|I met James from the UK the first night I arrived in Maputo. He was 25, from the UK and a food microbiologist although he had no formal qualifications. He collected Victorian bottles, coins and skeletons he found during his jaunts to Wales and the Lakes District. He owned an original Land Rover and loved to four wheel drive, somewhat unsurpisingly, I suppose. He was on his first serious overseas trip, to Africa no less and had already been at Fatima's backpackers for three days. He was resigned to waiting out the week until his flight home from Johannesburg.
We got on like a house on fire.
"Have you been to see the train station?" I asked as we finished breakfast. I expected he had since the guide book describes it as a "'must see' designed by a certain M.Eiffel who was also responsible for something or other in Paris" but he hadn't.
It was on the other side of town, so we spent the day walking and looking at all the other city sights along the way, such as they were, from the pristine City Hall to streets that look like they've been bombed. I'm assured they haven't.
"What else were you planning here?" he asked me at the end of the day.
"My mate Jordan from Capetown told me not to miss the island 40km off the coast. It was called Inhaca (in-ya-ca) and we asked around for directions. We were told to catch a taxi to the port at 5.30am. I woke up at 5.40am and rushed out to reception to find him asleep.
"You stood me up" he groaned as he struggled to wake up. He hadn't slept well that night. We caught the taxi but there was no boat, or at least until the next day and US$40 each way to boot.
Undeterred we made our way to the natural history museum.
It too, was closed.
"Open Tuesday to Saturday 8.30am" the guard informed us.
"Is there anything else you need to know?"
"The way to the beach?" I asked hopefully. My map indicated something called the Costa Do Sol to the North of the city with an annoying arrow accompanied by the words "10km". OK, I know they're numbers and letters but you get my drift.
The boys at the museum drew a mud map to the local bus stop.
"Thanks a lot"
"Anything else?" they asked.
"Is there a boat to Inhaca Island?"
A mobile phone call found the "Nylete" left at 7.30am the next morning from the jetty at the other end of the port.
US$7 each way
We spent Monday at the Costa Do Sol and Tuesday at the island.
Lucky the museum was closed!
As a footnote, I wrote this yesterday at the hostel before I met Beau and Jared, an Aussie and a Kiwi who are attempting to kayak from above the Tropic of Capricorn off the coast of Mozambique around the Cape of Good Hope to above the Tropic of Capricorn off the coast of Namibia on the other side. Never a dull moment!
You'll need an atlas!
They need a miracle, I reckon.
I want to see the movie they're making and tell you all "I met them! I met them!"
You know how I hate attention!