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

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Reason #49054024 why one should never equate "intelligence" with "doing a PhD": I wanted to go to bed early last night and get a 10 hour sleep under my belt before my 30 hour nightmare trip to Maputo. So of course, I went to trivia, drank several glasses of beer, went to the APK, drank more beer, went home much too late, slept poorly and then woke up at 7 AM. *Sigh*

I arrive in Maputo on June 6 in the late morning, and I'm assuming that day will be frittered away sleeping, and maybe taking a brief walkabout to get my bearings. Thankfully, this starts on June 7, so I won't miss any of it. Perhaps it's gauche to make a point of watching a European soccer tournament whilst traveling in Africa, but the locals will definitely be watching too (Mozambique, by the way, produced one of the greatest soccer players of all time) and plus, watching Greece win Euro 2004 in various Central European cities ranks among my most cherished travel memories.

I'm especially curious to observe the vibe during the Portugal games. Mozambique is of course a former Portuguese colony. Portugal was without a shadow of a doubt the worst African colonizers: they were the first ones in, the last to pull out (1975, as compared to the 1950s and 1960s for the French, British and Belgians), were enthusiastic slave traders, plundered pretty much everything of value, left comparatively little useful infrastructure (as I'm evidently going to find out first hand in northern Mozambique), and played domestic divide-and-rule so effectively that Mozambique and Angola were plunged into civil war almost immediately after achieving independence (South African shenanigans had a lot to do with that too). To be fair to the Portuguese, they've tried very hand to undo that legacy recently, not just in Africa but in all of their former colonies - I read somewhere that Portugal provides something like half of East Timor's operating budget in the form of no-strings-attached direct aid (I am too lazy to verify this, aren't I a fantastic scholar?), and I also know that Portuguese diplomats played important roles in trying to end the civil wars in Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau.

Which begs the question - how will the Portuguese team be treated by Mozambican spectators? Will they be cheered? Booed? Will they root for the other team to win? Whatever happens, methinks it'll be an interesting insight into the current state of Portuguese/Mozambican relations.


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