Yesterday I googled the Barclays bank in Maxixe trying to find their phone number, and the third search result was an entry from my blog. It’s a really strange feeling to think you’re on the World Wide Web and suddenly start reading words that you wrote.
The REDES southern regional conference is coming up in early August, so I have been in contact with Barra Lodge, where we have had conferences in the past. For the price quotes and details I have been dealing with a helpful lady in South Africa. Dealing with someone who works in South Africa is very nice in many ways—she calls me when she says she will, she promptly emails me what she says she will, etc—but it is also challenging because I don’t think she understands what it’s like trying to do business in Mozambique. Monday she told me that the deposit needed to be made by today to keep the reservation. Fine, I would rather not run 90k north and back before my classes in the afternoon, but I signed up for this job, I can do that. But I don’t think she understands how difficult this is here. I asked for the price quote in Metical, but since they are based in South Africa, they quote only in Rand. A bank-to-bank transfer generally takes two work days, but a transfer from a Mozambican bank to a South African bank and from Metical to Rand is proving to be quite a process. Even though Inhambane is the provincial capital, any bank-to-bank transfers are faxed down to Maputo to be processed. After all of the paperwork and answering questions, I thought I had gotten everything taken care of, but after I had returned home and was teaching in the afternoon, the bank called and told me that I needed to go up to Maxixe tomorrow and stop by the Bank of Mozambique to get an authorization form and bring it to them, so that they could make the currency change in the transfer. Maxixe is 90k north of where I live and banks are not fun or simple, I am interested to see how things go tomorrow, plus I am not exactly sure what I am asking for. Then I have to take the boat across the bay to Inhambane which is about a 25 minute ride, depending on how high the tide is (and that’s after the boat actually fills up and leaves). Then I have to take this form to the Barclays in Inhambane and see what they do with it. Then I have to come home to teach in the afternoon. And of course, the most fun part of this entire trip is the traveling—I have gotten to Maxixe in 40 minutes before and once it took me 3 hours and 10 minutes. You just never quite know here.
This morning while riding through a lower marsh area at 6:45am, it was so foggy that I was able to look directly at the sun. Through the haze and my sunglasses it just looked like a moon.