Thursday, December 28, 2006

security, security, security....

merry ex-mas to all my readers.

ex-mas was ok here. couldn't get in the mood. it was pretty crazy on the vilankulo beach though. mozambicans are total party animals.

still in mozambique. however, the pace has quickened. on boxing day i left vilankulo (finally) for ilha do mocimbique in the northern part of the country.

more than 48 hrs of transit time, topped by THE worst bus ride EVER.

first, it took 1 bus and 1 chapa ( passenger van) ride to the zambezi river on day 1. from the zambezi, i broke a security rule by traveling at night by chapa to quelimane on the coast. i was stuck at the open air bus station in quelimane (very dodgy place at night) for 4 hours (another security rule broken) while waiting for a 4 AM bus for nampulas.

at 4 AM, everyone piled into the bus. i mean it was a free for all. the potential for death was great. everyone was just pushing. i got the hell off that bus for i was crushed. clear example of the bus company not caring about their clients. those idiots should sell tix for their buses. there must have been 150 passengers in a bus designed for 105.

i eventually got back on the bus. however, i had to do some bus surfing (stand in the aisle) for the next 12 hrs to nampulas.

damn it was hot. i wasn't sure if i was going to make it. i had to ask my fellow travelers for water. i kept running out of my own.

i stopped the insanity last night.

it was dark. for security reasons i took a cab to the best hotel (which has passed it's best years).

so, later today i'm headed to ilha do mocimbique,"the oldest european settlement in africa". the chapa ride out there should be a piece of cake.

by the way, the africans hate these bus rides as well.

from ilha do mocimbique, i think i'm headed for malawi.

i might be there for NYE.

don't hold your breath though...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

the republic of the 3000 km long beach...

quickie post.

here in mozambique still. seems like i've fallen into the beach jumping path of a million south african vacationers...

i keep forgetting to post some coordinates of the places i'm in. i just got off the hellish bus ride from tofo. look for my present postion of vilankulo. it's half way between beira and maputo on the coast. it's alright... the thing to do here is to take a dhow (local sailboat) out to the outlying islands. i'm not sure about that. it doesn't take much but i'm a bit beached out.

i'm not sure where i'll be for xmas.

i'm thinking of traveling to zimbabwe just for something different to do. zimbabwe...i love banana republicks.

i'll be back with more info. maybe some pics.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

buy bubba a beer fund.

it's tough out here for a traveler.

the world price for pizza and beer (and cost of internet time) is extremely volatile.

besides, there are many of you out there wondering how to buy this wretched blogger a beer after a bloody bad bus ride.

well here's your chance, i've added a "donate" button to the sidebar (way at the bottom). contribute to the "buy bubba a beer" fund and you too can be a friend of bubba... (for those worried about internet security i'll send you my snail mail address.)

leave your particulars and you'll even get a postcard (if available) from bubba. wouldn't that be swell?

thanx to all the friends of bubba.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

one more...[UPDATE]

one more pic. this one from dune 45 in the namib desert at sunrise...

we stayed in sesriem. click here. if you follow directly west on the google map, along a valley surrounded by the orange dunes, the closest dune to the faint road is dune 45.

some more photos...

mystery animal #1: a certain animal we ran into in etosha national park. i luv etosha.

they call these zebras in etosha...huge herds of them.

travel tip #2 and a photo (finally)

finally, the first photo. i luv maputo. the internet cafes here are great. this picture was taken during our makoro (push-canoe) trip through the okavango delta.

travel tip #2. get yourself a silk sleeping bag liner next time you're traveling. very comfy for tropical weather. it's a bit pricey. $48 at MEC but well worth it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

where are da white folks?

after eight hour bus ride, i'm in maputo, mozambique. it's a world of difference with respect to SA.

maputo's much more relaxed. it's dilapitated in a post-revolutionary war kind of way. that's ok with me.

my guesthouse ("the base backpackers") is located on salvador allende and the 24th of june streets, a couple of blocks away from mao tse tung avenue. you get the drift. this place, comrades, is a chocked full of communists. too bad every one's making bags of money on the 24th of june street.

everything is ok. i'm practicing sayin' obligado. food is cheap. internet is cheap. people are cheery. white mingle with black... what else can a traveler ask for, eh?

travel tip #1. always get your visa at the border if possible. even if you have to grease some palms to do it.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

mozambique here i come...

it's official, i'm off to mozambique tomorrow. should be fun. should be cheaper. i hear the beaches are nice. but, i'm not that kind of guy. i think i'm headed to the north.

sorry to leave JNB. it's been really pleasant. the people are really nice. i just met a chinese guy/salesman in a electronics store. he was telling me about the small community of chinese folks in JNB. he's a native JNB'er and married a chinese JNB'er. he says he's a racist. ha! he's been in TO and Vancouver. Said he wants to retire in Canada.

i'll email from maputo.

godwilling, i'll survive mozambique. (considering my lack of knowledge of the portuguese language - i'm limited to obligato, por'va vor, and cervasa. crap. i don't even know how to spell them correctly.)

statistical update of phase one of trip:

km driven: 8000+ km
tanks of gas used: 18.

Monday, December 11, 2006

holding pattern...

hello my friends,

reporting from jo-burg still.

good news! i'm still in one piece.

i slept in this morning and missed the time period in which to apply for a mozambican visa. so, i'm going to have to wait till tomorrow morning. in the meantime, i might be thrown out of my hostel.

yesterday, me and ahmed managed to fit in a tour of the Apartheid Museum and Soweto.

the apartheid museum was really good. i could have spent 4 or 5 hours there but managed 2.5. exhibits were depressing though. at the beginning of the tour i was given an honourary white person's card. i felt quite powerful for some odd reason. in reality, dennis, our tour guide, said that chinese people were classified as blecks in that time. turned out that, the classifications (white, coloured, blecks) were quite arbitrary. some families were split along racial qualifications. approx. 100 chinese people in 1985 changed colours from bleck to white.

anyway, the story of apartheid was quite chilling. they had video clips of government officials in the day defending apartheid. initially, apartheid was enforced because of labour shortages. but, clearly, it turned out to be a racist policy.

afterwards, dennis took us to soweto (stands for SOuth WEstern TOwnships), the area where alot of the bleck brothers were segregated from the white folks. we saw the mandela's little brick house, winnie mandela's house and desmond tutu's house. we then went to seen the po part of soweto. then we went to the very rich part of soweto (where millionaire bleck people live).

overall, i don't think a trip to SA is complete without a tour of soweto or any other townships.

update: i was walking along the road today when i spotted a newspaper with the headline reading "chinese fighting to be black". i thought apartheid was in the past. i believe dennis' observation that, even though there are tough anti-discrimination laws, there is a still a strong undercurrent of racism here. can't fix rome in a day, eh...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

wait, this is like work!!

okavango delta: finished.

i liken a mokoro trip into the okavango to spending some time on "the rock", except this rock has a bunch of animals.

finished the tour and hi-tailed it out of there.

started the long journey "home" to johannesburg (that's where i am as i write), at 5 AM. Tried to pick up a wheel cover for the poor rental along the way in Gabarone (Gabs for short). not possible. we've traveled over 8000 km and still could not find a hubcap. we even checked out the hubcap stock of this guy standing by the roadside selling his lost and found collection. nodda. we must have rented the most obscure model of car in the history of rental cars.

like i said i'm in johannesburg now. it's the most violent urban area on the face of the planet. however, as with most outrageous descriptions, jo'burg has not lived up to expectations. we even drove around after dark. we were car-jacked at all.

things i've noticed so far about JNB:

damn it's expensive here.
i've never seen so many bmw's, mercedes, lotus' (loti), ferraris in my life.
affluence is not restricted to da man. a lot of the bros are loaded as well.
the gap between rich and poor is out of control and i mean between the brothers, eh.
people try to emulate the american way of life. if you can see the consumerism here you'd think could be the other way around.

my friend, ahmed, leaves tomorrow for colder climes... i'll be all alone. yikes. i'm feeling a bit scared.

note: who's ed stelnack?


Monday, December 04, 2006

speed of light

hello my friends.

another short post. i'm traveling at the speed of light right now. things should slow down dramatically after the 10th of december.

i have to get my butt over to maun, botswana before sundown today. maun is the gateway to the okavango delta (the largest inland delta on the face of the planet)

UPDATE: my mama seems to be on the fast track to recovery.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

back from the wild...

well, i'm back. i'm in the capital city of namibia, Windhoek. etosha was really exciting. lot's o animals.

however, to put a damper on things, i'm rifling through stack of emails only to find out my mum underwent surgery to have her gall bladder removed or gall stones removed. i'm not sure what the exact situation is but she seems to be ok. good thing my brother is at home.

i don't feel like traveling anymore.