We took an overnight bus from Joburg to Maputo. And I now have something new to add to my list of “Tried it. Did it. Not sure if I’ll ever do it again.”
We spent the day in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique in order to confirm my prejudice that most African cities are hot, loud, dirty places without too much going on for tourists. Unfortunately, Marvin (remember him? From all the Rwanda blog postings?) moved out of Maputo 6 months ago so he wasn’t around to show us around.
We checked in at our hostel, where we were fancy and got a private room (with a shared bathroom, because like…we’re not THAT fancy) and – because internet at the hostel didn’t start until 7pm – headed out to start wandering.
I will take the opportunity of this forum to quickly rant about our hostel, Fatima’s Backpackers. When we asked for restaurant recommendations, the receptionist quickly pulled out a map and circled two restaurants. Too tired to do our own exploring, we blindly followed her recommendation and ended up at what most be the most expensive restaurant in Maputo. It also probably had the highest concentration of foreigners in Maputo. This isn’t exactly what hostels are supposed to do…they’re supposed to help you find the local, cheap places!! [And then…the next day, when we asked how to get to the airport, they cited that it would be a 400 meticais (~$12) cab ride. This sounded reasonable, until we got in the cab and realized that the airport was maybe all of 4km away. I’m not sure it would have cost that much in NYC!]
Anyways, we wandered. We went to all the touristy places we had heard of [1 – the train station which turns into a club on weekends…but we weren’t there on a weekend] and took our pictures outside a few others and avoided the “no go” areas on the maps provided by our “trusty” hostel. We had that bit of time when we got quite lost trying to find our way back to our hostel but tried to pretend it was all part of the adventure even though really both of us just wanted to be back at our hostel. I had an “I love/miss Africa” moment when, approximately 30 minutes after ordering spaghetti bolognaise (already quite the African dish…not being sarcastic), our waitress informed us that they cannot make spaghetti bolognaise. I did not learn if it was because they did not have the spaghetti or the bolognaise.
And then, we headed to bed to thankfully continue our journey, away from an overcrowded and dirty African city.
|Per most African cities...there was a fort to explore in Maputo.|
|At one point, we stumbled across what seemed to be a modern African art museum full of pieces that made use of recycled materials...it was actually pretty cool!|
|More of the cool art pieces.|
|Even more of the cool art pieces.|
|One of the few things our hostel was good for was providing us with entertainment with this sign...I've never been requested to leave a toilet seat UP!|