People watching

My last post featured Maputo street signs and buildings, no people, so here’s a flavour of local colour to give some balance.

One of the popular things to do at the weekend in Maputo is to zip north for about 8 km to Costa do Sol, where the beach is used for meeting friends, relaxing and even bathing by those who are not concerned by the sewage pipes that disappear into the deep only a short distance away.

If you don’t have your own transport, it’s a challenge to get on a public ‘chapa’ (local mini-bus) to Costa do Sol, as they are full to bursting, just like on a normal work day.

Orderly chapa (bus) queue, just like in England!

A group of six of us waited patiently one Sunday, unable to cram ourselves into any chapas that passed… Finally one stopped and disgorged most of its passengers and we ended up hijacking it to Costa do Sol (not its set destination) for less than a taxi ride.

Never mind the beige froth floating on the water!

There is a big fancy restaurant ‘for foreigners’, but most people seem to park themselves in the shade on plastic chairs with grilled chicken and cold beer while watching the ever changing scene on the crowded beach.

Endless football matches are going on – depending on whether the tide is in or out.  Groups of less active men (mostly) pile up the empty beer bottles , make a lot of noise and plague neighbouring groups.  Ladies sit in front of their wares: cold boxes full of beer, trays of cashews and peanuts, plastic beads and whacky earrings.  Kids swim and play in the sea.

Have a cold beer?

The beer bottles pile up

Hawkers wander about with all kinds of goods and services – CDs, DVDs, fried fish, chewing gum, cough sweets, bananas… my favourite is the nail varnish men who are an easy temptation for the women (including us) sitting idly about.

Football breather

Lovely nails, madame

The nail varnish men have their rows of bottles of colour (frosted yellow, electric orange, green, purple, royal blue, aubergine, glittery pink, you name it) clamped between wooden sticks, and a bag with cotton wool and varnish remover (so having painted nails already is no excuse). They  manage to keep the sand out of all their operations.  No manicure or pedicure services are offered, but the two coats of colour are expertly applied, and last for weeks!

It gets crowded on the beach!

Fancy yellow or green nails?

Electric orange?

Actually, blue

Succulent chicken....

and more chicken...

And so passes a Sunday afternoon, hanging out at Costa do Sol.  Nothing like this for slowing down the pace of life :o))

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3 Responses to People watching

  1. Agnès - says:

    A good Sunday, hein ?

    Well, I wonder why does everything seems so much more fun when told about abroad and from overseas ?

    Sundays in Belgium are not one chance to meet one nail varnish man… 1) because they all are nail varnish women 2) because they are working 5 days a week but not on Sundays + another week day to replace the Saturday that is a mandatory regular working day.

    As for barbecues… Manuel from “Solar do Douro”, the Portuguese café front of my living room across the garden decided to organize a barbecue and we had for 7 € : chicken or pork or sardines + French bread + Portuguese music live with singer all the afternoon : I certainly appreciated the ambiance : this café is my favourite spot and I go there to drink my café before going to the job every morning and when I am back in the evening, kind of making transition…

    With the years going (six) I know the main customers as well as they are knowing me so we are acquaintances in not friends.

    I am living in a French speaking Belgo-Portuguese-Moroccan neighborood.

    By now I am able to understand the subtitles of the Portuguese news on the café tv screens… Portuguese is the ambiant language, better to be able to say “Bom dia” and “Mult’obligada” …

    All the surroundings café’s and restaurants are Portuguese anyway : cheap prices and succulent dishes…

    So a bit of Maputo by Brussels Saint-Gilles, a city named “the Village” over here : urbanization started only one century ago.

    Before it was fields and countryside handicrafts.

    Lots of streets are still bordered by fruit trees and you can see apples, peers, nuts, true, all polluted and not apetizing at all but still fruits and flowers and trees…

    We are a 2 km2 city inhabited by some 45.000 people from dozens of countries which makes the human concentration heavy by all international standards…

  2. Hmmm. I think I have time to do that myself – not a lot of work arround here! Hope all is going well at work.


  3. Georgie Duncan says:

    Send the nail varnish man to me when he has finished! With you in spirit. LOve Georgie xxx

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