My Odyssey has happened far far away in the unknown ….for me… Mozambique, in the year of grace 2012! I can say that this is the story of my Iliad and my Odyssey. For who is not up to date with the ancient literature the Iliad talks about the Trojan War ( that one were Brad Pitt killed Eric Bana because Diane Kruger ran with Orlando Bloom) and the Odyssey talks about who other than Odysseus a.k.a. Ulysses by the Romans and his journey back home to Ithaca. This Ulysses guy is also known for having the great idea that finished the Trojan war and that is the wooden hollow horse also known as the Trojan Horse !
Now that I have improved your knowledge let me go back to my own Trojan War ! Since we arrived to Mozambique our desire was to buy a car. That was our war. Buying a car there, especially for us, living in the North, was not as easy at seems. Let me explain you ! Mozambique it is one of the poorest countries in the world. Appears always in the top 10 poorest or top 20 poorest. Regardless of the place in those tops, however you look at it Mozambique it is a poor country. As any country, even if it is poor, it does have its own rich people. However, most of them are not Mozambicans. The country it is also divided. North of the country is very poor. South is just poor.
We were living in the city of Nacala. That is North, in the region called Nampula. We looked around tried to get a decent car but we had no luck. By now probably things changed but at the beginning of 2012 Nacala was just starting to grow and most of the normal shops were missing.
So we have decided. I would go down to Maputo, get a car, drive it back North. That is more or less 2500 km. One way.
We started searching, mainly online and after a while we have found it. Our car. Not so big not so small, not 4WD but AWD, spacious, not so old … a jewel we thought. We have found a CRV from Honda !
It belonged to a Kenyan couple that was going out from Mozambique. Send them an email set up a meeting and there it was the long-awaited trip was there ! I thought … ok … this will be almost 5000 km. However it is by bus as I go ( on purpose I chose bus so I see some of the country … if I would only knew … ) and when I come I drive! This will be …peanuts ! I thought 2 days to get there, 2 days to get the car, 2 days to drive back ! I packed light, had nothing of value with me and there I went !
I got myself tickets for the bus, went to Nampula where the bus would start from and so the journey started. We were supposed to do Nampula – Beira , have a stop for a lot of hours and then continue for Maputo.
The bus went out at 4 PM and I was very excited to see Mozambique.
The bus : decent. Everybody had his own seat, that is important to say in Mozambique, and the bus was fairly clean. I could manage the trip. It had also a sort of air-conditioned. I mean the air was conditioned by the crack in the windshield. Which at the beginning of the trip was considerable. What I mean is that the left side of the windshield was completely shattered. So much that as soon as the driver step on it and reached 100 km/h small pieces of glass started to jump inside and the windshield started vibrating in a very unpleasant way. Ingenious people, the driver and his colleague which later I understood was the second driver, talked something in their own language and stopped on the side of the road where was a guy selling sticks. They got 2 sticks, made an X out of it, managed to get it stuck somehow on the windshield, used some pieces of expanded polyurethane , duct tape and that was it. We were able to continue the journey !
Important fact about Mozambique. National language . Portuguese. However, the country is divided in 11 regions. Every region has one or more tribes ( also known as ethnic groups) living inside. Every tribe has its own language. And no, apparently this languages do not have things in common.
Ok, that settled we can go on with our … my journey. Notable events on the way to Maputo !
In the bus we were 3 white people. Me and two other Austrians, one of them called Martin. He played an important part in the story on my way back ! He lived in Beira and the other guy was his best friend that came from Austria to visit for some weeks.
We leave Martin for the moment and to the next important event ! In Mozambique almost at any entry in a bigger city, there is a control. Police with military assigned to them are stopping whatever car they want ( usually if the driver is white, bigger chances of being stopped) and they control. I haven´t understood what is the control about. Anyway, the bus got stopped and 2 policemen went in the bus, checked some id´s random, checked the passports of the 2 Austrians and then checked mine. And stopped mine . Without any word from me they made me a sign to follow. Grabbed my small backpack just in case and went out. As I was going down I heard them speaking in Portuguese. And I listened. And I heard them being happy that I was not Portuguese, and how I am going to pay for my passport. I pretended I did not hear that in my best Portuguese I asked them if everything is ok ! They got very troubled by my Portuguese, very surprised, handed back the passport and told me to get back in the bus. Which I was very happy to do.
No other events took place and I just enjoyed the trip. If that can be called enjoyment. By the time I did this trip in between Nampula and Mocuba the road was being rebuilt. Which meant in plain English that there was no road. Looking at the non existing road I was getting worried in if the CRV is tall enough to pass through those potholes. This was thinking ahead that was proved to be useless.
The trip went good, and at around 7 AM next day we arrived in Beira. Spend there some hours (almost all day) and enjoyed the A/C from the first supermarket I have seen in months. A big big supermarket where they had everything that we did not have in Nacala. No events took place and next day in the morning I have arrived to Maputo. After 2 nights slept in the bus and 1 day spent going around Beira with no apparent goal I was exhausted. Grabbed a cab and went straight to the hostel where I had a reservation. As you can see my trip towards Maputo was not so exciting. But this were just the first 2 days. My trip that was supposed to be 6 days transformed in a trip that lasted in total about 14 !