Thursday, April 17, 2008

Maputo, Mozambique - Day One

(posted by Andy)

Today we have arived in Maputo, a city located in the country of Mozambique. We are no lonter in Sourth Africa and will be here for 3 days...more about that in a moment.

We have left our lap of luxury in which we have taken advantage of all the facilities here at the lodge and spa. Our stay there was very relaxing and we enjoyed walks along the river where we encountered waterfalls, butterflies, and some birds that were shy and hiding in the massively tall forest trees; a much different experience than lions and other wild animals! It felt good to be safe when walking but less adventurous as you can imagine.

Our experience getting to Mozambique was unique to say the least. We are certainly in a third world country and it shows in every corner of ones eye. Crossing the border was just like something out a movie where many people from South Africa and Mozambique line up in every from of transportation included and many by foot. It was chaotic and very difficult for me to experience because it is so different from which I am accustomed.

A young man helped Rhett and I with our passports both exiting South Africa and then entering Mozambique. Here women carry their goods on their heads and the color of most of the poeple we encountered are very dark....we are definitely two fish out of water and very easy to spot as we travel around.

Shorthly after entering Mozambique we were pulled over by a police man that asked us for our papers. Since we have all our ducks in a row we thought nothing of it....until he insisted that we had no insurance. Our paper works says different and we had to pay him off to let us go forward. Before our departure I took most of my money and put it inside my pocket and out of my wallet for this exact reason. We had to pay him evreything we had in our wallets (about $20 in odd currencies) and this was extremely uneasy. Thank goodness we had more hidden and it all went well.

Here the police offices can not be trusted to help you, we have to bribe them with money so they will let you continue on your journey. Rhett tells me it is normal and common since they get paid so little, I was very worried and was even more worried for lying to him about not having any more cash. Well, after a bit of negotiations, and after a few moments, he let us pass (we had a similar incident in Indonesia a few years ago and should have remembered)...

Please don't be worried, we made it fine and from now on will be used to such encounters should they arive. We are now in our hotel and safe and sound - the Holiday Inn (which is very much nicer than a typical Holiday Inn). Our hotel views the Indian Ocean and it is very nice.

Mozambique appears to be *very* poor and our first impression is thus. Tomorrow we will relax a bit by our pool and adventure away from the hotel as far as is safely allowed