“Hey baby, where you from? I take you to Johannesburg…make you happy…you know, girl like you…put money into you’re account every friday…just give me account and I help you baby…take care of you, you know what I mean baby? Come on baby? Come get drink with me, baby. Don’t be cross, come on baby. You hurt me–know what I mean baby?”
No, I don’t know what you mean. Does this kind of thing actually work? Are you trying to pick me up and scam me all in one line? Why are you eating the coconut I just bought!? Ugh. Ten minutes later: finally free! Alone for a day and I’m already being hassled. Time to invent that fake husband–“Oh I have to go! My HUSBAND is waiting for me at the backpackers.” The Lonely Planet recommends it for females traveling alone.
Walking around the market, everyone calls out “hello!” or “sister!” and some aggressively argue for you to buy their products. But in general, I am fascinated with the corrugated tin shacks, hordes of singing children, stink of dried fish and quaint curios. I wanted to take pictures but didn’t want to offend or draw more attention to myself so just clicked away as surreptitiously as possible from behind my tote.
The coconuts, mangoes and pineapples are extremely cheap (about a dollar for 5 mangos, one coconut and one pineapple) and soooo yum–the best I’ve ever had. The women smiled as I slurped up the coconut milk, spilling it down my sweat soaked shirt, after she perfectly whacked one open in half. On to buy a small souvenir: a hand carved wooden ring (you know…it’s from my husband) from a sweet, old avuncular man with gnarled hands.
“Oh these earrings are pretty, what are they made of?”
He points to the tusks of an elephant he skillfully carved.
Oh…hmm. Well “Obrigado!”
Sweating dreadfully, I headed back to the backpackers and counted my losses. Having only spent a few bucks, I didn’t feel too bad about being probably ripped off. I am just too nice to haggle–especially over just a few cents.
After attempt #2 to leave Vilankulo, Anja and Demis were finally able to catch a chapa outta here yesterday morning (3:30AM!) and one to Chimoio where they will continue their journey north. To follow them visit http://sites.google.com/site/demisanja/ although it’s in Dutch but google translate works semi-OK. Apparently it’s difficult to leave as one Canadian tried and failed as well this morning to get to Chimoio (the same Canadian from the chapa to Tofo from Maputo! He arrived a day after us). In the afternoon, I walked along the beach with one of the hostel’s dogs humming in good humor “All by myself.”
Hot, humid and very, very sticky; Vilankulo turns out to be a pleasant destination nonetheless. Upon arrival, we were hesitant with a dirtier beach (broken glass bottles!) and absolutely no waves, “Uh this place is kind of a dump, maybe we should have stayed an extra day at Tofo.” But the next day, we enjoyed walking out to sea during low tide. After maybe 50-75m, you can still walk with water only up to your shins, after a short deep bit, and soft sand banks everywhere. The dog tried following us and even hopped on my back (ow!) during the deep bit but we convinced him to turn around and he gazed lugubriously at us from the shore. Sorry pup.
During dinner with Anja, Demis, a British couple and the Canadian we discovered that the British couple ran into the Canadian back in South America last year! It really makes you realize how small the world can be–what an amazing coincidence.
(On a side note, if you ever find yourself in Vilankulo, stay at Zombie Cucumber. The staff is extremely helpful and friendly and the accommodations are great! Plus, the food they serve is amazing.)
On one rainy morning, with a delightful couple from Nice, France (she’s originally from Mozambique and he’s Serbian) and her father, along with the Canadian, we headed off on a dhow to Magaruque for some snorkeling. While waiting for the tide to go down and the current to calm, we walked around the whole island and came upon a herd of surprised goats. Scuttling off, three remained on the ground.
Upon closer inspection, the baby jumps up startled and lands on the mum! Suddenly all three leap up and look confused as to where the others have gone.
In the afternoon, we went snorkeling with what they called “the Nemo fish.” The salt water is extremely buoyant making it harder to dive but you feel like an otter floating lazily along on your back with zero effort.
After getting back I hear, “DORIS!”
No bus out that morning after waiting for hours and then hitching back. Pleasant surprise and an extra afternoon with my favorite couple. A lot of people have asked me what it’s like traveling with a couple. It’s great! But only because it’s Anja and Demis 🙂
Early tomorrow, I will have to leave lazy, pleasant Vilankulo to find my way back to touristic Tofo where an old harridan wagged her finger menacingly at me when I refused to give her money (none of that at Vilanculo). Finding my way back via chapas and ferries, I will hopefully see those goddamn whale sharks before heading south through Swaziland before returning home to Lajuma.