Saturday, 11 January 2020

January 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 220 Tanzania to Maputo

January 11, 2020

After last night’s Ribeye Steak grilled perfectly in the Patio dining area, two Vodkas with a splash of triple sec and lime juice in the Den we hit the sack. 
And this may hold some interest for you: I used the ship’s ATM yesterday to acquire USA Dollars for various reasons. The bills popped out as usual. Late last night I was informed that my USA Visa card had been shut down by RBC. Azamara asked if I would call the Bank in the morning and sort it out. A call to the number on the back of the card put me in conversation with a person in one minute, who, after a few introductory questions, determined that the ATM transaction in Zanzibar, Tanzania was suspect (perhaps by an automated process). Within a few minutes the card was reactivated. This is not meant to be an advertisement for RBC…only that I read it as a positive attribute for the protection of my credit when abroad. I also learned, coincidentally, while reading Matt Ridley’s book, The Rational Optimist is and I quote: ‘Whereas it takes a handful of steps to set up a business in America or Europe, that to do the same in Tanzania would take 379 days and cost $5,606. Worse, to have a normal business career in Tanzania for fifty years you would have to spend more than a thousand days in government offices petitioning for permits of one kind or another and spending $180,000 on them. Little wonder that a staggering 98% of Tanzanian businesses are extralegal.”
This morning we decided to relax on board, read more of Ridley, and enjoy a luncheon BBQ by the pool and make ready to sail toward Maputo, Mozambique at 17:00 with all systems go.

January 12, 2020

Another beautiful morning awaits us, then a surprise, Captain Filip announces ‘whales off the Port Side’ and passengers and crew head for the sighting. Terryl saw them but I didn’t.
Last night a very funny Comedian/Magician entertained a packed house while using several passengers’ necks to insert swords and other instruments to regale his audience. One of the necks belonged to an Aussie and the other to a Teacher who corrected his ‘Barbara and I’ to Barbara and me’ and got a great laugh for her work.
We are at sea all day and have selected a few items of interest to attend: a lecture on Maputo, Mozambique; a Jump, Jive and Swing brand new group of singers and dancers; a Wild Jewels enrichment seminar supporting foundation benefitting Kenya’s young people; and finally an Opening Night Party at 22:30, all of which will be time well spent.

January 13, 2020

We have some information and history of Maputo, Mozambique (the Capital of a Healing Nation) to share. We dock there on January 15, 2020. Let’s start with the population of 1.1 million with an area surrounding at 14 million. The current President is Filip Jacinto Nyusi elected in 2015, with their last President Samora Machel dieing in a plane crash in 1986 that appeared to be caused by opposing political views coming from South Africa.
In 1974 a military coup had overthrown the Portuguese dictatorship of Marcelo Caetano to achieve Independence - which they were not ready for - and in two years there was a civil war in which 1 million people died. Frelimo forces ran the show with the backing of the Soviet Union with a peace agreement during the fall of the Soviet Union. Today the country has evolved into a more Democratic-Socialist process of government.
Back in 1791 the Portuguese took control with a rather superior attitude over the Indigenous who were forced to live outside the city in a slum named Mafala. The governing Portuguese built a state-of-the-art Railroad system and Station (in Maputo) in 1916. [Take note that poorer countries lack quality, and have fewer Railroad Systems in the world according to 2020 statistics.]
Gustave Eiffel, designed and built all Tin and Steel houses here - can one only image how hot they would be under the sun’s heat.
Perhaps Jose Craverinha (1922 - 2003) is their hero who was a great athlete in his day, as well as the poet of Mozambique.
All land is the property of the state; one can own the building but not the land it sits on. And of course this hinders investment and promotes a lack of building maintenance with the state taking the building when the lease expires. All of this has made Mozambique into the second poorest country in the world; corruption is rampant, and slums and dumps are significant in Maputo.
Lastly, when the Cyclones hit the flooding is severe without the necessary infrastructure, but still, there is the odd Luxury Hotel peaking out of all of this.
Today is another sea day, however, Azamara has put on a display of Procedures, Processes, and day-to-day activities in all departments, all miniaturized throughout the Theatre this morning. Very interesting, indeed.

January 14, 2020

Last evening was a major treat for Terryl and me; the invitation to dine with Captain Filip and his wife Nicola was formalized and in our mailbox asking us to meet with his four additional guests in the Mosaic Cafe at 18:15 for a little sparkling wine and our first toast. The Captain and his wife look like they just stepped out of movie scene; he is as handsome at 6’5” with a neatly trimmed black beard and black uniform as she is stunning in a beautiful one piece white snuggly fitted jumpsuit and long blonde hair. The evening was wonderful, the food and wines were superb, all served in Discoveries Dining Room with flawless grace by attentive staff over a period of three hours when we made our final toast to our fellow travellers, and to Azamara for the honour bestowed on each of us.
The Five of Us together at another function on the Pool Deck
Today is another sea day before we arrive in Maputo, however, a medical emergency for one of the passengers was announced, and that we would be upping our speed to get additional medical attention in Maputo.
Furthermore with our current information - as well as new particulars not to be written here - we have decided to stay on board when we arrive in Maputo. Several days ago we had applied for Visas at a cost of $50 each to travel in Maputo and other parts of Mozambique. I doubt that we will get a refund; they need the money more than we do.
We’ll learn a little more about Durban, South Africa this afternoon, and this evening there is another swanky dinner for all of the guests hosted by The Officers of the Azamara Quest.

January 15, 2020

And another major treat for Terryl and me; last night we were guests of The Ship’s Officers and dined in Discoveries Dining Room with Adele who has worked his way into a management position with Azamara Cruise Lines.  He’s a  fascinating man whose birthplace was Casablanca - (the movie with Bogart and Bergman) - that brings in the tourists with Rick’s Place and other establishments almost as famous. Adele is a talker and five years away from retirement; he had plenty to say on every question, but especially on the one that asked, ‘When on the tour of the inside’s working departments, do you see the living quarters?’ His answer was quick and decisive - No, and for all the right reasons such as privacy for people who are front and centre for most of the day and night. Again, the food and wines were superb and delivered flawlessly by Tin, a skilled waiter just like Adele once was, and has trained Tin to be.
We are docked at Maputo, Mozambique this morning with Visas paid through the ship’s internal system, however we’ve decided not to go ashore for the eight hours we are here. Maputo does not have a good reputation. There is more corruption, crime, uncleanliness and other undesirable traits explicitly expressed by several authorities on board. So the plan is to get a full tank of gas and get on our way at 15:00 and boot it to Richards Bay in South Africa. We will sail right under a massive bridge built by the Chinese not so long ago.

1 comment:

  1. No Maputo seems like a wise decision, to be honest. Glad to hear this cruise continues to delight and surprise.

    ReplyDelete

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