on travel, thoughts, and the art of short fiction

Maputo

In Mozambique on May 10, 2008 at 1:57 am
Today is my three month anniversary. Time is flying.
Technically, I am on my investigation period. I’ve been looking forward to this.
Friday I went to Maputo to visit Tamika, explore the city and the ADPP project there.I have a new respect for Maputo. I was able to have a good time there this time around, unlike when I first arrived.

Maputo is a city of extremes. In the Maputo Shopping Center (a giant LA style outdoor mall), the prices were so high, I couldn’t afford to purchase anything. Clothing at some stores retailed for over two hundred American dollars, jewelry in the thousands. Who were these stores catering to? The stores were basically empty and the workers, friendly and eager to make a sale. Tamika and I smiled and browsed and kept it moving.

The mall in Maputo

Need a car? Stop by the Maputo Mall

Oh my goodness. I forgot about these!


We met up with J, who is from Maputo. He and his friend took us around and showed us some sites.
Maputo was as dirty and crowded as I remembered, but it also had charm. The Jardim Tunduro (the botanical garden), was like New York’s Central Park, a little oasis of calm and green in the midst of a chaotic pulsing city. The architecture in the park was charming and there was quite the variety of exotic flora.
The National Museum of Art was breathtaking. Mozambique is home to some extraordinary artists. Many of the sculptures and paintings chilled me to the bone as they were the artists response to either colonization or the brutal civil war that followed. I almost expected some of the sculptures to scream out in anguish at any moment shattering the windows and walls.

The front lawn of the museum of art

There were Kentucky Fried Chickens and Domino’s Pizza’s in Maputo. The KFCs in Maputo were far nicer and cleaner than any KFCs I’ve ever seen in America.


The restaurant scene in Maputo deserves mention. I am a self-proclaimed foodie and there were several delicious dining venues. Tons of Indian, Chinese, Arabic and Italian food establishments lined the streets. I will say this and I will swear by it, traditional Mozambican food is DELICIOUS and there are so many opportunities in Maputo to sample the local cuisine.The nightlife in Maputo was great. We went out with J and some  of his friends (Maputo locals) who took us to Gil Vissants, a night-club, lounge, live music venue. A local jazz band played the night we went and they were absolutely fantastic. I felt like I was back in New York, the people, the scene, I loved it. There was a great mix of locals and ex-pats. There are so many creative types in Maputo. I think the city is on the brink of some sort of revival. It’s going to be great! Keep your eyes on Maputo.


We arrived in Inhambane on Wednesday. Tamika came back with me and is now transferring from the ADPP in Maputo to the one here in Inhambane. Long story short, she was virtually ignored at her project – go figure. She is transferring to Inhambane to attempt to get something out of this volunteer program.The chapa ride back was an adventure, but I don’t have time to chronicle it right now since I have a job interview over gmail chat which I will also explain at a later time.

our ill fated chappa

Main Idea: The first part of my investigation period in Maputo went well. The city is lovely and deserves mention and a visit from any of you daring enough to venture to Mozambique!

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