Travel Journal

Maputo

(Monday 31 January 2011) by Mike and Julie's sort of round the world trip
Day 171-3 1/24-26/11
We got up early and, after a bucket shower, headed to Fatima’s to catch the bus. It’s 600Mt for the ride to Maputo but the bus doesn’t try to charge you for the luggage and because we had quite a bit of backpackers there was a lot of luggage piled up. Of course locals we later picked up were only charged 500Mt, so Fatima’s is probably taking a cut from the driver as well. I had to chuckle when a backpacker asked the man from Fatima’s if the driver was going to pick up more passengers and the man shrugged and said maybe not. The bus was only half full; of course the drivers going to try and cram as many people in as he could!
We reached full capacity and then some shortly after leaving by picking up people on the road. I chose my seat carefully so I had good leg room and away from the luggage. It was about a ten hour ride along very green scenery. A child shat in his pants on the way which cleared out the bus quickly but, with a wash and change of clothes later, the child and the rest of the passengers got onboard.
The last stop was Fatima’s place in Maputo which is a bit from the main budget area and, despite our experiences at Tofo; we decided to check the place out. Julie liked it and so we decided to stay there once they gave us towels. It was my birthday so, after an ATM run, I just relaxed with a beer on the patio.
The next day we visited the nineteenth century Portuguese fort which is actually in good shape with several object d’arte inside. Down the street is the train station in its trademark pistachio-green on Praca dos Trabalhadores. It was designed by a student of Eiffel (you know the tower guy), built in 1910, and is a welcome reminder of days gone by. The train station was also featured on the Amazing Race as well as the Central Market and Janet Market which we stopped in as well. There are certain sections of the city which are marked on the hotel map as Not Safe at Night or Not Safe in Day or Night which reminds me of parts of New Orleans. There are no public waste bins that I could see and therefore the streets are awash in litter but not residential trash. The city would be a lot cleaner if they provide these with an educational program for the public. There are a few colonial buildings sprinkled throughout the city but their charm is smothered by the derelict buildings and high rises. The guidebook says this is considered one of the most beautiful capitols in Africa; perhaps, but I wasn’t terribly impressed.
We had been traveling so much the last week that we decided to spend a few days here. We are not due in Jo-berg until February 8th so we have plenty of time. I spent quite a bit of time at an internet caf� downloading some television shows to watch and updating this blog which was way overdue. We did a lot of cooking at the hostel to save money and keep ourselves busy. Julie seems able to whip anything up regardless of the cookware she’s presented with.
From my internet searches and word or mouth, we heard that Sondzela was a great place to stop next. It’s in Swaziland, which wasn’t a planned stop, but since we had plenty of time and there was no visa charge to enter the country, we decided to make our way there. Because we had our backpacks to carry and the chapas stand was about two kilometers away, we splurged on a taxi ride. Once there, we met an Argentine couple we had talked to on the bus ride from Tofo and got on a bus letting them do the negotiating since they spoke Portuguese – the local lingo – as well as Spanish and we were off.

  • hi by jiho


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