave us back some energy and cheered us up. We looked for a cab driver intending to go to the artist fair in the heart of the city but he didn’t know where it was and because of the language barrier we couldn’t communicate much more than the name of the place. Then I decided to call Joaqvin who’s a street vendor that we met the first day we arrived in Maputo. Luckily he knew where it was and spoke to the cab driver for us.
The artist fair was tourist heaven! They had vendors there selling everything from curios to paintings and cloth. We slowly browsed the stalls buying souvenirs with the help of Joaqvin who negotiated in Portuguese on our behalf. Being African ourselves and knowing how that game works, we didnt want to be duped into paying tourist prices.
On the other side of the fair ground we discovered a mini party! My friend had been so nonchalant in describing the place we thought we’d find one or two hot-dog stands. Instead we found a Dj playing lively Portuguese music, numerous stalls selling drinks, food and desserts plus tons of tables and chairs where one could sit. It seemed as though half the city was there! I could not believe it was a Sunday! A day of rest! It felt like a Saturday afternoon. Just to give you an idea of the atmosphere, I took a short video as we were walking in…
We decided to tip Joaqvin handsomely for his trouble after we were done shopping. We were extremely lucky to meet someone so honest who did not try to swindle us out of every penny we had. On top of that he never indicated that he was going to charge us for his assistance. You really count your blessings when you meet such people in a foreign country because tourists are such an easy target.
As the afternoon came to an end, we got some local Mozambican food, delicious caipirinhas and socialized a little. Later in the evening we moved our little party to Garajinha and had a few Doj M’s there. Eventually we headed home and tried to catch a few zzzz’s in preparation for the long bus ride home.
It was quite a short, action packed 3 days but worth every single penny. In the end we have nothing but good memories of Mozambique. Aside from the nightmarish border queues which we suffered through on the way in and out of Mozambique.
I got to catch up with an old friend and made some new ones, ate awesome food, drowned ourselves in cashew nuts and picked up a few words (I can order a beer in Portuguese!). I know one thing’s for sure: I have to go back and have a proper holiday. Really soak in the sun and the culture.
Obrigado Mozambique! It was epic!
A few travel tips:
- Rent a car if you plan to go to one of the beaches, public transport is highly unreliable in rural areas.
- It’s good to know a few Portuguese phrases to get around, very few people speak English though you will be ok in the city for the most part.
- Be aware of hustlers! We often got overcharged simply because we were foreigners.