July 19, 2004

On the Road in Mozambique
Okay, I think it is fair to say our blog has gotten whiny as of late.  I think it is a result of two things: 1) traveling in Mozambique is just hard. Their infrastructure needs a lot of work starting with their roads. And unfortunately as Jim mentioned in his last post, the via air option isn´t really any better.  and 2) It is winter here in Southern Africa.  Mozambique has definitely come through with some beautiful beaches, but we haven´t been able to enjoy them properly because the weather is what it is :(
But our journey from Vilanculos to Nampula deserves a blog entry, so I´m afraid the whining won´t stop yet. Although I will try to temper it ;)  Our non-stop via land traveling started in Vilanculos Saturday morning at 3am and continuned until we landed here in Nampula at 11pm Sunday night.
What I Would Change, and What I Wouldn´t
  • I would change that after walking a kilometer to the bus station at 3:30am with our packs on our backs and a few streets going uphill, that there was no bus going north that day.  But I wouldn´t change the opportunity to have one more amazing dinner at Zombie Cucumber that night.
  • I would change that our second 3:30am walk to the bus station the next day found the bus heading north full; but I wouldn´t change the extra hours of sleep I got after we returned to ZC.
  • I would have changed waiting almost 6 hours on the side of the street hoping for a bus heading north that had room for us; but I wouldn´t have changed places with Cara and Tommy who had been waiting there 3 hours before we got there!
  • I would have preferred no music or a variety of music on the bus, but REM´s Automatic for the People playing in a loop was much better than blaring 80´s Love Ballads (See blog entry "On To Vilanculos" dated July 11).
  • I would have changed the ´ bus stop´ in Inchope - which was literally just a huge intersection between highways - in pitch black at 9:30pm to wander around the different corners looking for a minivan heading towards the river crossing at Caia.  I wouldn´t have changed meeting our wonderful English-speaking companion Mekesh who was heading the same way we were.
  • I would have changed my seat in the back row of the minivan on our 4+ hour ride to Caia where even my knees were pressed into the seat in front of me; but I would not change my ability to sleep through most of it.
  • I would have changed arriving in Caia at 2:40am only to have to wait until 4:30am for the ferry to cross us over the river. But I wouldn´t have changed taking the early morning people ferry rather than the 6:30am bus&car ferry.
  • I would prefer that the legal capacity for these minivan rides was less than 23 adults. I would prefer that children under the age of 10 did count in that headcount and weren´t required to sit on laps. I would prefer (even with said heacount) that they sat us 3 across in a row rather than smash 4 of us.  I would prefer that the average size of the typical Mozambiquan was half of what it is and that deodorant was part of the culture.  But I wouldn´t change that I am only 5 feet tall and that yoga has done enough good for me that I can sit smashed in a small space for long hours with relatively few complaints.
  • I prefer busses to minivans; but I prefer minivans to no busses at all.
  • I would prefer that chickens under the back seat didn´t squawk every time the minivan hit a bump (I mentioned the conditions of the roads already right?  You know those egg-carton foam things  you put on your bed in college to make it softer - it´s like they paved the roads with cement versions of those......).  But I wouldn´t have traded those chickens for a pig (See blog entry "What to title this one?" dated May 14).
  • I would have changed that when we asked Mekesh how much longer to Nampula the answer was always 3-4 hours which inevitably would be the same answer we got 3-4 hours later.  I wouldn´t change making this journey without Mekesh.
  • I would have liked to have stopped once for food, maybe twice to go to the bathroom; but I wouldn´t have liked to stop overnight in some of the towns they usually stop in.
  • I would have changed the sick boy who puked on himself and the seat during the last half of the journey.  But I wouldn´t have changed my seat, three rows back.
  • I would have changed most of the entire 44-hour non-stop epic journey, but I wouldn´t change that it is over.  And most importantly, I wouldn´t change my fabulous traveling hubby companion whose super-tall-self I know suffered more on this journey than me.

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