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