Mona and I started the first day on the road outside Shoprite at 5am and got a chapa out to Inchope where the EN1 and the EN6 intersect. In Inchope, fondly referred to as “the armpit of Central”, you can get transport south towards Vilanculos and Maputo, west towards Chimoio and Tete, north to Nampula, Lichinga and Pemba or east to Beira, so it’s always full of passing vehicles. We started boleia-ing from the gas station and got a ride pretty quickly from some folks headed to Nicoadala. The roads get progressively worse as you head north and this particular stretch is cheio de potholes. We got about 100km short of Caia when the front axle broke as the driver unsuccessfully swerved around a pothole. We got out to look at what we thought was a flat to find the front left tire lying flat on the ground with the car resting on top of it. Realizing this was not an easy fix, Mona and I thanked the guys and flagged down another ride. This second car dropped us in Caia and we ended up just getting on a bus headed all the way to Nampula. Twelve hours later we arrived in Nampula City and were able to crash at the house of a friend of a friend with hot running water. A hot shower and a cold beer was exactly what I needed after 18 hours on the road! The next morning we got a bus out to Angoche where I stood in the aisle for three of the four hours and was surrounded by vomiting women and babies. Sounds awesome right?
My time in Angoche was amazing however. It’s a beautiful old city on the coast that was once the stronghold of a Muslim sultan. It’s got wide streets, trash service, beautiful beaches and apas! A group of volunteers from all groups (14, 15, 16 and 17) were in town from surrounding sites for one guy’s birthday so I was able to catch up with a bunch of volunteers I don’t normally see. After a couple days I headed back to Nampula with two of the 17ers going to their Reconnect Conference and the four hour trip took us over seven before the truck ran out of gas. Again, I was able to flag down a car with room for the three of us and we got into the city just before dark. I was really only there to get my flu shot and get out going south but that wasn’t an option at that hour. Luckily PC put me up in the hotel with the 17ers (I mean I was there on “official/medical business”) and I got another hot shower, good food, a night out and a comfy bed. So sometimes things do work out in my favor!
Bright and early the next morning I got my flu shot and found the parragem with a bus to Alto Molocue as I was headed back south to Quelimane. Naturally the bus didn’t leave for almost four hours and I got what had to have been the last chapa from Alto to Mocuba where Tonya (a fellow 15er) was kind enough to take me in for the night. I was just three hours from Quelimane at this point so I left around 7am and waited on the road for a boleia. Several chapas and open-backs tried to snag me with “Estou pronto” “ vou sair agora” and “eu nao vou demorar” and one even grabbed my backpack and took off down the road (he eventually returned and threw my bag at me through the window without stopping)! I was about ready to sit on the side of the road and cry when a really sweet Portuguese man stopped and said he was headed all the way into Quelimane. And less than three hours later I was in the town of bike taxis catching up with my wonderful friend Meagan. I got a couple good days of food, conversation and tv shows before returning to Chimoio (a six hour trip that took eight and involved a transit cop refusing to return my passport until I agreed to take him back to America with me) and eventually back to The Dombe for the start of the second trimester.
|Quelimane bike taxi|
|a previous bike taxi experience in Malawi|
To summarize, I was traveling for about two weeks and about half of those days were spent on the road. Yea for traveling in Mozambique!
Stronger - Kelly Clarkson (the traveling didn't kill me so I must be stronger right?)