December 12, 2008

Africa 2: Maputo, where life moves in slow motion

Maputo is the capital of Mozambique, and is bordered by South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Malawi. At first glance, Maputo is a lovely town... wide roads, ups and downs, beaches. But when you look closely, you find that the kachra-kundis on the main roads are overflowing, and public places are a picture of neglect and improper maintainance.

The Portuguese colonised Mozambique for over 500 years, and the country became independent only as recently as 1975. Portuguese is the official language and Ronga is the local language. The money is called Metical, with 1 USD being equal to about 25 Meticais, yes, stronger than the rupee.

View from our hotel window...couldn't this be Hyderabad?

The town hall

On weekends, on the beach road, young people make merry...they drink beer and dance to music from their cars. We later learnt that drinking has, of late, become a big problem with people in Mozambique. Apparently 75% of the people are addicted, and if they had limited money, they would rather spend it on a drink rather than on a meal.

Along the beach of a series of collages, apparently done by students of the art school.

The ferry is an institution, somewhat like the one in Goa (Portuguese influence?). We waited for 2 hours to get into this one. Cars, lorries, cattle and people park themselves on the ferry and it takes you across to the other side. This travel can take 4-5 hours! Life in slow motion! But people are calm and patient...I found myself very accommodative here. I am not, in Hyderabad!

It was great to see a place full of these beautiful people.

This one's a competition for our autos! These are called Hop-on, Hop-off, and take people on a city tour, where you hop-on, hop-off, of course!

We flipped for these beautiful crafts, Tara and I! Who wouldn't? They are out of this world. Fantastic craftsmanship, and loads of them everywhere. The pavement shop-wallahs are quite desperate to sell, and we used our Hyderabadi bargaining skills to get the right price!

...To be continued

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