One of the final few tasks that need to be completed in order to receive our approval and tourism licences we need to get the administrators of each of the regions our project falls into to write a small letter acknowledging what we are going to be doing. The islands fall into the Moma district and the letter from the head honcho has already been delivered. It has been a bit more complicated getting the same from the administrator of Angoche region as this is where the peninsula lies and it thus only a secondary focus of the project right now. But the licences need to be done together as one.

And the only way to get our letter is to go to the man himself which is a 2 and a half hour journey. Angoche itself is a port town with a small harbour and run down buildings that testify that this was once a central, rich city. But it has never recovered from the war years. The harbour isn’t used much and the cashew nut factories that have been standing hollow all these years are only now starting to be revived.  In the process of being graded and tarred, the road to Angoche is much easier that it was just a few years ago. Fields of coconut trees and the sticky sweet smell of roasting cashews are its welcoming ambassadors. Heat is its representative, sticking to you wherever you go.

A word with the administrators secretary gives us hope that the letter will be written and we can see him when he comes back from a trip along the river at 4pm. We go to the one and only coffee shop/restaurant/bar, “O Pescador”. I remember this place from when I was last here in 2005 except it has moved from one side of town to another, to a building identical in structure, decor and layout, down to the outside tiling to the blue painted window slabs boasting the same dusty plastic flowers. Like looking in a mirror.

We drink coke after coke while waiting an hour for some chips. I start to get literally too uncomfortable to sit anymore, using the excuse of getting more drinks as a way of dodging the heat, a complicated dance that never ends.

With a couple more hours to spare we drive to the beach, “Praia Nova” which the department od tourism says is the next big destination in this province. An old ‘resort’ abandoned sometime in the 50’s is in the process of being restored. The bungalows are small concrete boxes with a couple of small windows and cleared of all trees. It something I see everywhere here, a strange affliction of the Portuguese that they wanted to build houses that keep in all the heat, windows so small, they keep all eyes and light out, and no trees in case they dare provide any shade!

A bit further and we reach the beach, a long strip hidden from view by a small dune running its edges. There is a bar here consisting of a small corral of straw huts, a mud house with a coca cola fridge and kitchenette in the corner and nothing else. But there is shade, a breeze and cold drinks. We wait. We drink. And we try to pay – there is a major change issue here in Mozambique – it seems as though the bank never minted enough of the smaller notes and coins and so every drink we buy anywhere we go comes with a futile discussion about us having a note and them having no change. Of course it doesn’t help to suggest we take some drinks with us as they are bottles which hold a deposit.

Back in the town and overheated once more we try to see if the administrator is back. After 10 minutes standing at the harbour we see his boat arriving and so we drive around to some back road so Jack and Nox can change back into their business suits. But the bush telegraph is fast here and no sooner are we parked that the harbour master has found us to tell us Mr Administrator has landed.

Then we wait again, 10 minutes, 20, 30, 40…. they are called in at 4:30 pm. At 5, they come out shaking their heads. The administrator wants us to do another community consultation, there has been a confusion between the administrator and the lands department. Now we drive back the 2 and a half hours knowing that it will tomorrow or the next day that we will have to be back to do it all again.

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