Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 2 Johannesburg-Maputo-Quelimane

Day 2 Johannesburg-Maputo-Quelimane

The day began with Fawn greeting the sunrise with her camera, snapping photos of flora and fauna (mostly bugs and birds) around the Birchwood Hotel, a lovely sprawling complex in Boksburg, just outside Johannesburg, South Africa. “Malls and walls,” was how one fellow traveler described J-Burg, as it’s known by the locals. Lots of homes, businesses, and nearly every hotel is gated and walled— some, like our own, had razor wire along the perimeter, a reminder of J-Burg’s high crime rate.

We took a hotel shuttle to the airport and coasted through immigration and customs and had time for a quick breakfast of yogurt and coffee. The flight to Maputo was short (50 minutes) and uneventful. We sat next to a financial advisor who had been educated at the American-run International School in Kenya and then a school in London. She gave us some advice about the food in Quelimane and recommend the Galina Zambeziana, grilled chicken Zambezi-style, a highly regarded regional dish.

When we landed we were met by Catherine Chapema, ORAM’s executive secretary. She helped us get settled in the Hotel Flamingo, our home for the next five days. Mozambique, by the way, has no flamingos and origins of the Hotel’s name are unknown. After settling in, we hit the hotel’s restaurant and ordered the recommended Galina Zambeziana and it was fabulous.

We had chosen to eat outdoors, but were chased inside by a ferocious thunderstorm. Lightning bolts split the sky accompanied by torrential rains. The storm knocked out power briefly, but the hotel staff cheerfully lit candles and it was business as usual. One casualty of the storm was the Flamingo’s internet service. So we’re not sure when we’ll be able to post this. Tomorrow we start the training.

Word of advice to anyone visiting Mozambique. ..ome banks are open only until noon and others until just 3pm. We’re having a difficult time finding ATMs to withdraw cash and receipt collecting takes creativity and patience. Very few folks speak English and we, unfortunately, do not speak Portuguese (the national language) or Bantu. We have found a few folks with a limited knowledge of English, but with pantomime and cheerfulness, we usually can get answers to the questions we’ve had.

No comments:

Post a Comment