The last 12 days have felt like a whole month. Not because it sucked and felt like a drag but because of how much we’ve learned and encountered in such a short time. And possibly also a result of how much we’ve packed in and the pace at which we’ve moved from city to city.
I’ll admit it hasn’t all been fantastic. We have days where we just wish we could apparate (yes apparate) to some place beautiful and chill for a longer period of time without the dramas of backpacking and finding transportation, when things don’t go according to plan (though to be fair, it’s usually quite an unrealistically ambitious plan). When bus rides turn out butt-achingly uncomfortable, mozzies non-repellable and ATMs decide to swallow your card (well Lay’s). But it takes just a smile from a stranger, a sky covered in stars or something unexpectedly pleasant to undampen spirits and make all these measly dramas worthwhile. Some of the highlights so far:
1. Encountering a pack of lions in Kruger at night and having a lioness chase after us (well ok not exactly, we were in a car)
2. Being picked up by the policia for being on the wrong side of town and dropped off at a more appropriate end of the beach.
3. Conversations with strangers
4. Embracing the coziness of chapas (local mini buses) and being continually surprised by how many more can pack in just when you think it’s already reached full capacity
5. Being constantly amazed by the amount of weight women carry on their heads
6. Escorted by soldiers down streets of Maputo (because it was unsafe) and being given their phone numbers
7. Staying right on the beach in Tofo and Vilankulos and the guilt-free nothing-days
8. Stumbling off to bed at 10pm after 3 caipirinhas (in our defence, it had been a long day)
9. Tipo tinto – the local rum
11. Lying on the beach watching the stars, identifying the southern cross, talking about aliens and parallel universes, the end of the world and sleeping through it.
12. Having a wide range of goods sold to us through bus windows – food, drinks, underwear, torches, knives and everything you previously didn’t think you would need on a bus ride.
13. The various hitchhike experiences – both long and short distances. The longest being Inchope to Nampula (13hr drive).
14. Attempting to bargain just about everything. Paying 490mts for accommodation priced 1250mts because that was all the cash we had left.
Mozambique is such a beautiful country. We’ve encountered so much friendliness and generosity. People are so willing to help despite language barriers. We came to Africa super guarded and unwilling to trust and it turns out everyone just wants to lend a hand and make a friend.