Arsenal Gap Year Part 1 - GDM Club. Manica, Mozambique travel blog


Saturday's are tournament days and also early start days. So, once awoken from my deep slumber, I cracked on with getting ready. The coaches were prepped and all we had to do was layout the slightly bigger pitches than last week's tournament for the U14s. We were expecting 6 teams however we received 4 so the same format as last week was applied. Pingi had got the children to carry the goals to the pitch so we had 4 mini goals for the 2 pitches - perfeito! By the way it's not extortionate getting kids to carry stuff around they actually love it in Mozambique. It shows how friendly and welcoming everyone is and we could all learn from them.

The tournament was another success with Giantkillers winning again and Academica finishing second with Drew and me refereeing all the games... Drew looked like the next Paul Durkin and I was obviously the next Howard Webb.

Back in time for lunch we relaxed although my head was throbbing and had been for a couple of days.

We parked ourseleves in front on the TV and moved onto the serious part of the day - watching the football. I had a gimme bet that Man Utd, Man City and Arsenal would win so I settled down to revel in the glory. Therefore when City were 2-0 up and Arsenal were 4-0 up after 10 minutes the pound signs were spinning round my head. Fast forward to 6.45 and my head was sunk deep in my hands. What a day of football action! This was enhanced by the fact that both of us had bets on and had promised to go fake Nandos that night if our bets came through. We were bound to win but instead we ended up with egg on our faces and a visit to fake Nandos in serious doubt. We were going to use our winnings to fund the 'chicken run', however both our bets flopped. Drastic action had to be taken to convince Drew to go Vumba Lodge so I offered him these words of persuasion. Fair enough we didn't win anything but why not go anyway and cheer ourselves up?! Bit like someone tucking into a chocolate cake after being dumped, they know they shouldn't but they still do because it makes them feel better - we felt very dumped indeed.

Luckily Short gave us a lift to our church and we walked in saying hello to the waitresses like I was back at the Big Breakfast.

We had been told by the owner about a big Lebanese guy who ate there every Saturday. You may be thinking 'what's a Lebanese national doing there?' Well Schalk told us there's a fair amount of them in Manica and their into dodgy business. Mining and illegally exporting gold and precious stones which is why the police are hot foreigners around town.

Anyway back to the fella in Vumba Lodge, the owner told us he eats 20 Rissos every Saturday without fail! Rissos is a starter which consists of prawns deep fried in bread crumbs. I tell you Nandos has missed a trick by not having these little beauties on its menu.

Aafter exchanging greetings with the Lebanese man's posse we sat at our table and ordered. These ocassions are our big nights out, a break from the normality of eating at the club.

We reflected on a good day safe in the knowledge that we'd already hit our speed bump for the day by losing the bets.

Lone behold just as our chicken dish was literally yards away a power cut struck. So little did I know that the brief glimpse I just had was all I would see of it for a few minutes. We knew our dinner was somewhere in front of us and my hunger pains made me take the most logical action in this situation. I immediately began doing my finest Stevie Wonder impression and my hands began prodding around in front of me for my dinner. No time like the present right.

There's nothing finer than dining in the dark it was fantastic a real workout for the senses. My favourite part was finding that extra morsal of meat on the bone. Just when I thought I was finished I'd flip the bone over and hey presto! There it'd be!

Soon enough the waitress brought us a standing lamp which brought the experience to an end. We went to pay the bill and ask to borrow a torch for the journey home. Instead they gave us a candle and a box of matches and just as they plonked them in front of us and dread filled our faces ... the power returned hurrah.

We left and were walking back along the main road when WHAM! another power cut. It summed up our day and it was worse because the main road is a highway for these juggernaut lorries. So no light from the lamp posts plus juggernaut lorries thundering down the road equals petrifyed tourists.

As we wandered back in the dark I heard and saw a rustling in the bushes to my right. I froze in some sort of readiness for some sort of wild animal attack and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. Suddenly something big came out, and i'm not talking about in my boxers, I freaked. Jumped and shuddered out of my skin to realise.................... it was a just a man who'd had a piss.

I was in tears laughing at myself and Drew was cracking up.

We ploughed on and Drew was slightly shitting himself about our predicament. This only caused me to laugh even more and play up by shouting randomly in the dark to scare him.

We made it back to the ranch only to have my day compounded by there being another power cut while I was on the toilet.



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