Maputo

We left Punta Malongane a bit late after the amazing experience with the dolphins, we thought it can't possibly be as bad as the roads leading to Punta Malongane ..........oh mu goodness....NOTHING could ever have prepared us for the roads leading to Maputo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We have honestly NEVER seen anything like this. The stretch of "tar" we were gleefully told about the previous day turned into a nightmare and was worse than any gravel road in exixtence anywhere!It had potholes the size of craters and bushes growing in the middle of the road for good measure!!

Tar roads Moz style!!!! You have no idea how it feels to drive here and Ann,we tried to follow the bloody telephone poles.......but they kept on dissapearing!! The eternal "No signpost problem"(nsp) raised its ugly head again several times and our noses are not always so good so we cannot always follow thame sucessfully!!!the road just splits into 3 seperate tracks all going into a different direction and the result was that 140km took us 4 and a half hours!!!! Both Stew and Stan deserve medals for dealing so well with all of this.

Once again, this country amazed us totally, you drive on this godforsaken track for hours, thinking you are in the middle of nowhere and KAPOW>>>>>>>>you see the skyline of a huge city with skyscrapers included for good measure. The firat sighting of Maputo was just something you had to be there to understand!!

We had to cross to the city with a ferry as the trip to f=get there by road would have taken another 2 hours and with sunset here taking place at 5.45, that was most certainly not an option  as we still had to find a place to stay.BIG maistake....best to have it organised before you get to a strange city, something we as seasoned travellers should have known, but as we decided that this trip will be different as we need to get out of our usual ways....read Annaliese being a control freak!!!!

The beauty of the first sight as well as the ferry ride soon changed to stress and fighting as we drove around like lost farts trying to find affordable accommodation with off street parking...a completely impossible task it seemed.eg the Holiday Inn charges R1600 per room for the night , no breakfast!!This clearly exeeds our budget by about R1000.

As we know, all things have goood and bad sides and our journey will have good and bad times.....this one turned into a bad nightmare!!. We got utterly lost, it was pitch dark in a strange city, we could not speak the language, we were stopped by a "ploiceman" who claimed that we commited a traffic violation and promptly wanted to march us off to the police station,I burst into tears, Stew gave me one look and sped off in the car to get rid of the guy!!! Felt a bit like cops and robbers!!

We finally got a place via our trusted Africa on a shoestring guide, by Lonely Planet and found a nice , clean room in th Ibis Hotel in the centre of town, with a 24hr guard, a meal of goat stew (ugh!!) for Stewart and rubberised fish for me!! However, the nightmare did not end as we were promptly informed by the hotel that they cannot accept our dollars as they claimed  the noted are too old!!! We first thought it was a joke and went from bank to bank and got the same story. This was a gatslag as i started saving for this trip years ago and therefore have a lot of old dolars. We refused to give up and were finaly partly lucky after i stood in the que for 1 hour, they agreed to change dollars newer that 2001. Well, I am sure we can use the old ones in Zim!!

Despite all the bad luck, Maputo is a stunning city, Anna Maria, even have Italian designer shops!!!! Here development and decay goes hand in hand and you can have Cappucinoin one of the stunning coffe shops whilst you watch drains overflowing a little bit further down the road!!

The old and the new.....amazing city

We decided to have the obligatory prawn and crayfish meal......delicious, but we wanted to get out of the city as we clearly already became bush people not used to being in a city. We left for Xai Xai on the coast, so therefore the silence, no cell and/or internet connection