Day 43 - Mozambique
|Tuesday, November 21, 2023: The sun was up very early as we made our approach into Maputo, Mozambique. The channel into the harbor was only just wide enough for our ship.
|After being in less-developed countries for the last few stops, ...
|... it was interesting to see the tall buildings of a modern city.
|The city was very large and stretched for miles back from the headland.
|This was very unexpected.
|We got glimpses of the sights we would be seeing on our tour later in the day, but of course we didn't know that yet.
|The building with the green domes near the center of this photo is a mosque.
|The Maputo train station was visible behind the harbor buildings. It's the one with the brown dome and green walls with white trim. We'll see that up close later.
|We drew near the Maputo-Katembe Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in Africa.
|It crosses Maputo Bay at a height of 60 meters, plenty high to allow shipping to cross under it.
|We had our breakfast while the ship came alongside the pier. It was another muesli and congee day. Our berth was right at the base of the bridge.
|Our minifigs in the LEGO daily calendar today dressed as safari animals to represent all of the passengers who were leaving the ship on overland tours to Cape Town.
|We had lunch in the Lido and couldn't resist the delicious banoffee pie.
|At noon, we met our tour group at the World Stage on deck two, disembarked the ship, and walked two ships lengths along the pier, ...
|... to the terminal building, ...
|... which had a tourist information booth, ...
|... as well as local handicrafts for sale.
|Across the street from the terminal building, we boarded our air-conditioned bus. This was a very important part of our tour since it was 100°F in Maputo today.
|We passed this building covered in a colorful mural featuring people using wheelchairs and with other disabilities. The writing on one wall said in Portuguese to celebrate our differences.
|The first part of our shore excursion included driving through the city to see some highlights.
|Near the train station, we saw public toilets plastered with signs imploring people to vote.
|Speaking of the train station, here it is. This is the Maputo Central Railway Station, and it was built in 1910.
|For these brief photo stops, Tom hopped out and took photos while Debbie stayed inside.
|Across from the main entrance to the station is Workers' Square, which features a large statue dedicated to European and African soldiers who fought in World War I.
|The façade on these buildings were made from stones set in cement. It was a very cool effect.
|We crossed one of the main streets of Maputo, 25th September Avenue, named for the start of Mozambique's War of Independence from Portugal in 1964.
|As we drove through the city, we passed the Central Market which was built in 1901.
|This is the ONOMO Hotel Maputo, ...
|... and the front of the Banco de Moçambique, ...
|... and the logo on the side of the Banco de Moçambique. We saw this from our cabin earlier in the day.
|It's very important in a country this hot to have an air conditioning store. This vintage sign was adorable.
|Decorative sidewalks! Okay, these are definitely a thing in Portugeuse countries. We've seen them in Brazil, Funchal, and now here. We'll be going to Angola later in the trip, which was also a Portuguese colony, so we will be able to get one more data point.
|Air conditioners and satellite dishes. Ah, civilization. Those plants growing directly out of the side of the building are a bit concerning though.
|We turned onto the Avenue Samora Machel, named for the first president of Mozambique, and passed the Teatro Scala. This movie theater became a historical landmark after it was bombed in 1975 during the war for independence.
|Yep, decorative sidewalks are definitely a thing here.
|At one end of the Avenue Samora Machel is Independence Square, containing a huge statue of President Samora Michel himself.
|On the western side of the square is the Cathedral of Maputo, a beautiful white building that gleamed in the sunlight.
|We passed this colorful building leaving the square, heading back down Avenue Sambora Machel toward ...
|... the Casa de Ferro, a house built entirely of iron. It was intended as the home for the colonial governor of Maputo, but was never inhabited as it was simply too hot in this climate. The house now serves as the offices of the Ministry of Culture and is open to visitors.
|Street vendors descended on us the second the bus stopped but they were not overly aggressive and would move on if you said "não, obrigado" which is "no, thank you" in Portuguese.
|There was another statue to Samora Machel in a green space across the street from the Iron House.
|How do you carry a five gallon bucket filled with huge fish when you are in Mozambique? On your head, of course. This woman made it look effortless. There's a pad between the bucket and her head to stabilize the bucket, but we watched as she walked down one street, crossed over, and then continued down another street without ever touching the bucket. Amazing.
|We turned onto Patrice Lumumba Avenue, ...
|... and passed some very upscale houses, ...
|... and the Montebelo Girrasol Maputo Hotel ...
|... and this beautiful apartment building.
|We saw more cool tile and stone sidewalks as we neared ...
|... a photo stop at the Natural History Museum.
|This beautiful black and white building is the Toprak Residence, a hi-rise apartment building.
|On the building next door, there were some questionable choices with regard to electricity management and distribution.
|Sometimes we drove past sights that were on the opposite side of the bus. This is how we saw this Russian Orthodox Church, ...
|... but Tom managed to get a good photo of it somehow.
|We were driving along the Avenue Julius Nyerere, which our tour guide explained is where "all of the bosses live."
|We passed the Swedish Embassy, ...
|... and the Norwegian Embassy, ...
|... before driving past the Polana Serena Hotel. This five-star hotel was built in the 1920s and is right down the street from the President of Mozambique's residence which we weren't allowed to photograph.
|Oooh. Look at this cool fence!
|This is officially named Igreja de Santo Antonio de Polana or Saint Anthony Catholic Church, but Tom named it the Church of the Giant Juicer.
|At 1:30 PM, we arrived at the Feira de Artesanato, or the Handicraft Market. We were going to have lunch here to sample the local foods of Maputo.
|We walked past murals and various vendor stalls, ...
|... until we reached a cafe, the Restaurante Graciano, where they had tables set up for us. We immediately found seats in the shade and got out our portable fans to try to cool us down.
|Debbie saw this interesting looking bird in a tree, ...
|... and we were delighted when it flew down to the ground to look for some tasty insects. We later found out that it is an African hoopoe.
|We invoked the Bundlings Helsinki Rule, which states that if you have an opportunity to have a beer in a foreign country, you take it. This was Mac Mahon lager, better known as 2M. It was very tasty.
|They brought out samples of various Mozambican dishes, including this seafood one, ...
|... and this one which was like a samosa filled with meat, ...
|... fried kasava, and lastly a fried ball made from beans. The seafood one was our favorite, followed closely by the meat pie.
|Just before 2:30 PM, we were getting up to leave, ...
|... and we noticed the sign on the side of the cafe.
|It was an ad for Amarula, a cream liqueur from South Africa that we first tried when we were in Zimbabwe in 2014.
|We strolled through the colorful handicraft market on our way to the bus, ...
|... looking at the variety of items that were for sale, but not being tempted to buy anything.
|Once everyone was back on the bus, we drove back through the city toward the pier.
|One thing that is fascinating about traveling to other countries is seeing the different names that car manufacturers use in different parts of the world.
|We passed the Ministry of Defense building, ...
|... these really cool looking apartment buildings, ...
|... and this building belonging to BCI.
|As we turned onto the road leading to the port, we passed this sculpture of an arm holding the planet. It had an inscription reading, in Portuguese, "The health of the planet is in our hands."
|There were push carts along the road selling squeezed-to-order fruit juice and coconuts to drink.
|The sign for this cafe, Zambi, was really cool.
|This bank building was very beautiful.
|The pink building on the left was the Central Anti-Corruption Cabinet building. Interesting.
|This is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ...
|... and the Ministry of Finance.
|We drove past the Maputo Shopping Center, ...
|... and the old Portuguese fort, ...
|... and finally back past the mural showing people with disabilities that we had seen when the tour began.
|Back at the port, we tipped our tour guide, Mr. P., ...
|... and headed back through the terminal building. We are always amazed at the cluelessness of some people. There were empty chairs all around the terminal, but no, this is where this guy had to sit.
|Tied up in front of our ship was the INS Sumedha, an offshore patrol boat belonging to the Indian Navy.
|There's our mighty vessel. The Africa Grand Voyage banner was visible on the front of the ship.
|There was a couple walking back to the ship trying to take a selfie, so Debbie offered to take their photo.
|There's nothing better than the cold towels and ice cold water provided by the crew when you get back to the ship on a hot day. Today, they were offering plain, lemon, or grapefruit flavored water.
|At 3:30 PM, the captain came over the public address system to tell us about the route to Durban, South Africa, and to warn us that the Sea View Pool on the back of the ship would be closed tomorrow morning. The waters around Durban Harbor can be rough, so they like to deliver the harbor pilots to the incoming ships via helicopter rather than transferring from a boat like we were used to. We got very excited about this. The helicopter would be right above our cabin!
|We sailed out of Maputo Bay right on schedule, ...
|... and got a good look at the beach on the other side of the bay.
|To help guide ships into the channel, there was a flag in the water and a corresponding flag on the hillside. When they were in line, your ship was in the proper position to come through the narrow channel.
|There were several moths on our balcony as we sailed out, including this sleepy guy who was resting on one of the chairs.
|At each turn in the channel, there were channel buoys to mark the lane, and flags for visual reference.
|See that big house surrounded by what appears to be a park? That's the official residence of the President of Mozambique.
|Here's one of the seaward flags that mark the channel.
|A little before 5:00 PM, the pilot boat caught up with us.
|At 5:00 PM, we went to the Canaletto Restaurant, which is a part of the Lido Market that is screened off from the rest of the tables, for their Alaskan seafood boil special event. They use the part of the Lido that is normally reserved for Distant Lands Asia as their prep kitchen. All of the breadsticks and seafood that we would be having for dinner are visible on the counter here.
|We were seated at a table for two by the window, ...
|... and, a short time later, we were served our first course: genuine Ivar's Clam Chowder from Seattle.
|It was time for the main event. We were outfitted in very stylish paper bibs celebrating Holland America's 75 years of voyages to Alaska.
|The servers brought out two huge pots filled with salmon, crab, shrimp, clams, mussels, potatoes, and corn on the cob, along with bowls of lemon water for us to clean our hands during this course. You can just see Debbie's breadsticks peeking out behind her crabpot, ...
|... but you can see one of Tom's better in this view. Only one though. The other was long gone. After nearly 40 minutes of tearing into delicious seafood, we finally finished it all off, ...
|... and it was time for dessert: triple berry crisp à la mode.
|Thoroughly stuffed, we waddled back to our cabin where we were in time to see the last glimpse of the sun as it set over Africa.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy