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'Lost.' To most people it's the name of some show from the States. To me it brings about a feeling of fear and desperation.
There I was, fresh off the boat(?) and in a new country. It was already dark and I was having problems finding a place to stay, even more so since I had no local money on me. Luckily the immigration officers saw me wandering around aimlessly and offered me a lift to a place they knew. Then they said that they would take my money, leave me in the middle of nowhere and maybe even kill me. I prepared to do a James Bond style jump out of the car as these comments seemed to be serious. It turned out that they were joking. I did not find it funny.
Welcome to Mozambique! I had landed in the remote village of Metangula on Lake Malawi, where there was nothing except psychopathic immigration officers and only one guy in the whole village who could change some dollars for me and he was at home sleeping. I did eventually track him down and the next day walked the 8km with all my kit to a nearby fishing village, Chwanga.
The walk was worth it. I checked into a local hotel of sorts (probably the only one for miles) and then went to enjoy my own private beach on Lake Malawi. It wasn't long before I discovered that there was no fresh water in the whole village, though I did discover a plentiful supply of beer in the only 2 shops/cardboard boxes.
It was an unusual sight on the beach. I sat watching hundreds of local fishermen spending 3 hours dragging in a fishing net that had been out since early morning. The catch was big and, with nothing else to eat in the whole village other than biscuits, the one guy working at my hotel bought some of the freshly caught fish and prepared a sumptuous dinner for me.
I was in a rush and couldn't spend more than one night in this tiny village. I caught a ride with a pickup truck and several other buses during the day and ended up in the town of Cuamba after 16 hours of travelling, from where I caught a train to the other side of the country.
The 11 hour train ride was nice but I felt alone for the first time in a long time. There was nothing to do except read the same books I had read before and watch the countryside go by. This was what solitary confinement must have been like, only worse. I was truly homesick.
With so little to see between here and my final destination, Cape Town, I didn't want to quit and so decided to plug on. I visited the tiny island of Ihla de Mozambique, the capital of this Portugese-speaking nation for 500 years. It was a dilapidated town, yet still retained its own unique charm. Apart from the shit infested waters that prevented swimming I liked it. I knew I liked it when a fisherman turned up to the house I was staying at with 6 freshly caught lobsters that had been ordered that morning by 2 other people in the house for $10.
A few days later I was back on the mainland and decided to catch a plane down the coast instead of braving the 3-4 day journey by bus. I spent one night in the boring town of Beira, before catching a bus at 4:30 the following morning, shortly after I was forced to pay a "fine" by 3 plain-clothed policemen for taking a leak in a park moments before the bus was going to leave. I had no choice - it was either pay the fine or leave without my passport.
I spent 3 days in the coastal resort of Tofo. For all budding scuba divers this is the place to come. Swimming on the ocean floor whilst three 10m long mantas continuously circled above was unbelievable. I was also lucky enough to go snorkelling with whale sharks. Tofo was easily one of the best resorts in East Africa.
One big hangover and a 7 hour bus ride later I arrived in the capital, Maputo. I stayed around for one day before heading onto Swaziland, stopped on-route by a dodgy cop first searching my bag and then saying my visa had expired before I told him he was looking at my Zambia visa - corrupt idiots the lotta them.