Timeline: 11 days into Beira adventure. Status: Content. Comments: Miss Raquel.
Apologies for the military style start but it was probably the best way to describe the situation. It´s just over a week after my arrival in Beira and unlike my first week in Tripoli, there is no post arrival depressions to get over. There are culture shocks which I need to get used to, but these are quite positive (I´ll get them in a bit).
So Beira… What are my first impressions? As I said in my previouspost, Beira in terms of physical size is not a big and expansive city like Tripoli and this can be seen from the photos I took from the plane which is why I was surprised when I discovered the population size of the city: Around the 500 000 mark. Physically the city might have the size of my town in South Africa, maybe a bit bigger, however the population is over 15 times more. I don´t know where everyone is hiding, but I will find out eventually.
Physically the city retains some of the colonial attributes implemented by the Portuguese. The city´s main thoroughfares are wide dual carriage avenues separated by rows of trees. These avenues lead to typical roundabouts. Though the roads are a bit of a mess as they aren´t level and there are potholes everywhere. This might be the reason why the drivers here drive relatively slow and aren´t intent on killing themselves (like in Libya).
The architecture is very… umm… well I don´t know how to describe it, but let´s just say the its beauty has waned a tad… It feels very African in some ways as you see the organized chaos of informal markets on more than one road, the odd decaying multi story buildings from the seventies and eighties and interspersed between these you see the odd decaying colonial era building. It´s definitely not a city that will take your breath away, but it´s city that I believe has the potential to turn into a pretty city. Unfortunately I still haven´t found the time to explore with my camera (apart from where I live) so I only have photos taken in the car ride to work.
The neighborhood I live in is very residential, so much so that there is not even a little supermarket to buy food close by, however I can always buy juice and cookies at the informal stalls along the beach close to my house. That´s another thing that is quiet nice about where I live: The beach. The apartment is facing the beach. Every morning I wake up with sound of waves hitting the beach sand… that’s something I can get used to.
The one big surprise I had, was the quantity of mosques I´ve seen in the city. Definitely not something I was expecting when I moved here.
In terms of food, I´m in a bit heaven. Most of, if not all, food products is imported from South Africa. They even have the same franchises here. I haven´t found biltong yet but I´ve been assured I can find it. In this area and perspective I have no complaints. I can find pap and wors with no problems what so ever!
Finally, Mozambiquans are very nice people. Everyone says goodmorning, they are happy and smilling and in the professional sense they seem to be hard work and competent which is something that I can´t always say of locals in the other countries I´ve worked in.
So overall, my impression from Beira and moving to Mozambique are very positive. The city will take a while in getting used, but other than that I am quite happy with my choice to move here (The other options were Angola and possibly Guinea).
The only downside to life in Beira is that Raquel is not here!
Last thing to write about: The positive culture shocks
- After living in Islamic countries for over two years, legally having a drink at a beachside bar is something of culture shock. I´m not much of drinker but it is nice every now and then.
- I´ve said this before, but it is really strange not having to learn a new language in a completely new country. I can understand everyone and when I say everyone, I mean everyone! The Mozambiquans, the Brazilians, the Portuguese and the South Africans (who think no one will understand if they speak Afrikaans). I shocked the bejesus out of a man on site when I spoke to him in Afrikaans as he assumed I was Brazilian.The only downside to life in Beira is that Raquel is not here!
*Beira in Portuguese means edge, so the post title means “On the EDGE of Happiness (but only on the Edge)