20.08.2010 - 22.08.2010
As many of you no doubt guessed, my first experience driving on the left side of the road was not all that I had hoped for. Since I believe in getting back on the horse, or the left side of the road in this case, I decided to rent a car and head up the Northern Mozambican coast to the small town of Chidenguele. My roommate, Susanna, and I each had a bit of trepidation about my driving skills, but we set some ground rules, and everything went smoothly at first. Since the resort we were going to was a bit isolated, we had to drive the last 7 kilometers off road which the website said was "suitable for all cars."
The website apparently didn't know that you could put four wheels on a toaster and call it a car because that's essentially what we were driving. As we turned off road, we felt ourselves start to get stuck time after time and then I would rev the engine as the locals watched amused, come out of the ditch, and wave while exclaiming "Boa tarde!" to the onlookers. Susanna decided to make fun of me for the rest of the trip about this whenever I would get stuck doing something - a joke that never seemed to get old to either of us. We made it all the way to the last hill and then finally got stuck in the sand for good. I tried to use a cereal box under the wheel to give it some traction, and that was bad idea if you hadn't already guessed. Susanna finally decided to walk down the hill and get some help for us, and with 3 very patient members of the hotel staff, we were able to complete the last 200 meters of the journey.
The hotel we stayed at was amazing. We had essentially a house on a cliff with a porch that overlooked the ocean. We dropped our stuff and walked on a beach where one could see about 5 miles on all sides of the cliffs, and there wasn't a soul to be found. We hiked until the sun decided that it had had enough for the day, and adjourned to our separate rooms for the evening.
I was having trouble sleeping that night, so I decided to get up early and watch the sunrise. I hadn't planned on running, but the sunrise was so beautiful that I decided to run barefoot along the waves for as long as I could and enjoy it. As was the case the day before, there was absolutely no one to be seen. I have seen many a sunrise in my life, and I can honestly say that it was the most beautiful one I have ever seen. With the perfection of the moment, the lack of anyone around and my fatigued state, I thought for a second that I might be dead and I had somehow arrived in Valhalla. Then I thought about it a little more, weighed my chances of going somewhere good in death, and reasoned that it was probably just a really nice day.
Susanna got up a bit later and we decided to walk South for as far as our legs could take us. We stopped periodically to examine the treasure trove of shells that washed up on the beach and took a few suitable souvenirs. We tried to walk up to a lighthouse but a few directional disagreements only got us a view of it. We read for the rest of the day and watched the humpback whales swim by from the porch. I had some really good prawns for dinner and was actually starting to relax. This whole concept of relaxation has not classically been part of my personality, but I'm starting to see the appeal.
The next day we swam a bit, and I got to feel like a kid again. I body surfed until it felt like I couldn't lift my arms, and we headed back down South to Maputo. Susanna drove this time, and we definitely had an easier time getting through the sand. The only event of import was a speed trap that we were caught in just outside Maputo. All I can say is that diplomatic passports are a thing of beauty...