Maputo, Mozambique

June 17, 2011

Talk about luxuries that I missed!  That bath last night was beautiful.  Plus, the hotel provided towels.  BIG towels.  It’s crazy how we really take for granted the little things.

We are currently in the city of Maputo, Mozambique.  Dan called it the Las Vegas of the country, but it’s really not.  Dan must have never been to Las Vegas!  Maputo is actually kind of frightening.  There are sketchy salesmen up and down the street who swarm the people they see.  They won’t take no for an answer…  No, I don’t want a pirated copy of Tangled in Portuguese.  No, I don’t want an iPhone.  No!  Please don’t shove your still alive lobster in my face!

We started today with a city tour.  We went to a few museums and some sites like the cathedral or fort.

    

We stopped by a craft market then ended the tour at a genuine fish market.  A few of us stayed and bought some freshly caught prawns and red fish.  They grilled them for us and we had a delicious meal!  It was great compared to New Mexico fish!

At this point we became true tourists abroad.  Mozambique isn’t really an English-speaking country.  The national language is actually Portuguese.  When we hailed a cab, the driver didn’t really speak English.  We had to find a translator to help us direct him back to the craft market.

At the market, this problem continued.  Many of the vendors didn’t speak English, either.  It also happened on the way home.  We were told that the hotel was close, but it most certainly was not.  After trying to get directions from many people, we finally conceded and booked a tuk tuk to take us home.  The ride was pretty terrifying.  We ran red lights, almost hit parked cars, and really thought that our drivers were crazy.  I thought I was going to die.

Somehow we managed to get home safe!  Unfortunately, that feeling wouldn’t last very long.

We went out on the town that night to experience the city’s nightlife.  We went out to eat at a nice restaurant, then went on to the main street somewhere to have fun.  We ended up at a gay bar, which is funny of its own accord.  But the place was pretty lame.  The music was horrible, there was no dance floor, and the people were mostly confused as to why there were suddenly twenty American women standing around.

We were pretty antsy to leave, but our leader had disappeared.  A lot of us were beyond frustrated that he dumped us here at this really boring place and left.  Finally he shows back up and says “We have to leave.  NOW.”  We were all pretty confused, so he explained the situation to us.

Apparently the Maputo police tried to fine the bus for illegal parking.  The bus was not parked illegally.  Also, nobody even follows the restrictions in Maputo.  There were people parked on the sidewalk, on the curb, and even in the middle of the street.  Basically, the police were corrupt and just trying to get money for themselves.  So our leader told them he wasn’t going to pay them.  Now they were off trying to find us to extort money from us.

If that wasn’t scary enough, on our way back to the bus, we passed a group of the police officers wielding their AK-47′s.  As we approached them, they turned and started walking slowly in the same direction we were.  That was easily one of the scariest moments of my life.

And so, we all got on the bus and went home instead.

About jessinsafrica

Hi, my name is Jessica MacKinnon. I am driven to work to make the world a slightly better place. I was really excited to take that motivation to somewhere I thought really needed improvement. What actually happened, though, was that I instead became a better person.
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2 Responses to Maputo, Mozambique

  1. I think any city you visit can be scary if dont know which parts of town are considered safe and which are not. Next time you come to Mozambique or Maputo try and find someone who lives there that can actually tell you the best places to go(that is not looking to make money off you). Everyone is entitled to their opinion but I think this is one of the worst things Ive read a visitor say about my city. Next time do a bit more research not to find yourself in a ‘scary’ situation. how exactly did u expect to get around without a word of Portuguese?!

    • I completely agree with you. I’m definitely not saying the whole of Maputo is scary, we were just centralized in the more “touristy” areas and found ourselves in a few bad situations. We had a tour guide who was supposed to do all the translating for us, but as I said, he kind of ditched us. And and ditched us the whole day…

      Sorry my post sounded like an insult to your city. Maybe I should be insulting my tour guide instead for getting us into these messes. :)

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