August 20, 2010 GMT
More From Chimoio

To make sense of these last three postings, I'll mention that I'm compiling them as I go along, more or less, but have no means of putting them on this website.

I'm still in Chimoio, for three days probably, leaving tomorrow (Sunday 15th).
And like Tete, there's no internet.
But it's a nice place, different to other smallish towns, and a bit ragged in a well-worn sort of way. The best I can manage is to say it's like a place that lives its life out on the streets. And it has some atmosphere.

The people in the hotel here don't know any internet places in town. Yesterday I tried the main hotel in the town square, they told me there's no internet in Chimoio.
But then, one block back and on the other side of the road I noticed a large computer services shop and looked inside. There were two rows of tables with PCs on them, definitely an internet cafe I thought.
Yes it was, but no internet because there's no power.
"There'll be internet tomorrow," they said.
Outside I walked almost straight into an electricity linesman preparing to climb up a pole on the pavement. I thought maybe I'd mention that I used to do a similar thing for a living about forty five years ago, but so few people here speak any English and I certainly don't speak any Portuguese.
I did a similar thing outside the campsite in Khartoum one morning where a group of telephone technicians were testing lines at a cabinet by the gate and down below in a manhole next to it. They seemed to understand English and gave me a little welcome.
Anyway, this linesman, who had collected a couple of spectators, was wrestling with his climbing irons which were huge steel things, clunking about and attached to his boots, designed to wedge into the open spaces in the lattice concrete pole he was about to ascend. It looked a bit tricky and interruptions would not be welcomed I thought. So I continued on my way thinking that maybe power will return to the shop by the end of the day.
Well, the next day the power was back in the shop, but still no internet.
"The lines are down, should be back by Monday." And I learned that the Portuguese for Sunday was Domingo, as in Spanish, but Monday is called "the second day."
If all goes well, I'll be in Mutare, Zimbabwe on Monday, and will post all this stuff there if possible.

If there was internet here I'd be researching the recent history of this area a little.
When I first thought of reaching Zimbabwe through Tete, I remembered that this area was the centre of a guerrilla war for independence in the last century. Then I saw a car with a Frelimo banner and coat of arms on the back and remembered that Frelimo were the guerrilla terrorists in those days.
And here, on arriving in Chimoio, I found a tall office building signed as the Frelimo Central Office, and a large compound, maybe a school, on the edge of town also part of the Frelimo organisation.
So what were once "terrorists" are now an active political party with a hand in running their own country.
History never seems to teach anything.
With that in mind I tend to hope that all the wealth being generated by the mining boom around Tete will stay in Mozambique, but something about our modern times tells me that is perhaps unlikely. It would be interesting to find out what Frelimo's view is of so much land being used to grow bio-fuels.

But it explains something of the atmosphere of this place. Unlike Tete which was neat and tidy and well looked-after, it's a bit ragged here. The roads are generally repaired but fair-sized craters still exist in the wide concrete pavements in the centre. Some buildings show signs of extensive repairs. Remnants of the past I suppose.
And like Kigale, Rwanda, there are many men of a certain age getting about in wheelchairs, some with helpers. There were fewer in Tete, but it explains now why I saw in the suburbs a man amongst the kiosks, completely limbless, going about his business with the help of two comrades.
So all this gives the place a certain atmosphere, one of everyone looking out for everyone else to keep the peace alive and maintain the relative prosperity. And a sense of optimism everywhere.
I'm not the only white face here, there are a few others, and UNICEF have an operation here.
Everyone has a mobile phone and there are hundreds of motorbikes on the streets, old and new, well out-numbering the bicycles. Even the wild and remote road to here from Tete had mobile phone masts all along its length.
There are nearly always queues at the many ATMs in town (I assume that's a sign of prosperity, or is it?) and unlike other countries, not all of them have armed guards alongside them.
There are lots of boys selling mobile phone top-up cards on the streets, and SIMs, and they laugh when they realise I don't have a phone. Maybe they think it's funny that these white foreigners don't have phones. (Well, I do, but no local SIM. I'll buy one when I reach Zimbabwe).

In a cafe I saw a slogan on the back of a jacket worn by a young girl out with a friend. It sort of sums things up here:
"What Remains Is Future."
That could convey almost any philosophical theme you like but it's not difficult to imagine the message it's intended to convey here.

There are a few gems like that nailed up on the small wooden roadside kiosks and workshops you see along the roadsides, attracting the attention of passers-by. One such, near the campsite in Lilongwe, proudly announced the presence of "The Great Welding Doctor." One to visit with a bad bout of flu maybe.

Update - later that day........... I got advice that there's a very nice campsite/lodge on a lake between here and the Zimbabwe border. I even have the GPS reference! As I still have plenty of visa/insurance time to use up in Mozambique I'll visit it and maybe stay if it's as good as I'm told.

Posted by Ken Thomas at August 20, 2010 08:45 AM GMT

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!