114. Terra de Boa Gente

Louise’s thoughts:

What a perfect and peaceful little city, Inhambane! It didn’t take more than a single day for me to fall completely in love with this charming place. Soon I even started planning my retirement here, buying one of the half-ruinous houses with a small garden where I can rest my tired old limbs. We have taken many turns in the city trying to keep ourselves busy but of course without cutting down on the time we waste relaxing – god forbid our pulse should exceed 100 beats per minute…

During the few days we have spent here – which now seem to have stretched on for weeks – we have made a small tradition out of visiting the local bakery in the town-centre. As the sun is setting over the quaint square, tired workers crowd outside the large, wooden doors excitedly awaiting the freshly baked bread. The smell of warm dough wafts through the air and right down the street. It was only by help of our olfactory senses that we stumbled upon this bare little room, serving the most glorious of breads… and I tell you, my stomach has not been taking to the sudden introduction of so much dough. But how can you stop yourself, as you break open a piping hot bun, steam rising and crumbs dropping all around you.

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Our days in Inhambane have been spent merely wandering around the gloriously ramshackle town. Here are a few pictures to let you fully grasp the charm of this place:

To break the routine of wandering, we spent a day in Tofo – the famous beachside tourist town. As we arrived past 11am, we had little hope of making it out on a boat tour – all we really wanted was a little bit of snorkelling. But to our great excitement, Diversity Divers took us under their wing and arranged a last minute trip to Barra, where we would be on a private catamaran while enjoying an awesome sea-food lunch, and snorkelling in the terribly strong afternoon current. Although the snorkelling provided no reef or vibrant colours, it was an amazing experience. We got to hold a starfish and to keep some sort of fossil… or was it bone? That still remains a mystery, so if any of you readers have any aptitude in marine biology, please let us know and put our minds. We filmed the whole event, so the video will be up as soon as we get time to edit it.

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I must admit, although I have grown up as the child of a diplomat, it never ceases to surprise me when I receive what could be deemed as special treatment. Not only did Louise and I get full use of the embassy house in Inhambane, we were showed around by the charming driver. He brought us out to see two of the Irish Aid project, the first of which was a school for government workers. Inhambane has recently been through a terribly strong cyclone, which will explain the damage done to the structure you can see in the picture below.

One night after a very Mozambican dinner of Matapa and fish, overlooking the sea, we headed back to the house. Despite our lack of activity that day, we were both, as per usual, exhausted and ready for bed. Unfortunately, we were met by the unfriendly view of a locked gate. We stood there for a while, rattled at the lock, but to no avail. Just to further the luck of the night, it turns out that our phone is out of air time. Off we go once again, only to find out that, of course – no doubt – there is a guard at the gate. Louise found this whole event very amusing, and I could hear her apologetically giggling to the guard as we sauntered in.

It was not this night, but the night after, that we finally met our housemate – a man who we had been sharing living quarters with for a little over three days and had not, until then, had the pleasure of bumping into. We had purposefully forced ourselves to stay up late and meet this guy before he left. This was not altogether altruistic (although we thoroughly enjoyed meeting this delightful character), as we were hoping for a lift back to Maputo. And a lift we got, but not without numerous phone calls and people working far too hard to get us back to Maputo. But here we are, safe and sound, and trying not to let all the special attention get to our heads.

This little guy insisted on having his picture taken, and was very intrigued when shown the result:

Oh yeah, I went on a hunt for worms for our vermicompost… That meant getting caught red (or brown?) handed by the gardener – a spatula and old milk powder can in hand (all I could find).

//Niamh

 

 

 

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