March 02, 2006 GMT
Being Boiled

5.11.05. Tete, Mozambique.

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Not much money

Just before the bridge over the mighty Zambesi, there's a campsite called "Jesus e Bom"; "Jesus is Good" in Portuguese. Now then, Jesus may well be very good indeed - who am I to judge - but his campsite is a shithole, so I decide to check into the air-conditioned $20 magnificence of the "Hotel Zambesi" instead.

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I need it, honest; it's mad hot here. Going berserk hot. It's finally-snapping-over-the-breakfast-table-and-bludgeoning-your-spouse-into-redcurrant-jelly hot. So just imagine how ice-cold 2M ('Dois M") goes down, served in a frosty glass. Ooooohhhh that's good.

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I meet the driver of this truck today. He's fine, thanks for caring, although he may be looking for a job shortly. He explained to me that this unfortunate incident happened because "the engine suddenly stopped working". I'm not convinced. I think the engine may have been working a little bit too well.

6.11.05. Chimoio, Mozambique.

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Great fags

Love Mozambique so far.
1. The waving bystanders are back! They thinned out a bit when I got to East Africa, but here it's thumbs-ups and both single- and double-handed waving, the latter meaning "relax - I am not concealing a firearm", popularized during the war.
2. So far, the Portuguese influence means nice food, especially bread. (Ex-British colonies serve sub-Mother's Pride stodge.)
3. Despite all the Portuguese stuff, they drive on the correct side of the road.

8.11.05. Vilankulo, Mozambique.

Only quite nice, Vilankulo, partly because the weather's a bit gloomy and partly because it's all a bit over-priced. Light relief, incorporating lager abuse, is provided by Andrei and Teren from South Africa and a funny fella from England whose name I forget. He makes me smoke marijuana, which I've gone right off.

14/11/05. Tofo, Mozambique.

The quality of the road goes downhill fast after Vilankulo. New sections alternate with works in progress, which mean sandy tracks alongside the bit that will one day be a road. Sometimes it's possible to haul the bike up onto the section that's being worked on, which is usually better (if frowned on by the road-builders).
Once I hit some deep sand and go flying, but execute a perfect forward roll on impact and jump to my feet, giggling like a schoolgirl, without a scratch. Some people on a truck see it all and stop to help, but are amazed to see me jigging about like a spring lamb to demonstrate my lack of injury.

Fatima's Nest is a backpackers place on the beach. The beach is perfect, the 2M is icy cold and the food is exceptional. Suddenly I find I've been here a week. On the first night I meet a nice lady from Swaziland. There's a certain amount of hoo-ha later on. On the second night I slip into the role of comedy pimp and stroll down to Dino's with four really quite good-looking women for a right boozy do. But no hoo-ha.

Days are spent just mucking about in the sea. Occasionally a wave rolls up that's big enough to make me blurt an obscenity, but then I'm not a surfer.

How can it be the middle of November? I've got my shorts on and I'm yet to see a plastic Father Xmas. Sometimes when you're not sure of the day, date or month, it's important to step back for a moment and make a plan for the day, to provide a bit of focus. As I paddled in the shallows at mid-day today, I did just that.
"Shall I go to the internet cafe today?" I wondered.
"No", came the answer, as if from mighty Neptune himself. Or maybe Poseidon, the other fella that lives in the sea. "Today you should go to the bar and drink beer".
Having structured the day thus, I set the plan in motion, and all was well. Sometimes it may help to write your plan down on a piece of paper, in order to refer to it later on if events overtake you. In this case I judged it was unnecessary. *BUURRRRP*

17.11.05. Quissico, Mozambique.

When you're in Africa and something goes a bit wrong, simply sit in the dirt looking glum for ten minutes and everything will be fine. Today I get my first African puncture and no, I don't really want to arse around for three hours fixing it myself thanks, so I wait for the specified amount of time, and pull the required face. Shortly it is revealed that I have chosen to get a puncture opposite a tyre-fixing man, who will do the job for 4.

Later I end up getting a soaking and then find myself in the dark, miles down a sandy track. At the top of the track was a sign advertising a hotel; it appears to have been some kind of ghoulish prank. Much later, back in the main town, I gratefully accept the keys to the third most disgusting hotel room in Africa (redeemed from a possible silver medal by having a half decent bar). Otherwise the day trots along quite merrily.

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Not nice at all

Posted by Simon Fitzpatrick at March 02, 2006 02:40 PM GMT

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