Greetings from Mozambique! The rest of the team does not arrive until tomorrow, so I spent my first day in Maputo exploring the city on foot. Starting near the Central Hospital, I walked around in circles for a bit before heading west to the city center, south to the docks, and then back northeast, which in total took about three hours.
- Maputo International Airport, though small, is fairly clean and modern.
- Prices in the capital are higher than what I had anticipated for a country whose GDP per capita is $428 USD–my 30-minute from the cab ride cost 500 meticais ($18), which I confirmed is about the standard rate, and a lunch of corn porridge, beans, and mystery meat set me back 300 meticais.
- On a somewhat related note, poverty is not as apparently prevalent in Maputo as I imagined.
- The winter weather here is beautiful.
- Never before in my life have I felt so foreign (more on this later).
- Many of the main avenues are named after Communist leaders: Av. Karl Marx, Av. Vladimir Lenine, Av. Mao Tse Tung, Av. Ho Chi Min, Av. Kim Il Sung
|Maputo International Airport|
|View from my modest accommodations near the Central Hospital|
|Masjid Taqwa mesquita (mosque)|
|Downtown Maputo streetscape - Avenida 24 de Julho|
|Praça da Independência|
|Municipal Council Building|
|Abandoned colonial-era buildings|
|Jumma Masjid mosque|
|Across Avenida 25 de Setembro|
|Avenida Samora Machel|
|Ministry of Industry and Energy, Central Post Office|
By around 6 pm it was becoming too dark to walk through the sketchy park that curves around Av. Patrice Lumumba, so I decided to call it a day and stepped into an Asian-looking establishment, hoping that the familiarity of rice and hot soup might settle my stomach (which was still reeling from the mystery meat). I sat down, started reading the menu, and spotted an item described as "uma bacia de arroz com vegetais com carne em cima," which I realized was describing bibimbap. Yes, believe it or not, my first night in Maputo, I had somehow found my way to probably the only Korean restaurant in the country, where I splurged on 돌솥비빔밥. The gochujang tasted a bit odd, and I'm still annoyed that they charged me an extra 200 meticais for kimchi, but hey, neither beggars nor disoriented Korean-Texan travelers in remote southeast African countries can be choosers.
Jeonju, I owe you big time.