We spent two days transiting through this massive country, driving through what is known as the infamous “Tete Corridor”, the section known for the “gun run” during Mozambique’s infamous and long standing civil war. Today, the country is peaceful and we spent a lot of time smiling and waving to the friendly locals. Unfortunately, our itinerary didn’t allow for any stopovers in Mozambique, but we have already vowed to return to this corner of the world since the few sights we did see were tantalizing enough to lure us back to explore in depth.
21 May: It was a straight forward drive to the border, and Nancy was able to get all of us stamped out of Zimbabwe with no hassle. However, there were two separate forms to fill in for Mozambique, and we had to wait a while for our passports and visa requests to be processed ($30 USD per person for a transit visa). Cook group started preparing truck lunch as it was well past 1 pm by the time we finally ate lunch. Poor Ally got busted by the police for peeing in the bushes. Apparently, the caretaker for the dismal looking toilets wanted to charge us $1 to use the horrible facilities, and everyone refused to pay the extortionate prices. Matt didn’t help matters any when he told the caretaker that he would just pee into the bushes and was told an adamant “no, that is not allowed” and retorted with “Get the police then!”. Ally was their scapegoat and she was singled out for peeing in the bushes until Chris came to the rescue, pointing out at all the other refuse in the bushes and exclaiming that $1 was highway robbery and none of us were going to pay it. When the policeman tried to say that was the price, Chris turned the tables on him and asked him if it was normal for locals to pay $1 to use the toilet. After admitting that it was ridiculous, Ally was let off the hook and everyone laughed the incident off. After truck lunch, we waited for over an hour for our passports to be processed, and finally, Nancy was back with passports in hand and we thought we could cross. However, the officials demanded that we all disembark from the truck and walk across the border. A fight was brewing in the background, as a young man who was either drunk or high kept getting into a shoving match with the border officials. He was ganged up upon by the officials who finally pulled out a whip and started beating his ass. Unable to defend against the whip, he turned tail and ran, and all the local onlookers kept jeering their abuse. One of the policemen had drawn out his weapon, and we were fearful that we were going to witness a man’s murder. However, the situation seemed to diffuse as the man ran off and stayed away from the border officials, and Chris wasted no time in zooming off into Mozambique, trying to put as much distance between our truck and the unfortunate man. We had a short drive within Mozambique to our bush camp, which was beneath power lines near a town called Cancune. Since it was a combined “FDNCTP” (First Day New Country Truck Party) and “LDNCTP” (Last Day New Country Truck Party), we ended up drinking a bit and getting merry. Cook group 1 (Dowelly, Lisa and Sara) made Cancune Risotto, which was quite tasty and went down well. The power lines seemed to be turned out partway through the night, and we giggled as we watched each other’s hair soar towards the sky. Lars made “Cane Tang” with a contribution of cane liquor from Lars and Robby and it was a hit, making everyone more merry as the night went on. After human pyramids and a couple of tumbles, we called it a night as we didn’t want a sore head tomorrow especially with a long drive day and border crossing into Malawi.
22 May: It was an early morning with breakfast at 6:30 am while nursing a slight hangover. This bush camp was quite memorable for its horrible pricklies that stuck to all of us and our clothing. While trying to clear our clothes, the pricklies would stick into our fingers instead, making it a tedious task to clear our clothes. By 7:30, we were on the road and Chris was zooming along. Since it was an overcast day, it felt quite chilly and everyone was bundled up trying to stay warm. We tried our best to capture some memories of Mozambique, but it really is a travesty that we only have one transit day in this wonderful country. The people seemed to be lovely and the countryside was absolutely pristine and beautiful. The locals happily waved to us throughout the day, and we admired the passing scenery with a sense of wistfulness that we couldn’t spend more time here. Almost all the houses were simple wooden circular shacks with thatched roofs. Our main highlight in Mozambique was stopping to buy charcoal (bargain priced at $2 for a massive bag), loading up on 10 bags. The villagers curiously trickled out to get a glimpse of us and the children were especially precious. Some of the shyer kids were escorted by the braver friends, and pretty soon, we had a massive crowd of curious onlookers. We weren’t sure how the word spread that our truck was in town, but tiny tots seemed to pop out from nowhere, running up so as to not miss the ongoing spectacle. It was awesome and everyone enjoyed the interaction between our two groups. At one point in our journey, we crossed the mighty Zambezi River in the town of Bascula, but we were sternly warned that absolutely no photos would be tolerated while we were crossing the bridge (which looked like the Golden Gate bridge), so everyone reluctantly put their cameras away for the river crossing. It was mid afternoon by the time we reached the Calomue border crossing, and we only had one easy form to fill out.