Friday, July 30, 2010

Inhambane accommodation

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28th - 29th July Fiona's last Perspective

Today was spent at the market haggling the prices down to an acceptable level and then buying a few gifts, before lunch in Tofo. The price starts at double what the real value is and eventually you might be lucky to pay the locals price.

We all had Barracuda & Chips at Casa Barry. The prawns seem non existent at the moment.

We drove to look at a few beaches. Mozambique reminds me a bit of Thailand and the Transkei. It is not at all what I expected and I am honestly not sure whether I like it or not.

One annoying thing is that wherever you go, as soon as you get out of your car, you are harassed by a million people trying to sell you something. You can be in the middle of nowhere and as soon as you get out of your car there are 10 people standing around you with their hand out...

The cellular companies advertise by painting the roadside Kiosks in their colours with their branding. North of Malawi most of the buildings were painted dark pink for Zain and yellow for M cell. In Mozambique every second little building or roadside Kiosk is painted in blue with Vodacom branding. It is hugely overdone.

I loved our accommodation in Inhambane, the room being on stilts and being able to sit on the deck and watch the fish swim by, the crabs scuttle around trying to catch dinner, and of course the crisp white linen, that's always a deal closer for me!

We slept well, knowing that we were leaving for home soon.

We left Jen & Gav early the next morning and headed for Maputo, whilst they headed for Durban. Gav's brother is not well and he is going directly to Durban to see him.

We stopped en route to buy some Peri Peri and then again to say hi to an old freind Dennis and then headed for Maputo.

So, after 6 hours we arrived in Maputo.

That evening we took a taxi to a local Portuguese restaurant recommended by Dennis, called Cristal. We must have been the only non locals eating there, just what Alan and I like.. Good Chicken, good Prawns and good Vinho Verde.

Komatipoort here we come!

Tomorrow we would be home....

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

27th July Fiona's Perspective

This morning we set off for Inhambane, a 4hr drive. A fairly good drive, except for a 20km stretch of roadworks. A single dirt track became the road and there was no way to overtake the trucks and slow Bakkies! Well, Alan found a way! I felt like I was in the Dakar!

We got to Inhambane by 1.30PM, in time for lunch. Unfortunately our eagerly awaited Prawns and chips were actually Shrimps and chips.
We tried out the Pao (Mozambique bread) as suggested by Sam, one of my staff at the office. Alan quite liked them and had 3, the last one with a layer of Chilli and hot chips.

We found a place to stay and settled in for the next two nights after Jen negotiated a discounted rate (50%) because we were South Africans, we are nice, it was low season etc

Dinner was great and Alan finally got his Chourico sausage. It was warm enough to sit outside next to the pool for dinner and with an African singer playing Guitar in the background (sounding a bit like Trini Lopez) it was perfect.

Our rooms are made of wood and are on stilts out in the bay. Going to dinner, the tide was in and water surrounded the room, coming back, the tide was out and our room seemed to stand on stilts on the sand.
The rooms were out quite a way from the restaurant and pool, so it was either a long walk up on an elevated gangway over the water or a ride on a golf cart, which was quite fun after a few drinks.

I think we have definately ended the holiday on a high note. The accommodation is great! There is nothing quite like crisp, white linen sheets and a patio with steps down into the ocean.

Tomorrow we will be lunching in Tofo, visiting an old Lighthouse and buying some gifts at the market (not sure if we can actually fit anything more into the car!!!)

The countdown has begun...

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Gav & Jen - Inhambane

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Lunch @ Inhambane, Mozambique

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26th July Fiona's Perspective

After a quick cup of coffee (Jen's jump start for the day) we set out for the coast. The first big town that we hit was Chimoio. We stopped to draw money and put in petrol. The ATM queues were down the road, but to our delight, the Std bank ATM was deserted. Reason - No money!!! So after waiting an African 5 minutes for it to be refilled (actually 30min) we drew money and were then able to fill up with petrol and continue towards the coast.

With every country visited, there are always roadside stalls, but there are subtle changes in each country. Mozambique definately has a different feel to it. Besides the Portuguese writing everywhere, it just feels different.

The drive today was fairly stress free due to the roads being good and relatively free of traffic, so we made good time and only had to give one policeman a bottle of water. Actually he wanted Coke and couldn't speak English, so he looks at Alan blankly and says Coke? Alan says no, we have none and gives him a half finished bottle of water.

By 3PM we arrived in Inhassoro. We stopped in at Seta Lodge and had Prawns & chips and a bottle of wine with a sea view. Well, that was just for me. Alan had his own meal and some Whiskey. Gav & Jen ordered Calamari expecting rings and got a Calamari steak instead. I think something got lost in translation.

After that we decided we were not going anywhere and booked chalets for the night.

Mozambique is going to be a quick overview for us. We can always come back again as it is so close to home.

We sat on the deck whilst the sun set and Alan & Gavin attempted to work their way through yet another bottle of Jamesons.

At about 10PM we all went for a walk on the beach as it was full moon, the tide was out and it was the romantic thing to do.

The holiday is coming to an end, and I can't say I will not be glad to sleep in my own bed, be able to love my dog again and be back at the office.

Too much of a good thing can ruin it...

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Monday, July 26, 2010

24th & 25th July Fiona's Perspective

Today was relaxed, a bit of a boat ride along the coast, and some wine with lunch and an afternoon snooze whilst Alan and Gav watched rugby.

All in all exactly what we wanted.

Our last night was spent with Taffy and Jen, sitting around chatting, laughing, drinking and listening to Ismael Lo.
We all couldn't believe the time had passed so quickly and were really sad to leave.

So, we left with Herman, the wooden caricature of a Giraffe and set off before Gavin and Jenny for Blantyre. We would catch up with them after the border crossing into Mozambique.

We met Elizabeth's (our domestic worker) father and sister outside a prearranged spot near Lunzu.
Rhoda, her sister helped me buy some Malawian material and have a few sarongs made up. Thereafter we followed them back to their home in the village, Rhoda on the back of a bicycle taxi and her father on a motorbike taxi.

The rest of the family was waiting outside for us, the children all in their Sunday best. After some introductions, we were shown the house, the yard, the chickens etc. They had a big parcel for Elizabeth and gifts of homegrown Paw paw, eggs and peanuts (all pre shelled) from his garden for us. We gave each child a soccer ball and some pens. I took a couple of photos and Alan Videotaped Precious, her son whilst he kicked his new ball around.
Soon it was time to go as we still had about 700km to do before dark and Gavin had already crossed the border into Mozambique.

The border crossing was once again uneventful and we ended up about 40km behind Gavin & Jen as we had entered Mozambique at a more southern Border crossing.

We caught up with them in Tete, where they had stopped for coffee and to get some take away Chicken and chips.

A quick stop along the road to eat and we were quickly on our way again. The overnight stop was still 300km away and it was getting dark and everyone knows you don't drive after dark in Mozambique or anywhere north of our borders if you can help it.

Well, so much for no night driving. We drove till 8PM, which meant 2,5hrs in the dark, which was not great as we were tired, having been on the road since 7am. Trying to phone ahead for accommodation was interesting as no one seemed to speak English and my Portuguese is a little rusty (ha ha).
We finally decided to aim for the closest place as the cell signal was almost non existent and trying to call ahead was just becoming impossible.

The closest place seemed to be a Kruger Park replica, in the old days. It was a bunch of Rondavel's alongside a lake. With the decor to match the Kruger lodges. But it seemed vaguely clean. So we lay our weary heads down on the pillow and we were lights out.

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