This is a blog about my travels. My "regular" life is much too boring to bother blogging about.

Monday, June 30, 2008


Not for the first time, the chapa I was riding on broke down (random factoid: standard minibuses in Nampula province are called tanzanianos, because they were bought from Tanzania). Usually, the driver or conductor gets out and toils under the hood or under the car for a while and fixes the problem within 5 or 10 minutes. On my way to Cuamba, of course, the bus broke beyond immediate repair and I had to take a truck. But instances like that are rare, Mozambicans are skilled and resourceful mechanics. So when I heard a thud and a pop perhaps 20 minutes out of Ilha, I wasn't overly concerned. I started getting worried 20 minutes later when the driver took out his cell phone and called someone... ten minutes later, a guy showed in a truck with a bunch of ropes, and towed the tanzaniano to the nearest village, to a garage.

The problem was with a giant spring. Don't ask me where the spring came from, I know absolutely nothing about cars. It was a really big spring, however. So this is what ended up happening: the biggest men in the area had to hold down the spring while a smaller dude wrapped twine around it or something like that. And by biggest guys in the area, I mean me. The thing was really difficult to hold down, it took like 15 of us to do it. We had to hold it there for half an hour while the smaller mechanic did whatever he was doing with it. I asked someone what exactly was happening but my Portuguese vocabulary doesn't extend to automotive/mechanic words. Eventually, the problem was fixed to the mechanic's satisfaction and the spring was re-fitted. And then we drove off.

I will now add "Mozambican garagehand" next to "Mozambican firefighter" on my CV.


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10:23 a.m.  

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