Connect the dots

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mozambique to Malawi: Part II

Part II: By bike from the Mandimba border to the Chiponde border

After spending the night (in yet another overpriced motel) in Cuamba, we headed off early in the morning towards the Mandimba border. Our train buddies had a change of heart about remaining in Mozambique (due to the high price of transport) and decided to go with us to all the way to Mangochi.

A minibus going directly to the town just before the border picked us up bright and early and made its rounds through Cuamba until the bus was full.

On arrival, a crowd of bicyclists offered to take us to the border 7 km away. Unsure of how were were going to make it there with all the baggage, we haggled for a decent price in the minibus, but ended up paying too much anyway. (What a way to leave Mozambique!) Pauline got her fair share of money changers bum-rushing her for her meticais, but fortunately ended up with a good rate.

We swiftly got our stamp out of Mozambique and needed to make the 2 km trek to the Malawi side. Another set of bicyclists offered to take us and our packs over to the other side. I set a price for 4 bikes and we held on tight for the last ride through the Mozambique countryside.

And unfortunately, our last dealings with the Mozambicans ended in the same fashion as the rest: the original deal was not good enough for the bikers and they wanted more. We offered them the money but no one wanted to take it. We told them we would leave the money on the ground and it was up to them to take it or leave it. Frustrated, I walked away to let them make a decision. We were happy to leave the aggressiveness of Mozambique behind and immediately felt the difference at the Malawian border.

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