My one night at home was a welcome change from sterile hotel rooms but there was so much to do and before long my suitcase was packed again. I thought that I would be nervous flying this morning since I was flying with SA Airlink who have had a bit of a bad time recently with accidents and incidents but I was completely okay. Maybe 2010 is my year for having discarded my fear of flying completely but the real proof will be next month when I fly from Mauritius to Seychelles and back on Air Seychelles since it is thanks to Air Seychelles that I developed this ridiculous fear in the first place.
What contributed to my enjoyment of the flight was that it was on another cute little turbo propelled aircraft, this time a Jetstream 41. It only takes 29 people and there were only 11 on-board making it really comfy. Take-off was to the north-east so we had a lovely view of Durban and I couldn't help thinking as we flew over uShaka Marine World that that was the closest I have been to my office for a while! The disappointing part of the flight was that from just past Durban there was cloud cover all the way to Maputo so I didn't get to see the lovely KZN coast.
I had arranged for a transfer from the airport to my hotel but no one was waiting at the airport and eventually I had to take a taxi. I experienced a bit of déjà vu since exactly the same thing happened last year. The hotel is what I remembered but possible getting a little rundown. The best thing about it though, besides the free Internet access, is that it is Indian owned which means that the IPL cricket is on TV - at last something decent to watch in the evenings! Oh yes, my room is at the back of the hotel, so not much of a view ...
I spent the afternoon wandering around the city rediscovering my way around and looking at some of my favourite buildings. Maputo is possibly one of the cities that I like the most. Sure it has its problems, seriously pot-holed roads, crumbling pavements and shabby and derelict buildings but it has these really wide avenues that can only be attributed to the ox wagons of yesteryear. Not only are these avenues wide but they are lined with lovely shady trees that are currently just starting to come into flower - bright red flowers. I was also pleased to discover that the introduction of shopping malls has not been the demise of my favourite Chinese shop. Will definitely be going there during the week! A pleasant surprise is how clean the city is - definitely the cleanest I have ever seen it. There is still some litter around but none of the mounds of garbage that used to be all over the place. Below are just some photos that I took while meandering around.
The Maputo Cathedral
Maputo City Hall
Samora Machel statue just outside the Botanic Gardens
My favourite Chinese store - the lions guard the entrance way
The road back to my hotel
Tomorrow I begin round three of the WIOFish project update workshops and I am looking forward to it. The people I work with are enthusiastic and usually they are very well prepared which makes the experience really enjoyable.
But now I am going to watch some cricket - hopefully I will watch the Chennai Super Kings win :-)