Monday, February 22, 2010


The power went out two nights ago and has been out ever since, except for about 3 hours last night. The water has also been out for most of this time, but luckily it was raining this morning so we caught the water running off the roof to use for bathing.
After my classes I left for Maputo. I was happy because I got a medium size chapa in which you actually get your own seat and the rickety sides aren’t threatening to fall off at any point. For about a 20 mile stretch north of Xai-Xai, the EN-1 (the major national highway that runs north-south) is under construction and completely unpaved. It has been raining for most of the week, so the road here was completely mud. I was thinking to myself how little I desired to have to get out of the bus and push it, and our bus dangerously slid around 4 or 5 times, but luckily we never got stuck.
For the first time since I have been in Mozambique, my chapa driver drove very carefully and safely which should have been a relief, but I was annoyed by how long the journey takes when you’re not whipping around people and other cars at 90mph. I got into Maputo too late to take a chapa, so I asked my driver to help me find a reputable taxi driver. I asked the driver what the fare would be (knowing what it should be) and the fact that he gave me a good price and didn’t try rip me off because I am white reassured me. And I texted his license plate number to Matt, just in case. We were driving along having a pleasant conversation when all the sudden he said “I was too busy talking to you I completely forgot I need to get gas!” So he pulled over to the side of the road, grabbed a used 5L water bottle, and jumped out of the car saying “don’t worry I’ll be back in 5 minutes!” Wait seriously? I don’t know Maputo well enough to know which are the good and the bad parts, but where he had parked his car wasn’t quite as well-lit or populated as I would have preferred. “Wait you’re seriously leaving me here and going to get gas?” I asked. “Yeah, don’t worry I’ll be really quick and you can close all the doors!” The windows were all open, but thanks for the idea. So I texted Matt again telling him what was happening and just sat there. Luckily he came running back a few minutes later with two old water bottles full of gas and poured them into the gas tank (spilling quite a bit if the smell of gas was any indication). But after that we were on our way and I arrived safely to the hotel.

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