Tanzania and Mozambique Solo

Mbeya, Tanzania

I arrived in Tanzania early next morning.
Stayed for a night in Mbeya, which is a really quaint
town. I decided to lunch with the locals, so I went to
eat in the market. It was cute, because everyone
started looking at me (Japonais, come!!!!). And after
a while, I settled on a very bare store.

I ordered a huge plate of rice with a kiam-chye (salted vege)
thingie on it, and a side dish of tomato soupy stew
thingie. Cost: US$0.30. Amount of food: Enormous. So
as I ate, people around me started to warm up, and we
had heated discussions about Mbeya, the price of
fruits, the cost of living of Singapore versus Mbeya,
and whether after visiting Mbeya, would I shift my
allegiance from Singapore to Tanzania.

I couldn't finish the food, which was weird because I normally
eat a lot.But of course, Tanzania is a really green
city, with recycling as a way of life. So the excess
stew went back into the stew pot, the rice went into
the rice pot and my spoon got wiped clean with a muggy
looking rag (water is precious: Conserve!!). Then
after, I went to walk around the little town, and had
a nice time chatting with people. Mbeya people are
truly hospitable. The next day, I awoke at 5, to begin
my long and arduous journey to Chintetche.

Maputo, Mozambique

Maputo is an organised capital, with large wide
boulevards and street names like "Avenida Mao Tse
Tung" and "Avenida des 24 Julios", legacy of its
communist past.

The people speak Portuguese, and are very sociable.
Wherever we went, we were greeted with smiles (and,
the unfortunate "kungfu" calls that tend to befall
people who look East Asian). The people were really
amused by us, and we had a lot of fun just speaking
with them, and eating at the local places.

Mozambicans are in general very laid-back people who have a very
positive outlook to life. When encountering the
unfamiliar, they just laugh it off, and it is here
that we finally got into the vibe, and rhythm, of

One of the most memorable things we did was to visit
the seafood market. This was a huge night market
teeming with people browsing through the day's catch.
All the seafood was fresh and affordable, and we would
buy lots and lots of seafood for a minimal price, and
then have it cooked at the back portion of the market
where there were stalls willing to prepare your food
any way you want it for a small charge.

We went there twice, and once, we were stopped by the police looking
for some additional income ('This is Africa!!'*).
Because we were warned of this, we had all the
necessary documents, and the police were trying so
hard to find fault with us that they kept us for quite
a long time. Finally, when they couldn't find
anything, they got their "chief officer" to "inspect"
us, and he checked us personally.

The funny thing was, he saw our mate's passport, found out that he was
German, and then started speaking German. Because
almost all of us could speak German, we started
chatting away, in Mozambique, a German, a bunch of
Singaporeans, and a Mozambican, auf Deutsch. Now,
that's globalisation.

* A quote that we came to hear of very often by the
African people, to give the connotation of how they
need to persuade authorities by supplementing their
incomes, to get things done, or to get off the hook.

Marc Lim

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