Thursday, January 13, 2011

Kind of a Sad Day in Maputo, Mozambique (Nov. 27, 2010)

Maputo is the capital and largest city in Mozambique and is a vital road and rail link to Swaziland and northern parts of South Africa. The total population of Mozambique is 21 million with 2 million living in Maputo, and those numbers may be much higher due to lack of reporting from slums and other unofficial settlements.

The flag of Mozambique...

Portuguese explorers claimed Mozambique in 1498 and established trading stations at several locations. During the 1960s, most British, French and Belgian colonies were given their independence and most prepared for self-government. However, the Salazar regime in Portugal refused to consider letting go of the Portuguese colonies. A native liberation movement spearheaded a costly war for independence lasting from 1962 to 1974 and Mozambique gained independence on June 25, 1975. It then went through a brutal civil war which lasted until 1992. So it really hasn't been that long that they have enjoyed a peaceful nation.

Here we are arriving in Maputo, which looks nice and modern. The official language is Portuguese.

We chose to take a Princess tour of the city and the first stop was the railway station. The station was designed by Gustav Eiffel and is a magnificent building. Construction began in 1908 and it was inaugurated in 1910.

The rail link to South Africa was completed in 1895 and this engine was the original one used within Mozambique.

It was busy when we were there first thing in the morning.

A grand station when it was built, it is now showing its age.

These rail cars are used to transport everything, including animals, and the smell coming from them was pretty strong.

Passengers travelling outside of Mozambique have to change trains at the border of South Africa as they are trying to curb the smuggling of cigarettes.

Beautiful architecture…

Air conditioning was added at some point, and I don’t think this bell is rung too frequently.

The statue of Lady Mary dominates the Workers Square where May 1 celebrations are held. On September 25, a memorial is held to honour the soldiers who died in the revolution against Portuguese rule.

These trees are beautiful! I am back to flame tree pics! We were starting to realize that Maputo isn’t really nice and modern, but actually kind of dirty and run down.

The comedian on board the ship joked that you couldn’t tell if they were building Maputo or tearing it down, and sadly he was right!

Our next stop was the market which was established in 1901.

It was mostly fish vendors, and fresh fruit and veggies which were beautifully displayed.

This man had nice bags for sale, but our guide had us on a route march and there was no time for stopping.

Street scenes…

Most Mozambique citizens are Catholic. Our next stop was this Catholic church which was built in 1936.

It was beautiful inside; however, outside the grounds and steps to the church were littered with broken glass and bottles.

City Hall was across the square from the church.

Our bus for the day…

More beautiful trees!

The lady in the picture was grinding peanuts using a huge mortar and pestle contraption and then sifting them in the pan.

This metal house was also designed by Eiffel and is situated in the centre of the old city. It was built for the first Portuguese governor, but it was so hot that it was never occupied until it was air conditioned.

Love this…Cartao bla bla…says it all!

Our next stop was the botanical gardens. This place was so neglected, and it was so sad that this was one of the tourist attractions. The guide said they used to have weddings here but not anymore.

Lots of people hanging around and lots of broken glass.

Bats in the trees..

Definitely in need of some work…

Beautiful trees though…

Cool branches on this one…

This goes along with the comedian’s comment that you can’t tell if they are building or tearing it down.

This market was quite funny. One guy kept bugging Jim to buy a small drum. Jim kept saying “I don’t want a drum.” Then we bought a plate from someone else, and he said “why you don’t buy my drum.” As soon as you bought from one person a crowd formed around you saying “come to my shop.” Finally we had to laugh at the persistence of the guy with the drum and we agreed to go to his “shop.” Their shops are little pieces of cardboard where they lay out their products. We didn’t even want anything, but gave him points for his good personality and bought a wood carving.

This Portuguese fort built in 1787 is now a museum.

This is Mouzinho de Albuquerque, a Portuguese soldier, who became the first governor of Mozambique.

Lots of cannons…

Our guide, Sergio, with a wall relief showing the battle and the defeat of the native leaders. When he was captured, the leader had 24 wives, but he was only allowed to take 8 with him when he went to Portugal to be tried.

Flowering trees…

The inside of the fort was nice and clean; the outside, not so much.

We saw a lot of these little cars, but not a motorcycle…very different.

Our next stop was the museum.

These cheetahs heads look a little…off?

The babies playing with momma were cute…

Until you see that baby is missing a paw…

Not sure what this is…all the signs in the museum were in Portuguese…

I looked out the window upstairs and could see that the vendors were waiting to greet us!

Interesting aquarium…

The day I see this bug will be the day I decide to stay indoors!

Roar! Do I look just a tad warm?

This section of carvings was nice.

Elephants and giraffes…

And then we were off to continue our city drive. This wedding hall was very busy as it was Saturday. Missed the bride!

Oooh! A pretty building!

Government building...

Sergio asked us what we thought this church looked like…a giant lemon squeezer!

When the first president died, Nelson Mandela married his widow. They live here when they are in Mozambique. We were cautioned very strongly not to take embassy pics or pics of the police. No problemo!

Still loving those trees!

We went down to the beach area…on the beach side were these grand homes. On the other side of the road, facing these houses, were tiny shacks. It was so sad, I couldn't take a picture of it.

A wedding party on the beach.

A wedding video by Rich...

Vibrant colours of batik hangings...

Famous Costa del Sol restaurant is over 70 years old, but I am not sure why it's famous.

This art wall was made to honour Samora Machel's widow as she encouraged the arts.

We got back to the ship and heard someone saying in her very distinctive voice “see you la-ter.” Laelin! One of our favourite bartenders and a friend. So nice to see her in regular clothes. Jim said “we bought a mask of you.” She laughed! She is such a cutie.

I left Mozambique feeling very sad. While some of the West African people were poor, they still seemed happy. Not so much the case here…

Our purchases…I really loved the plate. The little wood carving beside the mask was our purchase from the persistent guy. Not sure what we’ll do with that!

Lovely sunset…

We had dinner with our former table mates in the steakhouse. We miss them (just not the dining at 8:15 each night). They were a fun group.

Stan is diabetic and never orders dessert, so this was an occasion!

And it’s on to Reunion Island…


Randy Sharp said...

Kim & Jim, it's really fascinating for me to read about the continuation of your trip after I got off in Cape Town. The pictures are awesome.

Mr Lonely said...

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AfriBats said...

Would you add your bat photo as a citizen-science observation to the AfriBats project on iNaturalist?:

AfriBats will use your observations to better understand bat distributions and help protect bats in Africa.

Please locate your picture on the map as precisely as possible to maximise the scientific value of your records.

Many thanks!

PS: these are straw-coloured fruit bats (Eidolon helvum)

Rina rosiana said...
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obat aborsi said...
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