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Mozambique1

Entry 12 : Into Mozambique - the last country on our list, before we head back into South Africa... and definitely one I've been looking forward to... It's been pretty hard work to ride EVERY day, 4 to 8 hours, depending on the road conditions... and the Moz coast was going to be a bit of a relaxing vacation for us... but first we have to slog through some "serious pothole" ridden stretches (according to our tracks4africa maps).

We crossed the border into Mozambique without any hassle - bikes just have much less issues with borders and road blocks ! In African countries it is quite common to find a road block on either side of a town, However on the whole trip thus far, I think we might have been stopped 5 times, 2 of which we were asked to produce our licenses, and the other 3 where plain interest in the bikes and chit-chat!
We moved on to Tete, where we would spend the night before moving on south, toward the coast... We got to Tete, and my first thoughts were "What a dump!" It is a dirty, trash-laiden, dusty outpost!  There was a queue of trucks for miles and miles, waiting to cross the bridge into Tete... luckily bikes are not categorized as vehicles - you move straight past all the waiting trucks, buses and cars, and don't have to pay any toll, you just carry on over, weaving your way through the oncoming traffic - there has been construction work on the bridge for almost a year, and the bridge is closed from 23h00 to 06h45 and thereafter traffic across the bridge switches direction every hour! And only one truck is allowed on the bridge at a time, and trucks are known to wait in the queue anything from 2 to 5 days, to cross the bridge!!
We crossed in a matter of minutes, and started looking for a place to sleep - not many camping sites - the first one we stopped at, we turned around immediately - you wouldn't find either of us dead in such a dirty place! We tried another - but it was under construction... and two more, that we couldn't get to as the roads were blocked off with large heaps of earth... two hotels, but you have to park in the road... and I'm not that keen to leave my bike out in the open, if I'm not sleeping right next to it! What a dump, I found myself thinking again...
We were referred to another hotel, and while Kobus was checking it out, a scooter pulled up alongside me. "Hello, I'm George" he said in a relatively good English, with a heavy Portuguese accent.. "Where are you going? Can I help?" I mentioned that we were looking for a place to sleep, with secure parking for our bikes... "Follow me, I show you nice places!" I waited for Kobus to show up, and his comment on the place he had just seen was: "secure parking for the bikes, but the rooms would definitely be a new low in accommodation for the trip..." And we've stayed in some shady places on this trip... Hence it took no further discussion, and we followed George, to see what he had to offer.  By know two more scooters had stopped - friends of George, and we got a scooter escort through the town... Sure enough, the place George took us to, was very reasonably priced (Mozambique seems to be the most expensive of all the countries we've been to on the trip) and quite acceptable, and without any hesitation, we were told to ride the bikes up the 3 steps into the courtyard - secure parking! Great!  Of course for all his help, George hinted that a beer for him and his friends would be in order... of course!  No problem!
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Then followed the compulsory photo session - everyone got a chance to sit on our bikes, and I couldn't resist the opportunity to get a pic on George's 50cc - Note the "FBI" - I asked George about it, and he stuck out his had as if introducing himself, and said: "George, FBI... - Female Body Inspector!" - with a hughe grin on his face...
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A couple of beers later, and a good dinner, Tete didn't seem that bad after all... just goes to show, people (and good company) make all the difference!
Next up: the beaches of Mozambique...