Misfits Mid Life Crisis Adventures in ………….. Mozambique and South Africa.
Week 25, Saturday 6 to Friday 12 December 2014.
This week I have mainly been listening to….. Sophie B Hawkins, Goldfrapp, Lots of MORRISSEY, lots of KATE BUSH, Arcade Fire, Blur, Kirst Aid Kit.
And have been watching…. Fringe (Season 3), Fringe (Season 4), The Hunger Games “Mockingjay Part 1” (In Cinema in Nelspruit), The Mask (in Portuguese on the Greyhound coach), Inglorious Basterds (with Portuguese subtitles on TV in Maputo), Django Unchained (with Portuguese subtitles on TV in Maputo),
Still reading…… Morrissey’s Autobiography
Saturday. Last night late I got a skype call from SAZ in Sri-Lanka but the connection was terrible; HEL and her were leaving for the UK in a couple of hours there trip is over. Saturday morning was busy with an Ocean Safari that I jinxed it by saying that we were going to be in and out of the water. I was wrong, but a Whale Shark saved the trip. Once back on dry land I kitted up for a dive in which I swept for Chris at “Simons Town” however the GPS co-ordinates appear to be off as yesterday and today we dropped in different location to where we should, oops. At depth I was buddied up with a customer who hadn’t dive with us before. During the dive he indicated that he had weight problems (not enough weight on his belt) so I ended up giving him 2 weights from my BCD pockets, I went from 6kg to 4kg in an instant. I was a little worried I might be too light, but it turned out to be amazing I was so light and felt weightless I really felt I had more control, so 4 kg it is next time.
Sunday, I left Tofo with Gert and Rina at 6.30 am, so an early start. We had a couple of little pit stops along the way but other than that we plodded on south. We were through the border so quickly there was no queuing like before it was straight in and stamped straight out actually crossing the border at 15.00pm (8,1/2 hrs of travelling). We reached Nelspruit at 5pm (10 hrs of travelling) once arriving at the backpackers I realised that it was a little more expensive than I thought. So after a little bit of ringing around and looking on the web in the rain a cheaper option was found. Finding it proved difficult, but in the end the little guest house hiding behind the traditional South African high wall and electronic gates with armed response posters everywhere was found. My accommodation ended up being a little caravan in the back garden; it was small but cheap and cheerful. The lovely older couple who ran it invited me in for a meal and we watched Strictly Come Dancing (The BBC version, mum would be pleased) together. Gert and Rina had another 300 plus km to go until they got home to Pretoria, they have been so lovely to me I am so in their debt.
Monday, in the morning Gail and Sammy the owners took me in to town and I got some passport pictures for the visa application. The address I got off the internet for the Mozambique consulate was wrong, after some detective work it was found round the corner. Filled in paper work and was told that the passport pictures were not needed (however it’s not a total waste of money as I need a picture for the PADI DM paperwork). I was then told to go up the road to a large bank and pay R1500 (I was given consulate bank account info), after paying I was to return with the receipt and come back tomorrow at noon. Found the bank and queue for 20 minutes to pay, later while waiting for a cash point I noticed a man drawing out money and shoving it in a briefcase already full of cash, strange I thought. When you get directions from people here in SA they say “left at the robot, go right at the 3 way robot”, which got me all excited as I was expecting C3P0, K9 or Gort. However what they’re talking about is just traffic light. Maybe the good people of Nelspruit have got disillusioned with how slow robotic technology is going, I know I am, and they have decided to use the word “robot” for everyday items. At one “robot” I saw a small truck with lots of wire crates filled with live chickens, the poor birds had no shade and no water, some were lying with heads and beaks out of the cages horrible site.
Tuesday, I was at the consulate early so just sat there reading and listening to music. At 11.40ish I get pointed at and called to the desk and handed my passport, inside was a shiny new 3 month visa. The Mid-life crisis continues until at least early March. The first thing I did was to book my Greyhound bus out of Nelspruit tomorrow. The rest of the day was spent walking around in shops stocking up on a few things like bug spray and sun cream. I managed to get Wi-Fi in a coffee shop (I had a frappe and a burger while surfing) the net access was only for 30 mins this gave me enough time to just say “Hi” to the good people of the Earth and let them know I’m still alive. I have walked everywhere so far in Nelspruit but I ended up getting a cab to and from a shopping centre out of town. The reason I went there was to go to the cinema, I saw “The Hunger Games, Mockingjay Part 1”. I made sure I had my traditional seat, middle of the front row with a large salt popcorn and drink. I watch films on my computer but it’s not the same as being in a huge dark room with a massive screen. In the UK I go once or twice a month It’s one of the only things I really miss. I’m a geek and always stay for the end credits some films have little scenes hidden in them or at the end. I don’t know if there was today as the picture just stopped during the credit, let’s just say I was not happy and I did mention it to the staff, nicely. I have to be out of the caravan by 9am tomorrow, a long day ahead with lots of travelling.
Wednesday, started in Nelspruit SA and ended in Maputo MZ. Said goodbye to the Caravan it was small but it served its purpose. I found a huge snail in the garden it was a monster, I moved it from the pathway to bushes, spoke to Gail the owner and she said there are a few of them in her garden. The woman at coach office remembered me (not sure if that’s good or bad). The bus was advertised as late but actually arrived pretty much on time and we left at 2pm. Highlights of the trip were passing rivers named “Tin” and “Boundary”, seeing a man at a pit stop walking past holding a bit of wood and pretending to play it like a guitar, and seeing everyone appearing to buy eggs at the last pit stop. I got speaking to a nice man who looked like Bishop Desmond Toto called Michael very interesting man telling me about the war and being a freedom fighter. Got to the border at 4pm and had to queue up, to get out of SA and back in to MZ, a number of people annoyed me by just pushing in and getting to the front quicker. As we got nearer to Maputo the traffic got heavier and the “robots” (see Monday if you don’t know what I mean) were working as they didn’t appear to be working when I passed by on Sunday. The rush hour traffic is just like London the only difference is the heat and the mozzies, oh and no one seems to obey any road rules. Getting to Maputo around 6pm, I jumped in a cad straight away and was taken to Fatima’s backpackers. I spent the very raining evening and night on the net and watching great films with Portuguese subtitled.
Thursday, I nodded now and then sitting in front of the TV showing programmes in Portuguese all through the night, but I didn’t actually sleep. The rain didn’t stop in fact it got heavier with thunder and lightning throughout the night. At 5am myself and 2 aussie girls got in a cab and were taken to the bus station where our bus waited. Between 5.15am and 7.30am the bus gradually got fuller and fuller all the time people coming up to windows trying to sell things. We finally left at 7.30 and for the first 30 minutes we kept stopping so more people would get on. When the door was open a high pitch loud warning would ring out, everyone seemed oblivious to it, but the noise was going through me and the aussie girls. As the journey continued my legs got numb and knees ached, I would stretch them under the seat in front as best I could and try to stand briefly to make them feel better. We didn’t stop until noon, those 10 minutes I made the most of walking about and stretching my legs. After this it was back on the happy bus finally reaching Inhambane at 3ish. This meant that I arrived in Tofo after 4pm, it’s been a long ride and a long day. I was so happy to be back in Tofo, seeing the people from the dive centre is great, I think they were happy to see me. My new visa means I will have to do this trip every 30 days, I hate the thought of that bus trip but if it means that I get to spend more time in Tofo and with these lovely people then it’s worth it. This evening Cindy and family were over for a great meal that Jenny made (with the help from the kids that is).
Friday. I have booked a new flight to London on 6 March 2015, I had a flight booked for December 15th but I felt it was going to be easier in the end to just buy a new one. This is actually my third London flight, next time I must looking in to doing some sort of exchange as its quite costly doing it like this. I then went to Inhambane airport and changed the Mozambique flight, this is also the third time I have changed this and so far each time it’s not cost a Met (or a pound). I walk in the office with the new flight info and a few minutes later I walk out with a confirmation. Today was so hot, even after a shower I was still hot and sweaty. The rest of the day was spent moving as Jenny and I have moved from the house that we were living in. The new house is just down the road, I only have a couple of cases and bags but Jenny has so much more stuff. We managed everything in a few trips, with help from Cindy and her 4×4 truck. The new house is smaller than the old one but just as nice. Once we were in we discovered that there was a power cut so as it got darker the candles came out and we moved a few things about to make space. I actually move again next week as my bosses from Liquid are going back to Finland for Crimbo and am moving in to their place with Mike from Liquid (my Tofo son), as a result I’m not really unpacked tonight. The power came back just as we were going out to Chris place not far away; he was having a late bday Liquid bash. Lots of sausage, kebab and choc cake, yum……
The end of a very busy week, many miles travelled, numb legs and a flat bottom but I have a new visa, the Mid-Life Crisis continues…….