Last day in Maputo! …until we come back to catch our bus to SA

We woke up early and walked down to the TCO office to purchase the tickets that Alex had been unable to finalize the day before without my passport. The lady remembered Alex and literally went over her penciled in booking from yesterday with pen to make it official. Once she was finished filling out our tickets we proceeded to pay her more then the total price assuming she would be able to provide us with change since the taxis we took every night did– we were wrong. The TCO lady told us it had to be EXACT change, so Alex and I searched through our coins and bills to find our smallest denominations in order to give her an exact amount. We finally succeeded but providing small exact amounts in meticais is not easy for foreigners who are getting their money from ATMs because the smallest bill ATMs will provide is 200 & the smallest bill in Mtc. is 50 (that we have seen), coins only go up to 10 Mtc. so there is a big gap in the currency, which is inconvenient for providing exact change.

After finishing up at TCO we headed off to Base backpackers to find out if they had accommodation in the dorms for the night of June 8, since they are closer to our bus pick up than Fatima’s. We waited in the lobby for about 20 min, but no one came to help us so we decided to have breakfast and go to the natural history museum and come back. We headed a block over from Base to Ave 24 where Lonely Planet had listed several cafes, but none of them looked appealing. We considered continuing down to Cafe Acacia (listed in Lonely Planet), which was across the street from the natural history museum but our stomaches were growling and we needed to take our anti-malaria, so we stopped into a small cafe and got a pastry & juice.

Finished with breakfast we continued on to the natural history museum. Housed in an old white colonial building with a grand staircase and views of the water the museum contained 2 worth while exhibits (cost 50 Mtc. for adults). First was the collection of baskets, masks, jewelry , pottery & other artifacts that provided a glimpse into the culture of native Mozambiquens. The second was a collection of elephant fetuses; both a sad and scientifically interesting sight that one would not see anywhere else in the world. The rest of the museum contains old run down, spider web covered displays on dominant genes and other biological systems.

On our way to the museum we passed Cafe Acacia, noting its views of the water we returned to have drinks and admire the scenery. Although we did not order any food we did look over the menu and plan to go for breakfast when we return. Other than Mundos this is the only place that we have found that serves an egg breakfast similar to one at home or even in SA. Most cafes only have pastries, bread or an egg sandwich the other items they list as breakfast, like hamburgers, I would not consume at 9am. I was a little disappointed that Lonely Plant didn’t mention more about the uniqueness of this cafe as an traditional breakfast place.

Back at Base backpackers we waited several minutes for the bubbly receptionist to come out in help us, but it gave me some time to look through the Lonely Plant Mozambique book from 2007. As I scanned through the section on Maputo it reaffirmed my belief that getting the Lonely Planet country specific books is better than the Southern Africa book when you are planning to go to only a few places and really want detail. The Southern Africa guide is great for the traveler who is constantly moving and only staying in places for a day or a night, but not for a more extensive exploration. I’m now glad we opted to get the new 2010 SA book.With two dorm beds booked at Base for June 8 we walked back to Fatimas to make lunch.

South Africa customs has a rule that if your passport does not have two blank pages in it they will not let you into the country. Well the number of free pages that I had left diminished quickly after both SA and Mozambique stamped my passport on two separate pages. Alex and I had wanted to go to Victoria falls after the World Cup but I only had enough pages blank to make it back into SA after I returned from Kenya, so we decided to walk over the the US Embassy and see what they could do for me. Aparently just showing up at the US Embassy to ask questions about your passport is not the appropriate way to go about it- we should have had an appointment. My situation wasn’t a huge deal, but if i had lost my passport or worst it was stolen I would have been irate at the idea that I needed an appointment to get help. The gentleman at the embassy were very nice. I explained to the guy at the window my situation, expecting him to say they would need to keep my passport for several days in order to process my request, but he handed me a form to fill out and said once I was finished it would take about 15 min to process and it was FREE. Alex and I were both surprised and gladly waited in the lobby around the corner learning interesting travel tips, like how to kill bed bugs, from the state department magazine. When they guy was finished he brought out my passport with 20+ more pages in it and gave us suggestions of places to eat dinner.

We took a taxi to an Italian restaurant that i found online, but it was out of business so we walked to Tavern ( see Alex review) to have dinner. Going to sleep early because we are getting up at 1:45 am to go to the bus.


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