31st January to 2nd February 2007
I showed Silva the accommodation options that I’d explored the week before. None of the cheap ($15) places had availability and the others we looked at were either overpriced ($50 or more) or didn’t have a secure spot to park the truck. None had aircon or hot water! Then we found the 5 star plush hotel, the only one in the city. It would cost almost $200 for a room and for a while we entertained the idea. An Indian man at the Bagdade cafe told us about a Complexo Touristica Bamboo out of town and called them to book us a spot. Later we worked out he owned the resort.
The place was a security village aimed at local (rich) tourists and businessman. Each mini-condo had it’s own en-suite bathroom, nice double bed and aircon. It was $54 per night and the first two units I was shown were crawling with cockroaches. I completely lost the plot and ordered the management to find me a cockroach free room and move all my luggage into it. I had a great hot shower and had to watch my own movie on my MPEG as the satellite TV they promised had all of two channels! Silva banged on my door and insisted we go party. I reluctantly agreed and we headed for Bagdade café again, this time to hunt for some woman. Silva was very keen to get laid as it had been all of three days since his last dirty deed with a local. He had been screwed over emotionally and financially by his Brazilian wife and was now bitter and rebellious. He didn’t sleep with white girls on ‘principle’, and had as much sex as possible for the two months of adventure travel he took each year. We never found any girls at Bagdade, but I had some interesting conversations with the locals at the bar. This one dude Paulo told me a funny story about his sister who was working as a flight controller in Lichinga, a large town on the edge of Lake Malawi. She had just lost her husband who left for another man. I don’t know what I said wrong, but all of a sudden he wanted to kill me. Silva came to my rescue, scolding the man in his own language, and we got out of there quickly. On our way home, we cruised the streets for a while, looking for another place to go out to and some cell phone credit for Silva to call his 3 year old daughter Donna. He turned into a completely different man when speaking to her, telling her about all his adventures in Africa (minus the censored stuff).
I saw two young girls heading home and stopped to ask them if they knew anywhere for us to go. I was driving as Silva was too drunk, and persuaded them to jump on his lap and come home with us to the Complexo.
They eagerly jumped in and we went home like couples. Silva wasn’t happy that they were more interested in me, but they did find his Brazilian accent quite cute.
We arrived home and went to our respective rooms, each with a girl in tow. I can’t remember her name, but let’s call her Gloria. She said she was 22 but I wasn’t so sure. I mixed some massage oil together and tried to explain to her what I had in mind. She didn’t speak or understand a single word of English, and I found it extremely difficult to convey the idea of giving each other a massage. I thought I would do her first, so as to show her how and what I needed. She was very scared and after a few seconds of massaging her shoulders, she jumped out and started screaming. I calmed her down but was still very confused as to why she had freaked out. She did an average job on my back and then demanded sex. I wasn’t that interested but she practically raped me. I felt shit after the brief intercourse we had and was irritated when she asked me for money. I was too naïve to realize that the girls had come home with us to make money, and not just for fun or to find a future Mzungu husband. I sent her to Silva’s room and made it clear she was to wait until they were ‘done’ and he would take them home.
I washed my hands of the matter, had a shower and went to bed.
Thursday 1st I spent the first hour of the morning defrosting my stiff body, as the aircon had only one setting – fucking freezing – and it didn’t help that I’d slept naked on top of the covers!
A buffet breakfast was included and we stuffed our bellies with muesli, fresh fruit and eggs.
Silva was wearing a broad smile that said ‘I’ve just had it all this morning’. I asked what had happened to my Gloria and he told me she had come in very pissed off. She explained to him that I threw chemicals over a body causing her tremendous pain. Maybe I did put too many drops of Olbas Eucalyptus oil in the mix. Maybe she was just over sensitive. Anyway, Silva consoled her by cleaning her in his shower and then she did all sorts of weird and wonderful things to him. He told me it was the best menage a trois he’d had and was grateful I had sent her over. He wouldn’t tell me how much the threesome experience cost him, but did admit they’d emptied his wallet after he drove them home!
Silva had to get a new tire and service the truck, and Nampula had a big Toyota Dealer. We took it in and they told us it would take a few days.
I was quickly running out of cash and investigated my flight options. It would be cheaper to fly back to Maputo than drive or take public transport.
I booked and almost paid for my half price student ticket, until they told my that they didn’t consider 31 year olds to be students. I protested and showed them my student card but they refused to budge on the issue. I tried two other airlines, but it was going to be too expensive. I hadn’t even taken into account the excess baggage costs.
We got a taxi home and I decided I would accompany Silva all the way back to Johannesburg. I would have to go more over my budget and at least five days over my 10 week limit. Silva wanted to make it to Maputo on Tuesday, which gave us four days to cover 2000 km. I was happy to travel so quickly and if we shared the driving it would be a walk in the park.
I needed sleep, Silva wanted another threesome. We took a taxi to town and searched for the discotheque which ended up being closed. The taxi driver took us to various spots and eventually we settled for Café Carlos. It was filled with white people, most of them volunteers for the UNHCR. I played someone’s guitar and ate Pizza while chatting to a Rastafarian who’d been involved with the Rwandan refugees. There were a twenty thousand of them as well as Congolese and Burundian refugees housed in a huge camp outside Nampula. After the bar closed we were entertained by a series of bitch fights that got very ugly. It was a bad idea for the men to get involved. The girls threw rocks at them, bit, pinched and pulled their hair out. They kicked the shit out of their motorbike and broke bottles on their cars. Silva and I sat on the wall across the road not knowing whether to laugh, cry or get involved and try break it up.
I will never forget his comment: “this is why Africans shouldn’t be allowed to drink”.
Our taxi finally arrived and we went home alone, sans ménage a trois!
Nampula to Alto Molócuè
I woke up with a bee in my bonnet. Silva wanted to get to Maputo by Wednesday and I wanted to leave ASAP so that we could spend some time on the beaches down south. I woke him up, we ate breakfast and paid the $108 damage each for our two nights at the Bamboo Complexo Turistica. I wasn’t a happy puppy because I’d spent my weekly budget in two days! Silva arranged a taxi driver who would take us around town, with all our bags in the boot, while we waited for the truck to be ready. We checked out the museum, which, like everything else in Mozambique, hadn’t changed much since the 70’s. The carver’s market was filled with men chipping away at fresh pieces of wood. The fruit of their labors looked worse than what we’d bought near Mueda, and their prices were just plain silly – 10 times what we’d paid.
There wasn’t much else to see in Nampula, so the taxi dropped us off at the Toyota garage where we would wait. And wait is exactly what we did – for over three hours!
They refused to let us near the truck, so we were forced to move all our belongings into the reception, where we debated setting up my tent!
I insisted Silva take a picture of the damaged tire with the mechanic present, to use as evidence when he needed Britz 4x4 rentals to refund him for the new tire and service. One of the pictures he pulled a brown eye (bent over and showed his hairy sphincter), much to the delight and embarrassment of the service manager.
We eventually got out of Nampula at 17:00. It was peak hour traffic on a Friday afternoon and the heavens decided to open up while I was buying some food for the road. Within minutes the roads were flooded and we got lost trying to find our way out of the city.
For the next 10 hours we alternated driving. I was on a mission to make it to Quelimane before sunrise. Silva just wanted a hotel all the way. The road got worse and worse until it disappeared. There was no light, it was overcast and the rain continued for most of the way.
We were traveling on the new highway being built, and there were more diversions than actual road. We soon realized that the diversions were far better than the ‘main road’, especially after we almost hit a truck that was hiding in thick fog. It was stuck in the mud proper and couldn’t turn around. We backtracked a few kilometers and drove with my window open, shining a 3 million candle power torch onto the road ahead. We were irritated and exhausted, but there wasn’t any option other than continuing. At around midnight, we stopped in Alto Molócuè, a ‘pleasant town and refueling point’. We had a drink at a bar, spoke to some locals about the road conditions, ignored their advice, and then continued on through the night, despite the mud and huge dongas we encountered as we left town.
It was really stupid for us to continue, but I promised to drive and Silva occasionally nodded off for a few winks. When the cigarettes and Coke didn’t keep us awake, the sudden change from tarmac to dirt did. This happened regularly and you couldn’t anticipate it either, because the fog was so thick. It was easier (and much safer) to drive off ‘the road’, almost on the encroaching fields, as it was softer and without potholes.
By 02:00 we reached Mocuba, which the LP describes as ‘a junction town for travel from Quelimane to Nampula or Malawi’. I was shocked to see huge palaces along the wide avenues in this small town.
We stopped at an open air bar for directions. The place was teeming with locals and I drove the truck right inside next to the tables. We had a few drinks with some girls (Silva wanted to stay) and I did some investigations. I found a Rastafarian who shed some light onto the wealth in Mocuba. A very expensive metal called Tantalum was mined near Mocuba. It is a rare, hard, blue-gray, lustrous, transition metal and is highly corrosion resistant. It has a wide array of uses ranging from capacitors in cell phones and laptops, to production of super alloys for jet engine components. It is even used in nuclear reactors and missile parts! The girls entertaining Silva told me we could reach Quelimane within two hours. I checked the map and calculated it was another 200 km’s away. I argued that it wasn’t possible to cover that distance, on these roads, in such a short time. They begged us to stay but I was on a mission and we headed off.
Lo and behold, two hours later Silva woke me up pointing at the ‘hot chicks’ strolling the streets of Quelimane.
He told me the road was perfect. We’d been driving from Nampula, almost non-stop, for 12 hours. I refused to check into a hotel, which Silva badly wanted/needed. I explained that we could possible check in at 07:00 and then stay until the following evening, thereby only paying for one night. At $115 a night, the Hotel Chuabo on Avenida Samora Machel was still way to expensive.
We parked outside the popular and happening Bar Aquário where we were pounced upon by several sexy girls. Silva got chatting while I jumped in the back of the truck and brewed some coffee.
Silva had woken me up on the away into town to show me the ‘girl in the gold dress’. It was hardly a dress, just a foil wrapping covering a tiny portion of her giant breasts and a smaller portion of her arse. We were wired to the moon.
While I was making some coffee, a girl walked up the stairs and into the truck. There was no verbal communication, just the language of lust, and next thing I knew the door was closed and we were having more fun than I care to mention. It’s a pity the back door didn’t lock from the inside, because a little boy kicked it open after repeatedly warning us of the polícia.