Travel Journal


(Monday 31 January 2011) by Mike and Julie's sort of round the world trip
Day 170 1/23/11
We had seat numbers on the minibus but it had no place to hold luggage. The driver tried to get an extra $5 out of me to put my backpack on the floor so I jammed it in front of me not so silently cursing. The roads were fairly good and we got an hour or so sleep on the way before arriving at Maxixe. Inhambane is on a peninsula which we could reach by road if we went 40 kilometers further south and then 40 kilometers back north. We got off here and caught the ferry across the inlet which is only about a klick across and costs about fifty cents.
It was Sunday so the tourist office, if we could find it, would be closed so we relied once again on our guidebook which gave a pension which I had seen recommended in a second book as well. Julie was not impressed with it so we went searching for another hotel. After a heavy downpour made us wait an hour under cover, we found a hotel but it was fully booked and said all the other hotels would be full because of a convention in town that week. We thought we would head up the coast to Tofo which has a reputation as a beach party town and see if we would have any luck there. A local took us to where the chapas were and after discussing the prices of a taxi, we decided to take up their offer of 100Mt for the ride (about $3) and put our backpacks in the trunk. The local wasn’t happy about our 20Mt tip but that was just too bad.
It was about a half hour ride to town which seemed long for a $3 taxi ride and I figured something was wrong so when we got there I made sure we got our bags out of the trunk so they could not be held hostage if there was a problem before paying. Sure enough the price was 100 Rand (South Africa’s currency) and the driver expected $15 dollars for the ride. I asked why they quoted another country’s currency for the cost but didn’t get a satisfactory answer. It was a long ride though so I gave him another 100Mt, and then another 100Mt when he complained to the desk of the hostel who said $15 was a fair price for a taxi ride. If we had known that, we would have waited for a chapas. I guess I need to show the money I intend to pay from now on too ensure there’s no problem.
We checked into Fatima’s Place and got a beach hut built on sand with a reed mat covering most of the ground. It was about 3 o’clock when we checked in and Julie asked for towels as it had been a long ride and we wanted to take a shower. We were told towels would be available at five – I guess they were short and doing laundry. I went to check for an internet connection but most places were close and the one open was charging $3 an hour so I passed. At five o’clock still no towels so we ordered a steak roll and cheeseburger and sat down. Forty-five minutes later the waiter informed us they had no cheese and would a hamburger be okay? Julie decided she would have a steak roll as well. Later she checked on the towels again and was told they were locked up and only Fatima had the key but she should be here any time. When she complained she was told “what do you expect? This is a hostel.” By now it had been an hour and a half since we ordered and the waiter was ignoring my signals so I told them to cancel our food, cancel our room and cancel the bus ticket we had arranged with them for the next day and we checked out. They seemed surprised that there were any problems but returned the money when we reappeared with our luggage and the key.
It was getting late and the locals who had been there partying were now trying to get home so it was a madhouse. We thought we’d go back to Inhambane and take the room and continue to Maputo the next morning. A local bus pulled up with more people outside than it could hold. The conductor continued to let the locals on ahead of me despite my holding our money in front of her face until it was full. I’d like to think she didn’t let us on because we didn’t have exact change and not that we were foreigners or white, but she did make change for other people. The chapas were rare and quickly swarmed before they came to a full stop. A Brazilian saw our difficulties and helped out by taking us to a dorm for the night. The place hadn’t open for business but the guard was willing to let us stay, I’m not sure if he kept the 1000Mt or it made its way to the owner though. The only bus out to Maputo from here was the one sponsored by Fatima which I wasn’t keen on taking for obvious reasons but I think we have no choice.


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