Is it too late for my SA Trip Report?

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Jan 14th, 2004, 10:11 AM
  #21
 
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kewilliam,

Hehe...how much did ONE MILLION METACAIS turn out to be worth??? Was the broken Spanish a ploy or were their police officers trained by Fidel Castro and speak Spanish??? (Bet your lovely bride, despite the lover's quarrel, didn't offer to walk home or to the hotel, at least not in Mozambique!)
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Jan 14th, 2004, 12:01 PM
  #22
sandi
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You go Kevin - that's how to do it, speak a "foreign" language. It didn't do you any good - you could have spoken pig-latin, same thing - "we want your money or your car" - you still had to pay.

And just how much money in USD did you have to part with? I'm lovin' this now, sure is getting more exciting.
 
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Jan 14th, 2004, 12:59 PM
  #23
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The national language in Mozambique is Portugese and my map tells me Portugal is really close to Spain so I figured the languages would be similar. No such luck. I really was trying to communicate with him.

$1 US Dollar is equal to about 25,000 Mozambiquan Metacais although I had no idea what the exchange rate was when he asked for his million. So my traffic ticket was around $40 US...not bad considering my last speeding ticket in Northern CA was over $100 US. And there was no way she would/could/should walk around Mozambique alone at night. Especially Maputo.
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Jan 14th, 2004, 02:17 PM
  #24
 
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What I want to know is, given that at the time you had no idea of the exchange rate, what color did you and your new bride turn when he asked for ONE MILLION?
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Jan 15th, 2004, 05:18 AM
  #25
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After a good nights sleep, we awoke with a new sense of optimism about Mozambique. We decided to explore the markets around Maputo. The crafts are similar to the ones found in Swaziland but you were able to procure illicit goods such as elephant tusks and leopard skins (we didn't). Begging was quite common here (NEVER happened in Swaziland) as was the old "I'll watch your car" trick. For the uninitiated, this involves you parking your car somewhere and then when you come back to it, a guy will be standing near it demanding money because he "watched" it for us. I wouldn't say the streets of Maputo are dangerous but they are busy and dirty and I would think twice about walking around them alone at night. Maputo is also on the ocean but its black coffee color makes it less than appealing to take a dip in. Apparently, there is a local river that empties into the Maputo bay releasing sediment and god-knows-what-else. We stayed at the Holiday Inn (I am a bit embarrased by this due to the fact we were in AFRICA) but it was the nicest one we found for under $100 US. There were several great restaurants that served good and cheap seafood (under $20 US for both of us including appetizers and drinks) and I found my new favorite beer. It is called Laurentina and they make two kinds - one light (claro) and one dark (preta). REALLY good beer. After spending a few nights here, we decided to get out of Maputo and travel up the coast a bit. We ended up in a small town about 3 hours away called Bilene. It was right on the water and we found these little bungalows at the Costa do Sol that overlooked the ocean. Very relaxing. Time was running short and we had a plane to catch back in Durban so it was time to leave Mozambique. But we had to go thru Maputo to get there.
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Jan 16th, 2004, 05:48 AM
  #26
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It was a leisurely 3 hour drive back to Maputo thru the beautiful Mozambique countryside. As I entered the city, things immediately got hectic as people and animals swarmed the road. Making a right hand turn onto one of the busiest streets in Maputo was tricky but as soon as I completed the turn I saw a police officer motion for me to pull over. The officer asked me to get out of the car and follow him across the street where he showed me the sign that forbids right hand turns. I apologized profusely, he nodded his head, smiled, even shook my hand and then asked for ANOTHER 1 million metacais. I began a diatribe (in English) about the way to encourage tourism and build the country's infrastructure is to treat tourists kindly and NOT to extort money from them. I am sure he understood none of this but he seemed perplexed. The next question he asked was "Well, then how much do you have?" I told him that all I had was US dollars. He conferred with another officer on the scene and apparently they did the currency conversion wrong because he came back and asked me for $4 US. With a sense of urgency, I pulled out my wallet that was stuffed with $100 US bills, discreetly removed a $5 bill, handed it to him and got the hell out there as fast as I could. It was a relief to finally get back to SA and after a quick shopping trip in the markets of Durban we caught a flight to Jo'Burg. Three hours later, we were on a flight to Atlanta plied with food and alcohol and fast asleep fully reclined in Row 17. It was a trip of a lifetime. Let me know if you have any questions and I have pics I can post online as well.

Kevin
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Jan 16th, 2004, 06:29 AM
  #27
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Kevin -

Very very colorful report. Kind of interesting to be traveling on your own, yes? and it only cost you $44 in traffic fines. Well, at least you'll have "stories" to tell for a long time to come. And do post the photos, I believe the Africaphiles will enjoy. Thanks.
 
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Jan 16th, 2004, 04:31 PM
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Kevin, you trip report on Mozambique is just fabulous and it brings the challenges and charms of Africa off the beaten track right back. I'm so glad to read a trip report that goes b beyond the familiar but lovely safari/winelands experience.

My husband and I spent 9 weeks all over Africa on our honeymoon and in addition to the high end safari lodges and the fabulous Capetown/Quatier Francias experience we travelled overland through Malawi and Tanzania.

In Malawi we took a ferry the length of Lake Malawi taking a private berth as we understood the ferry would reach the northernmost point the next morning.

For once African public transport arrived early...at 1am! We arrived into a tiny town with no Western style hotels. We ended up in a small guest (read shack) used primarily by long distance truckers...generally rented out with female companionship! The people looked so shocked to see two white people!

We were given a tiny cell like concrete block room and had to walk about 150 yds (in the dark) to a small toilet and shower (also in the dark)that was shared by the neighborhood!

The night cost 75 cent and that was for both of us! Thank goodness the next day we hit the road and hitchhiked to the border and found a decent place to stay with a bathroom. Ah the glamour of my honeymoon!
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Jan 16th, 2004, 05:00 PM
  #29
 
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Welltravelledbrit,

Come on...at $0.75 per night you didn't want to stay a full week!
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Jan 16th, 2004, 05:15 PM
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I swear I'm not exagerating! My husband thought if we could include a few couple more nights like that this one it would bring the per night costs of our vacation down dramatically...I think I mentioned divorce at some point during the conversation!
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Jan 17th, 2004, 03:36 AM
  #31
 
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Really enjoyed the trip report and also the memories from other posters...

Would love to see photos!
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Aug 20th, 2004, 01:03 AM
  #32
 
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topping...another very satisfied visitor to the Twelve Apostles. As was said in kevin's initial post:

>>>After a quick orientation with our stick shift rental car, we were off to Camps Bay and the 12 Apostles Hotel (30 minute drive from airport). Believe me, when I tell you this place was AWESOME. The staff's attention to detail, accomodations, views, food were all 1st class in my opinion. And the fact that it is AWAY from the waterfront was a bonus for us (honeymoon). During the days, we went to V&A Waterfront (overrated in my opinion), Robben Island (long, disorganized tour but interesting nonetheless) and shark diving in Gans Bay. Wayyyyyyy cool..

Selwyn, we are all crazy, and you are the expert. The first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem.

Okay, I have made my point. I am done with this discussion about the Twelve Apostles and wasting any additional energy responding to delusional (or highly jaded) individuals.
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