06.26.2008 - 06.30.2008
Not much to say about Beira, just a small city, with a big heart, fast women and fast food. (Okay, there wasn’t any fast food but we definitely saw some fast women.) We stayed in a place with the foulest smelling bathroom, but you get what you pay for. The best part of our story is the bus ride to Beira, where Carina watches in mouth-gaping horror (look away PETA), as they tie a live goat to the bare roof, which has no rails. He's visible as the light brown thing on top:
Guess what happens a little after we’re under way? The goat’s ass begins slowly creeping, lower and lower, off the roof. Lucky guy gets tied back on, giving him an opportunity to piss on our bags. It turns out that goat pee washes out pretty easily. (BTW, he survived the trip to piss again.) Here's a shot of the road on the way to Beira:
Roosters, unlike goats, are welcome to ride inside:
After an uneventful plane to Nampula, we caught a chapa to Ilha de Moçambique (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Island_of_Mozambique), the place we have enjoyed the most so far, even though there’s nothing to do. It’s a small island, maybe 3 km by 500m wide, which was once the Portuguese capital of their province of Africa, and prior a major Arab port. Thus, there is a mosque, a Hindu temple, and Catholic churches. The people here were very friendly and warm, in particular the younger children who were eager to interact with us in any way.
We stayed in a lovely five room place, Casa do Gabriele (http://www.mozambiqueguesthouse.com/eng/amazing_guesthouse.html), whose owner was an architect who had renovated a couple of small buildings, which had housed small shops.
Our room had a bed suspended by ropes, and each night we were rocked gently to sleep. Gotta get one of those when we get back. At 4:20 each morning, we ignored the call to prayer from the Mosque immediately adjacent, as neither of us is Muslim, yet. We had a great laugh the first morning because it seemed the muezzin may have had a cold…or a breakfast of crackers and peanut butter.
We spent four days chilling, just walking around, doing laundry, and meeting some of the locals and a couple of interesting travelers staying at our place. Seafood is the major source of income for people working on the island:
We caught a beautiful sunset at one of the few restaurants, Reliquias:
The place was obviously once quite segregated by the Portuguese, who lived and worked in the northern half of the island, in what is called Stone Town, while the local Macuans were relegated to an area in the southern part, referred to as Mecutí (perhaps the Macuan name for reed houses). The homes in Stone Town are mostly dilapidated but oddly beautiful, with a pastiche of hues.
We felt really lucky to see the island before Moçambique’s northern areas are totally developed as tourist destinations, which seems likely, given that ex-pats who have been here some time are slowly renovating places that will cater to wealthier tourists. One can only hope some residents will be able to benefit directly, and that there is a sense to conserving the land from overdevelopment.