Grapes from Thorns

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Going home

I've thought of a way to end this section of my blog, the trip to Africa. I guess this will have to do. I have more photos but I think I have overall recorded the trip adequately. It was wonderful, filled with great people and places. Heather and Nuno were absolutely fabulous hosts and really made it all possible.

At top, I'm about to board the South African Airlines plane from Maputo to Johannesburg. Then, while I was in a bar-restaurant at the Jo-burg airport I saw this sign about currency that could only be posted at a very international location. At bottom, is a photo I took of the scene in Cincinnati at the airport. Snow on the ground. Back to reality :) At bottom, is my cat Riley who was happy to have me home and promptly camped out on my suitcase.

More streets of Maputo

At top is a scene I snapped of these three women who had been out shopping and were on their way home. There has to be a great deal of skill involved in carrying burdens like this. Then there is Bazzy and me at the big market in the center of the city. And finally is Heather haggling with some of the many, many street merchants.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Playing with guns

Old Fort

This old Portuguese fortress is the oldest building in Maputo. Showing the sharing of African and Portuguese history, the body of one of the first African leaders is housed here in a finely crafted coffin. Meanwhile, in the courtyard is an equistrian statue of one of the Portuguese military officers who led the conquest of what is today Mozambique. The fort was actually originally built in 1720 by the Dutch East India Company but soon after was abandoned and the Portuguese began to exert control in the area.
At top, Heather poses at the entrance. The coffin of the African leader. Then, the statue of the Portuguese conqueror. Finally, a view along the wall.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Diverse Maputo

Maputo is a place that serves a diversity of interests. At top, these mini-buses are Maputo's bus system. They are everywhere and often look quite battered. Shortly before I arrived, the price to ride the bus was increased. The result were riots. On the way into town, I saw a few burned out vehicles that were remnants of those disturbances. Next is an old bull fighting ring. Then a Hindu temple and finally a big Islamic mosque.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Moonrise, streets, faces

Lots of memories will stick with me from my trip to Africa. At top, a moonrise over the Indian Ocean. Next, the historically-named streets of Maputo that now ring with a touch of irony. And the faces of many people, here Bazzy and the babysitter, Bettina, who was a charming person and devoted to Bazzy.

Streets of History

One can see both the remnants of Mozambique's revolutionary and cold war era in the street signs in Maputo. I especially enjoyed seeing the corner of Ho Chi Minh and Karl Marx. It might be better if Maputo's streets were named after people important in their local history. Of course, that might open interpretation of Mozambique's history and, as Americans know, that can dredge up a lot of skeletons. Perhaps it is best to let sleeping dogs sleep.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Gunfight in Maputo

The day I arrived in Maputo, there was a gunfight downtown at a local bank. Apparently the well-armed police had heard that some men were going to rob the bank. So, the local gendarmes waited for them and when the would-be robbers arrived and stepped out of their car, the cops gunned them down.

The next day, this was the front page of the local paper. These guys don't mess around. Shoot first and ask questions later. Hope they got the right guys.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Touring Maputo

One day in Maputo, Heather and I and one of her great neighbors went out to do a little shopping. Me in the company of two lovely ladies. Our first stop was a the French Cultural Center which is right across from the city's interesting Catholic cathedral at top. The Franco-Mozambique center has a place where you can shop for Parisian fashions and a cafe and museum with some great local art on display. Nice place and even an armed guard who smiled and said "Bonjour!" Next we have Heather andd I at Mozambique's Museum of Geology. Lots of great rocks. The guy managing the place and I tried to talk to each other in English pretty unsuccessfully. But then, after learning I was a professor at UC, he said he had attended college in Germany. Then we began to talk, just a little, in German! It is a interesting world. We both enjoyed the oddness of it. At bottom, Heather and her friend are in front of the Iron Building, a house built at the turn of the century entirely out of iron. It will probably last forever but is apparently way to too hot to live in in the summer. Turns out a lot of Mozambiquans spent time in communist countries during the cold war and that is likely how our museum guide got his education in Deutschland.