July 27, 2004
In keeping w/ tradition, below are our likes/dislikes....
Stuff we found endearing about Mozambique:
- The beaches: Though the weather did not always cooperate, the beaches were generally lovely (which generates huge props from Janet)
- Mozambiquian resilience: Enduring a revolution, 16 years of civil war, a transition from staunch Communism to something approaching a democracy and a catastrophic monsoon in just over 30 years should win you an award.
- The Seafood: Kingfish is tasty, fresh and cheap....yummmm.
- "Izit?": Well, this one really belongs on a South African list, but given the amount of expats we met in Moz, we decided to put it here. "Is it" is an expression nearly every SA Afrikaner we met used and it grew on us quickly. It's quite versatile, with its usage ranging from a confirmation ("Oh really?") to an affirmation ("Ah, I see") to a query on how you're getting along, etc. etc.
- 'Nanas: The bananas in Moz are tast-eee.
- "The Store that comes to you": One of the things that made our numerous and very lengthy bus rides tolerable was the roving market that sprung up on the fly as we pulled into town. Hawkers selling everything from water to live chicken...
- Peri Peri: The Moz version of hot sauce....yummmmy.
- Cheap, Cheap: Most meals cost under 100,000 Mets (US $4).
- Lacks of Starbucks: The lack of development was a bit frustrating at times (for sure) but Moz still has that unspoiled, untamed element that makes the experience authentic.
- Stuff that falls somewhere on the scale of quirky > annoying > disturbing:
- Transportation: In case you did not read the previous entries, transportation in Moz is more than a little challenging (one of the unfortunate side effects of the "unspoiled" element). The Golden Rule of Moz travel: never, ever assume it "can't get any worse". Never assume the potholes can't get any deeper, the TAM airline "agent" can't get any more incompetent, the choppa driver can't squeeze more peeps in the vehicle, the bus can't get any later, etc. etc. etc.
- Scowls: We definitely were fortunate to meet some cool Mozambiquians on our journey, but we were a bit surprised by the scowls we occasionally got as well.
- B.O.: Not to sound like a pretentious Westerner, but deodorant just ain't part of the picture in Moz, which, when trapped in a crowded vehicle for hours on end, can be a bit unpleasant.
- Fun with Currency: Q: What should you do if your currency is devalued? A: Print more money! At the time of blogging, the exchange rate was $1US to 24,000 Metachais. The amusement of becoming an instant Millionaire every time you hit the ATM quickly wore off, as did dealing with denominations of anywhere from 1,000M to 100,000M in bills that were barely held together.
- Missionaries: Not offence to the Christian readers of the blog, but I have to take issue when a country who is barely above the poverty line is inundated with hordes of people telling them how backwards they are. This may be a bit harsh, but we met a few peeps who were downright arrogant about the people they were "illuminating". Give them the tools (e.g. education) to fulfill there most basic needs before you teach them about your faith, and do it with respect to their culture (sorry, done with the soapbox for now)
- The Omnipresent Garbage Can: Tired of holding that Fanta can? No problem, just chuck it in the street/sidewalk/park/water, whatever is most convenient so your not burdened with it one second longer!
- Moz Mossies: I can't imagine this place in the wet season. One night I slept with my arm against the mosquito net and woke up with 32 (I kid you not) bites on my forearm/hand.
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