Posted in travel

Arriving in Maputo

I left Scotland on the 13th from Edinburgh for my much-awaited trip to Africa. I’d spent twelve days back home in Scotland having a belated Christmas with my family, but although I was sad to leave, I was excited to see a new continent. 

Unfortunately, the flights were all delayed. First there was an ISIS attack in Istanbul, and as I was flying Turkish Airlines I had to wait an extra hour in Edinburgh, and an extra three hours in Istanbul. The plane stopped for an hour and a half in Johannesburg, too. 

When I finally arrived in Maputo I navigated the bizarre immigration system for the first time. You’re now meant to have a visa prior to arrival, but for a small fee (bribe) you can still get a visa on arrival. They’re surprisingly open about this. I got a weird mugshot and soon was waiting to have my bags arbitrarily x-rated before setting out into the city. 

  
Having passed through immigration and customs, I looked for transport to my guesthouse. There isn’t much of anything at Maputo airport. Eventually a pushy man convinced me to go with him. On the way to his sketchy car, I saw a real taxi and decided to take that instead. The man was furious. “Look me something!” he shouted. He meant give him money. 

Later, the taxi driver told me that this other man was a “bad man,” whatever that meant. 

I checked into the Guesthouse Lokal, which was very nice, though a little expensive. Every room in Maputo had seemed expensive, but at least this one, unlike others, was clean. 

  
After checking in I decided to explore the city. I didn’t take my camera because I’d heard there are so many muggings and it seemed to be inviting trouble. I also didn’t take out my iPhone to take pictures for the same reason. 

Maputo is a strange, dusty city. It’s hot as hell, even at night. The pavements are falling apart and so walking is dangerous, and the high fences and armed security guards make you feel a little wary. I walked around but saw nothing, then bought supplies at a little convenience store. It was nice to see bread and cheese on offer after so long in China. 

Tomorrow it’s off to Inhambane and then Praia do Barra. 

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Author:

I'm the editor of Beatdom magazine and author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult'.

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