I've been caught stealing.... (aka the case of the missing boots)
18.05.2007 - 25.05.2007 34 °C
It wasn’t until we were bumping along the main road of Ilha de Mocambique in a dilapidated van, which had clearly been used for fish haulage, that Nat realised her mistake. She had left her hiking boots behind in the previous bus.
We had spent the morning travelling from Nampula, on a large bus for about 4 hours until about half an hour before arriving at our intended destination, the remaining passengers were taken to a small bus station and told to jump into a smaller van for the trip over the bridge to Ilha de Mocambique. At some time during the transition Nat had forgotten that she’d stuffed her boots under the seat. I was given the unenviable responsibility of reminding Nat not to forget her boots. I forgot. Apparently that makes me even more liable than her. Luis (proprietor of the imaginatively named “Casa Luis” Guest house) knew the manager of the bus line and called to see if the boots were still on the bus. When the message came through that they were not we instantly assumed that they either hadn’t looked in the right place or worse that one of the staff had found them and decided to mind them for us, indefinitely. The ramifications started to sink in. No Boots = no Kilimanjaro. We hitched and walked back to the bus station and asked if we could search the bus. We didn’t find them and after harassing the staff some more we gave up. Having something stolen has an instant effect. We found ourselves distrusting everyone, the rose glasses we had been looking through had been cracked and muddied. We formulated a very average plan B and headed back to Ilha for lunch.
Half way through lunch Luis popped his head into the restaurant looking for us. He mumbled something about boots… thief… now… We didn’t really know what was going on but we jumped in the back of his ute and headed back to the bus station. As we pulled into the station we were greeted by a group of 30 or so angry looking guys (most of whom were wearing kofias). At first I didn’t get it but then I saw the guy who had been sitting behind us on the bus, the front of his now ripped T-shirt covered in blood. His clothes were shredded and his face was bleeding in quite a few places. Sitting next to him were the boots. It looked like the damage had been done a while ago. He had been kept at the station for our benefit. We didn’t really know what to do. Was I supposed to slap him or abuse him further or thank the punishers??? I was tempted to take a photo but it looked like the thief had been humiliated enough. We grabbed the boots jumped back in the ute and got out of there as quickly as we could.
After all the commotion a relaxing arvo strolling around the island was in order. Ilha de Mozambique is one of a string of East African islands, all of which have had a very similar past. Fishing hubs for thousands of years, settled by Arabs as spice trading points, invaded by the colonies and used as administrative posts and finally turned into tourist meccas. The most famous of these islands is Zanzibar which has been a tourist mecca for years and years. Ilha is so close yet so far being an Indian ocean paradise. It’s got plenty of crumbling colonial buildings, a big fort, a touch of Islamic architecture, swaying palm trees and it’s surrounded by beautiful reefs and turquoise water. We stayed for a few days and in the whole time we were there we saw 8 other people that could have possibly been tourists. Beautiful island, hardly any tourists, what’s not to like! Nothing spoils an island more than poo and rubbish on the beach. There are twenty or 30 little coves all round the island and all but one of them are used for dumping of rubbish and dumping of dumps. We were tempted to swim, especially considering the temp was above 30 and the humidity was out of control, but the risk of running into a battle ship was too great. It really is a shame but we enjoyed our few days there all the same.
We headed north to Pemba for some chill out time. We really did chill out and as a result we don’t have anything exciting to tell you. We basically went into town a bit, swam a bit (no battle ships in Pemba) and read a whole heap. We had planned to travel overland into Tanzania but we met some girls who had just done the reverse trip and their tales of woe were enough to deter us. We decided to stay a little longer in Pemba and fly to our next stop, Zanzibar.
Rule 8: If this is your first night at Fight Club, you have to fight.
Lots of Love,
Nat and Ev