04-08-2007, 10:53 AM
Joined: Jun 2005
Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa
Ok I'm back. Impressions of Maputo..
Many, many blocks of flats in bad condition. Slum type thing but 20, 25 stories high. In some buildings the first floor tenant put up burglar proofing to enclose his balcony. The crims then must have used his burglar proofing as a ladder and forced the second floor tenant to also enclose his balcony, and so on and so forth. I saw some where this burglar proofing growth have reached the 8th floor already.
The majority of the buildings have some architectural merit, when they were built someone clearly did give a damn.
Now almost all the buildings show cracks and fungal growth and has clearly not been painted in the last 10 years. I am told it's because you are not allowed to paint your house/shop/building unless you have permission from the local governor! Keep in mind that the Government was socialist and supported by the Russians. Here's a picture taken in 2002 showing the National Emblem.
There is also a rich suburb where all the properties are appr 2000 - 4000sqm with extensive gardens and mansions on them. Still unpainted. All these have 24hr guards at the gate or on the premises.
There are some no-go areas as in any city.
The condition of the roads are not good. Not good. And the traffic is heavy, every man for himself. One thing that caught me out more than once is that where we have a traffic light on each corner, they only have one. On the left closest corner. If you are lucky enough to see the damn thing, you also cannot stop next to it because then you won't see it change again.
I'm not sure whether helmets are required by law. About 60% of bikers don't wear it.
Maputo is like Havana, same climate but rougher people. When planning the trip I had visions of hanging out in discos frequented by young, sultry, sweaty, dark-eyed, world wise, wild haired, wild tempered, voracious portuguese beauties. Unfortunately we spent half the night riding around looking for a place to get some grub.
Next time I'm scheduling more days in Maputo to get to know the place better. I did get to ride around town late at night with a helmetless wild haired beauty on the back and felt like quite the man. Got her into my bed too, but she wasn't into faking a portuguese accent.
Last note on Maputo; we left town on the EN1 to the north. Fourty minutes later we were still leaving town on the EN1. It's a big place and the traffic was horrendous. We left in a light drizzle, the last rain we would see on the trip.
Oh, I almost forgot, let me gooi some pics.
Our target for the day is Tofo beach near Inhambane. We don't make it. The 10hrs of the previous day has taken it's toll on on our asses and the veritable herd of traffic cops we have to pass through forces us to keep to the speed limit. Breaks your spirit it does. We get some good scenery in though. I think this is at Cuissico.
So as we sit and drink a beer at one of the roadside stalls, Mrs Jockey decrees that we stop at the next resort we see. I strongly support that notion and we take a sandy stretch in to Chidenguele Paradise something or other. The road skirts an inland lake where there are other places offering camping. Might be worth checking out.
It's Mrs Jockey's first trip on the 1200 and it is really too heavy a bike for her. However on this track I twice see the bike buck and twice she rides it out on the throttle. I'm proud as punch but there's no-one else to see. We make it safely to the lodge and get a very nice room with an excellent view. A little on the expensive side but having fresh sheets makes it feel justified.
The next morning we are at it early and negotiate the sandy track easily. Mrs Jockey is full of confidence and I don't want to break her high by pointing out that sand is tightly packed in the cool early hours.
We stop here and buy a can of chilli sardines for lunch.
The language barrier is a bitch, but the shop owner brings us plates and cutlery when she sees us sitting down to eat.
There's a turkey with a peacock complex chasing the ladies around.
That's the thing with turkeys and Maltese poodles. Why is it that the ugliest bird in the world and the most useless excuse for a rat always see themselves as peacocks and rottweilers respectively?
I can't help myself and take another pic of the bikes. Notice how the ground has been swept clean. We find this in every country we pass through. When we were stopped at the beer stall the previous day, the lady in charge was cleaning out the bar area from the previous evenings excesses. To our surprise she walked about 3 meters away and just chucked everything straight onto the ground. Then proceeded to sweep her immediate surrounds. Very strange.
On the road I notice that things have changed in the four years since I've been here.
In 2002 the one thing that struck me was that there was never any roadkill left on the road by the time we got going an hour or so after sunrise. That was a level of poverty I hadn't encountered before then. Now I'm glad to see that roadkill is making it's proud return.
The second thing that has changed is the amount of people, it's like the whole of Mozambique is gathering along the EN1. Seriously, for over 500km there was never a space of 100m without people walking, riding bicycles, standing sitting and so on. On our way up we must have passed a million pedestrians. And if there is one thing I'm afraid of it's knocking over a child in black Africa. I know two people who had the misfortune, and they had serious trouble.
We pass through Inhambane, turn right at Bar Babalaza and get to Tofo beach. We want to stay at Bamboozi. Bamboozi is right at the end of a sand track that winds through palm trees. It's deep sand and in 2002 one of our party had a less than pleasant get off on this road. We stop before the sand begins and I tell Mrs Jockey to not be ashamed to go first gear and paddle when it gets too difficult. This is what it looks like on the easier stretches.
I jump on the pegs and make it through to the camp. I wait. I wait some more, she may be slow because of the paddling. It's too long and I go back to look for her. I find them lying down. She didn't paddle. The confidence she found at Chidenguele this morning has led to her hitting a palm tree whilst trying to recover from a wild fishtail. At least she went down on the throttle.
When I get there she is trying to get control over the pain and calm down. Her knee hit the tree. The knee is bruised and left some skin on the inside of the pant leg. The crashbar lost some paint but otherwise the bike is fine. Good thing we scheduled a rest day here. That knee is not going to bend so lekker for a day or two.
Bamboozi is a most excellent spot. Killer pub overlooking the beach.
Huts with beds, bedding and mozzie nets. And mosquito nets are essential, this is prime malaria area.
Open at the top.
Also some bigger chalets
We spend a lekker couple of days doing holiday things and just sleeping and reading and drinking and eating and buying sarongs and having hair braided and taking hot showers.
At Tofo there's more lodges and camps and you are welcome to just walk off the beach into any bar and hang out.
But all good things come to an end and we still have three countries and several thousand kilometers to attend to.