Kayak on road to Larde

Almost a year to the date I first moved to Nampula, I arrived back in this big loud city late afternoon yesterday, laden with gifts from the more civilised world: kayak and paddles, battery charger, wind up lamps and spare car parts. The journey here was … interesting. First we had the flight from Cape Town to Joburg. After a week of wedding parties we set out with a convoy of friends, a very large red sea kayak and a bag full of toiletries and spares and pipes, and maybe a few clothes. Despite all of this we checked all in with quite a few surprised faces but no extra baggage fees. The first worry over. The next challenge was to leave the kayak in storage overnight at OR Tambo International. This too was easy with only R50 in fees. Onwards to day two! Here also we had very little problem with checking in this large red boat thing. And again we were within our luggage restrictions (perhaps something to do with the innocent looking hand luggage bags carrying the bulk of the weight).

All that was left was to actually leave the airport some time during the day (our plane was indefinitely delayed) and to get through customs. We did eventually make it onto the plane, even though we got off again 40 minutes later in Maputo to wait another couple of hours. And by luck the ticket we had purchased was direct (via Maputo) to Nampula which means we only collected our luggage in Nampula, where there are rarely, if ever, customs officers on duty. We did take precautions though of having our bag plastic sealed, a sure deterrent for anyone on duty late afternoon but hiding something that is big, red and plastic is somewhat more of a challenge.

Now we are here and the sights and sounds are the same. Work is underway to build 12 new traffic lights in the city, avocados are back in season and everything is looking very green even though I haven’t seen the rain yet. We will go to the islands soon, planning to stay for a few weeks to a month at a time this year while building gets underway. The kayak will become our well worn friend and Nampula the big smoke we will visit in times of social and material need.

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