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

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Maputo Redux Part 2 - The End

So I've decided that Maputo is my favourite place in Mozambique. There may be a Naples-like rubbish problem, and the chapa drivers may be homicidal, but these negatives are far outweighed by its cultural diversity (there are probably 10 to 15 languages spoken on a daily basis in Maputo), surprisingly good restaurant life, and laid-back attitude. Maputo bustles, but it seems like only 1% of the population does the bustling. The rest are sitting around in cafes doing nothing, or loitering under the shade of a jacaranda tree. Best of all, people leave you alone here (with the exception of the craft sellers on Av. Julius Nyerere). They could care less if I'm a tourist, they have better things to do than harass me.

I am very glad I came back to Maputo. Cities are always better when you've been there before and know what you're doing and where you're going. There are two things that I wanted to do in Maputo, which I didn't do the first time around because I was too yellow. The first is sample the nightlife, which is reportedly amazing. Specifically, I wanted to go to Chez Rangel, which is a club in the train station. I read about Chez Rangel in an issue of National Geographic a while back - it was one of those "Mozambique is on the move!" type of articles - and ever since then Chez Rangel has been a big symbol of Mozambique for me. That article got me interested in Mozambique and sowed the curiosity that possessed me to come here. But I didn't end up going to Chez Rangel, because it's closed. Clubs in Maputo are open only from Wednesday to Saturday, and I unfortunately am here on a Monday and Tuesday. Secondly, I wanted to go to a giant market, the Mercado de Xipamanine. I went this morning. The market is the size of about 5 or 6 football fields, if not bigger. I'd say 75% of the goods on sale there were stolen; Xipamanine is the domain of the Maputo underworld. Shifty eyed people sized me up as I looked over gold jewelry. I'm very glad that I left my valuables at my hotel.

And so I leave tomorrow. I have had a blast in Mozambique. I don't really feel the need to elaborate on this in a larger passage, so I will just leave it at that. I hope you've enjoyed reading about my adventures. I've enjoyed writing about them.

Here is my itinerary for people who are interested in such things:

1. TAP 278, departs Maputo 17:35 (July 9), arrives Lisbon 5:45 (July 10)
2. TAP 354, departs Lisbon 8:10 (July 10), arrives London Heathrow 10:50
3. Air Canada 857, departs London Heathrow 12:05, arrives Toronto 14:45
4. Air Canada 7717, departs Toronto 16:50, arrives London, ON 17:30

I don't know what possessed me to take a flight through Heathrow, I despise that airport and avoid it like the plague. I'm a little worried that my bags will only be checked as far as Heathrow because on my way down, my bags were checked only as far as Sao Paulo. If I have to get my bags at Heathrow, I'm completely screwed, I'll miss my flight. There is no way I'll be able to fetch my bags, go from Terminal 2 to Terminal 3 and then check in again in 1 hour and 15 minutes. The people at the TAP office here told me that I'll be able to check my bags straight through to Canada from Maputo. I certainly hope so.

Also, that first flight almost definitely stops somewhere, because it does not take 13+ hours to fly from Maputo to Lisbon direct on an A340. I'm guessing it will stop in Johannesburg, but I'm hoping for some place more interesting, like Luanda (possible, but probably not), Bissau (unlikely), or Cape Verde (no chance).


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