Saturday, July 12, 2008

Pot holes (again), the Zambezi River and a furry spider

I’ve written about the potholes on Mozambique’s EN1 highway several times on this blog, but writing about them never seems to do them justice. Taking photos of them through the windscreen doesn’t either since they just look like divets on a golf course green. On our return trip to Chimoio last week, I told Dwight that when we come across one of the bigger potholes, I wanted to get out of the car and get a picture of me actually sitting in one. That would give a much better idea of the size of some of these nasties along the way. I thought it was a splendid idea. Dwight thought it may prove to the world that we are, in fact, crazy! His word of caution didn’t dissuade me in the least. We passed a few real doozers that we didn’t stop for because there was too much traffic. (Passing other vehicles on bad roads is a bit of an undertaking when everyone is swerving all over the highway to avoid potholes, bicycles and pedestrians. When you finally manage to manoeuvre past another vehicle that's zipping back and forth, you think long and hard before stopping for anything!) So here you have it. Not the widest or deepest pothole on the road, but a respectably sized one. (Note photo with bus to see just how riddled the road really is with these things.)

And as an added bonus, when we pulled off to take this photo, I noticed that we just missed this huge hole on the side of the road by a few inches. It was hidden by the long grass. Wouldn’t that have been fun to drop into :(It’s nice to see some repairs taking place. Mind you, it’s one at a time along a 50-60 km stretch with thousands of potholes. Roadside shot: This shot only captured about 1/6th of the entire street. One day I’d like to get the entire scene. All the yellow shops’ (bancas) paint jobs were sponsored by MCEL, Mozambique’s biggest cell phone company (whose colours are yellow and green). The newly emerging blue bancas are evidence that Vodacom is starting to elbow its way into the cell phone (and in this case, promotional banca painting) market as well.

Before we left to return home this time, I was asked by someone if our car was once again packed right to the canopy roof, like it often is on such trips. I thought for a moment then said, “No, as a matter of fact. We’re not hauling quite so much stuff for a change. It’ll be nice to be able to see out the rearview mirror.” I spoke too soon. On our way through Maputo we spotted this wicker furniture that we’ve wanted to pick up for a long time but it’s not always easy to find. Besides, space for hauling it is always an issue. We didn’t really have enough space to haul it this time either, but the guys selling it were bound and determined we could, and would, fit it on/in our vehicle somehow! After much pulling and pushing of boxes, rearranging of luggage, wiggling chairs in that wouldn’t fit, taking them out, moving stuff around then wiggling them in again...we finally managed to load it. The guys who had been so determined this could work, beamed with pride when the job was done. We were a little concerned the couch may lift off once we got up to highway speeds, but it didn’t. Don’t we look like the Beverly Hillbillies?

This week Dwight went on a 2 day (overnight) flight with the Cessna up to the Mutarara area on a trip with 2 other guys. They landed in Caia, then rode by pick-up for 60 km on bad roads to Sena where the Dona Ana railway bridge crosses the Zambezi River. Here they walked for a stretch then caught a ride on small motorbike “taxi’s” (luggage and all) along the narrow pedestrian walk across the 3.9 km bridge. I’ll try to post a video clip of the adventure for you to see. There's a croc story too, but I'll leave that for next time.

And last but not least, I had to show you this furry friend who I discovered by our door last night. The fact that he’s out hunting signals that springtime is just around the corner. Having hot, sunny days around the corner is one thing, having this guy there doesn’t elicit quite the same response!


Heather & Rick said...

AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Ok.. im done. Anyhew.. so glad you got some new furniture (no.. we dont need your old couch. lol) I was hoping it wouldnt be so hot when we got there.. no fair to go from winter here to the hot season there!!!! :) Oh well.. cant wait to tell you all about our last coupleof days... had a great time! catch you on msn later.

Russoft said...

Awwww spidey! It's easy to sympathize with the spider when I'm all the way over here, although, those furry guys have always gotten more lenience from me than their "naked", "black-widowish" cousins. That video just freaks me out. Dad's braver than I am. Of course, being on the motorbike is probably safer than not being on it. I wouldn't want to get run flat by that thing.