Thursday 31 Dec
After some disastrously inconvenient bus rides, I have arrived in Maputo for a brief return to the "real" Africa. The way things have worked out, I don't have any time to explore Mozambique at all, but a tiny visit is better than nothing, so I should at least have some impressions.
Not surprisingly given its proximity to South Africa, Maputo is far more developed than any city in West Africa, but still fairly chaotic - and dangerous. In one day of walking around town I was stopped twice by police looking for bribes. The first one wanted to see my camera and asked me "do you have the documents for this machine?", to which I repeatedly replied "no" and smiled, until eventually he pretended to answer his phone. Later I saw a group of four police and tried to cross the road, but they called me over and took my passport and wanted me to "make some cold drinks for us". I don't know how I got out of that one but I was definitely put on my guard.
Other inconsequential explorations of the city revealed lots of interesting decaying architecture with links to the Portugese, revolutionary, and communist periods of Mozambique's history, not to mention a highly ironic Revolution Museum, which random pedestrians could unfailingly direct us to but which had obviously been abandoned for years.
After the compulsory consumption of the famous Mozambican prawns, it's time for a low-key New Year's Eve. Sadly, it's too late for any more adventures because tomorrow I'm leaving Africa and the possibility of spontaneous unpredictability behind. Fortunately, I'm quite ready to go home.