Thursday, December 15, 2005

one week in Maputo

It's hot here, which isn't a surprise since I'm in Africa and its the tropics.And I'm online since I don't feel like going out in this heat. Things are kind ofslow these days in Maputo, I've been living the life of the happy europeans in Mozambiquerecently, with my Ruja and Gareth, apart from not having a job I have to do like them.Really it's like one bis summer holiday here and I'm looking forward to next week whenwe will hit the road again and go to all those faraway deserted beaches north of hereand then to the savanna hills of Swaziland...My impressions of this country have been piling up in a rather slow and easy paste, a bit like the rhythm of the life on the streets here.. you walk down avenida Mao Dze Dung,Vladimir Lenine, 24 de Juhnio, or any other revolutionary street ( Mozambique was one of thehappy revolutionary communist countries after its independence in the 70s), past concrete 10-15 storeyblocks, built with a lot more imagination and creativity than their versions in Bulgaria and you are one of the few white people around, and noone cares, besides those guys trying to sell me sunglasses, souveinirs, electric plugs, watches, wooden statues ( beautiful traditionalart), anything, you name it. Then you are sitting in a cafe on the side of the main streetand all your friends are passing by in their cars on the way to some place in Maputo ( pluspeople trying to sell you stuff , if you need something, anything you just have to wait longenough and they will come and sell it to you ). I went to visit the local market ( bitak) with Carla, my cousin's embrigada ( you know , the lady who does all the cooking and cleaning in the house..), that was quite an experience. We got onone of the local mini buses going from point a to point b stuffed with mozambicans, blastingmusic from speakers. The market was the African version of a place where one can buy stuff you needfor a better modern life, food, clothes, shoes, house utensils, + a bit of magical touch on the stallswhere items for curandeiros are sold ( local magicians, voodo pracitioners, withc doctors). The curandeiros aparently need loads of herbs and spices, amulets, dried monkey hands, monkey skulls,and .. well dried heads of vultures.. the last items were quite shocking, keeping in mindthat the number of dead vultures for sale here were at least 3 times the European populationof these endagered species. The rest of the market was a labyrinth of stalls selling things andcrowds of mozamicans walking around as if it was some spacy air-conditioned shopping mall..quite an experience, and I was the only white person there, I'm pretty sure.The whole city is quite an experincea actually, its an amazing blend of african traditions, portugese colonial architecture and city planning, civil war decay, green tropical plants andbeautiful views at the Indian Ocean, communist-style blocks of flats and modern African city lifestyle ( don't know what I really mean with that, but anyway, that's the shortestway to describe the place). I've been trying to find the time and the motivation to upload photos from the Inhaca island and I hope I manage to do it later today, or tomorrow. That was quite a different experience, my first oceanic tropical island experience , coral reefs, sandy beaches, little villages with coconut palmtrees and locals included..


Post a Comment

<< Home