Friday, March 4, 2011

Day 139 - Tofo to Chimoio

Up at 530 but had to wait around for my coffee but that was ok as I saw the sun rise over the Indian Ocean from the thatched roof restaurant.  Incredible! .  Left Tofo at 730am for the 750km ride to Chimoio.  I had wondered if that was possible due to speed limits and the abundance of villages as well as bad roads. I was told the road was good for the most part but after Vilanculos to Save it was potholed and bad.  Couple of them were half the size of the bike but from what I have learned it used to be worse a few years ago.  The edges were like someone took a pick axe to it.  A South African I met told me 10 years ago you could drive along this main highway and see semis that were blown apart from hitting land mines.  Past several police check points and at times I caught myself doing 20 to 30 kph over the speed limit but they just waved me past.  I found out later from the bar owner of the hotel in Chimoio that the government has come down hard on the police for extorting cash out of tourists.  The funny thing was they always pulled over the mini buses and a lot of semis.  The mini bus drivers are running without permits and overloaded so they willingly pay the small brides and the semis are smuggling people usually in the trailer amongst all the cargo. Neither of them  are willingly to contend the charges and it’s cheaper to pay the bribes. 

The entire 750km of the EN1 was dotted with stalls selling fruit and building supplies such as sticks, reeds and wooden support beams.  The road obstacles in this country were people and bicycles.  People would be standing even sitting in the middle of the road and would scatter as I came around the corner.  The only buildings I saw en route were wood huts and the occasional concrete shell of a building.  The other peculiarity was that most of the concrete buildings had Vodacom or MCell painted on the outside walls.  The two cell phone companies in Mozambique.  It was the same in South America.  I guess the locals sold their wall space to big business for a price.  And yes, Coca Cola was ubiquitous.  Their marketing team must have really been something else.

Serviced the chain and replaced the headlight when I arrived in Chimoio.  The headlight blew somewhere along the route today.  Also had to readjust the visor on the helmet as gravity was more of a factor than the notches that held it in place when it was flipped up.

So far in Africa I have not met a lot of motorcyclists touring the continent, not like South America.  People here in Africa cannot comprehend the distances Rob and I have travelled or where my next destination is.  They just shake their heads and laugh.  Some even call us crazy. Well, maybe a little off center but not crazy.

Little side note:  Travelling solo is a VERY different experience.  Harder than I thought.  You are more acutely aware of dangers and the what ifs.  There is no one to help out, to count on.  You take fewer chances.  I had dropped my bike a few times already and luckily there was someone there to help with the resurrection. Not to mention the camaraderie.  It really sucks drinking alone.  Maybe Malawi will be different.

Sorry, no photos today.

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