The architecture in Beira used to fascinate me. It was so ugly! But somehow it gave the city character. The apartment blocks downtown particularly fascinated me. They were so big and so ugly and full of SO many people – families of a dozen people crammed into one tiny unit, with unreliable electricity – well, that was true of the entire city – and likely no or poor running water.
Photo #78 October 29, 2011
Photo #77 October 28, 2011
Behind our old office in the central plaza is a little street winding back to the beach that is lined with vendors selling used clothing, cheap plastic household items, capulanas, and fresh produce. Closer to the beach, one can buy fishing nets. Directly on the beach, one can buy coconuts and fresh fish, prawns, and clams. This is Praia Nova. During my orientation, I was given a tour of the city and told where it was safe to go and where it wasn’t. I learned later that that was one person’s opinion. Fortunately, I was exposed to other people’s opinions and started feeling free to explore more of the city. Praia Nova ended up being my favorite place to buy capulanas and also the best place to buy prawns since you literally get them fresh off the boat. One time I made a Thai prawn curry with prawns bought that day in Praia Nova, fresh limes and coconut milk made from a coconut bought on the beach. It doesn’t get much fresher than that.
This photo is from the first time I went to Praia Nova with my friend Brooke. We woke up early in the morning to wander down and watch the fisherman come in with their catches.
Photo #76 October 21, 2011
This is one of my favorite photos of all my photos from Mozambique. I was trying to unobtrusively snap shots of the kids working, kind of like the one I posted a few back, but the little girl caught me.
In Savane life slows down to meaningful. There is nothing to do but read a book on the beach, go for a walk, go for a swim, eat delicious crab curry or prawns caught that day, fall asleep in your tent listening to the waves and the wind blow through the coconut palms, wake up at dawn, and repeat. You can be on the beach alone and not worry that someone is going to mug you or even hassle you since there are no people except the other, mostly white South African and Zimbabwean guests. Especially at sunrise the beach is usually entirely empty.
It is only an hour’s drive from Beira, but the challenge is having a vehicle to get out there, choosing the right time of year so that the road is actually driveable, having the extra money to pay for the ferry, accommodation, and meals, and having a free weekend to make it worthwhile. But when there’s a free weekend, a little extra cash, the road is good, a vehicle is available, and it’s not too hot, your soul thanks you for making the trip.
Photo #74 October 19, 2011
Cell phone companies rule advertising space in Mozambique. Entire buildings or walls are painted bright yellow with the MCel happy faces or bright blue for Vodacom. Multi-story advertisements are unfurled along the sides of apartment blocks. (How much does it cost to print one of those? Actually, how do you print something that huge?) Even though I was an MCel user, I did always like how Vodacom incorporated dialect slang into their advertising. I’m not sure what “bazza, bazza” means; I don’t think it means anything. But maningue is a dialect word that means “very” or “a lot”. My colleagues would always say, “Maningue nice” (very nice) just as we might say, “Cool”. So this advertisement says, “A lot of advantages for you.”
Right underneath it, beneath the trees on the median of the road, are vendors selling shoes and products from Zimbabwe, mainly two liter bottles of Mazoe squash.
If there wasn’t a cell phone advertisement in this space, it was an equally giant beer ad. It’s hard to miss a nine-story bottle of beer.
I googled “bazza, bazza” and found this ridiculous commercial from Mozambican TV:
This was taken through the front windshield of my friend’s car somewhere along the 15 hour drive from Maputo to Beira. This is the national highway. Yes, yes, the equivalent to an interstate highway in America.
And yes, it is perfectly legal for that pick-up to be carrying all those people like that. I love this photo because it’s something you would never see in America, and yet it’s such a typical Mozambican scene.