What a day! We knew something was happening in Maputo as the Avenida Marginal has been shut for days now. It turns out it was a huge music festival on the beachfront. I have never seen so many people, absolutely mental, even Monsters of Rock wasn’t this packed.
We decided to leave the madding crowds and head to a quiet hotel overlooking the city for a drink. The trouble started on the way home, we have to get to Costa do Sol which is effectively a deadend and there is only one way to get there. The road was completely jammed, cars all over the place. Most of the traffic problems being caused by idiots steaming down the road on the wrong side or on the pavement and not being able to get back in the queue preventing anyone from moving at all. It was starting to get dark, we’d been in the queue for about 1.5 hours now and there were a lot of drunken people around. A fight broke out next to the car as we were moving slowly downhill and a guy was thrown against the front nearside of the car and I ran him over, when I say ran him over I may have run over his foot. I wasn’t stopping to find out. We moved a few yards further, no one came after us so we basically forgot about it.
About half an hour later an injured man on the back of another with a crowd of men started banging on the car, it was getting quite ugly, they were shouting and hitting the car. Luckily a police officer was nearby and came over and asked for my driving licence which he took away. He came back and said I should talk to these men – like I was going to get out of my car into an ugly crowd! Some police troopers were drafted in and it was decided we had to take this man to hospital but he would travel with his mates in the back of the police pickup and we would follow. So after spending 2 hours getting down the road we had to follow the police back up the road to the hospital. A really nice man who could speak English translated all these instructions to us, he was really kind and he was a big help.
A police escort through Maputo at night! At the hospital the police there took over, I had to pay 100 MTn (£2) so the injured guy could be admitted to hospital. The injured guy who we had followed as he laughed and danced in the back of the police pickup. The injured guy who leapt from the back of the pickup at the hospital and then remembered to limp!!
I was told to wait (I was taken away from my colleagues they were not allowed to follow). We had to wait for the doctors verdict and I couldn’t get my driving licence back until they were happy. About an hour later I was told he had no injuries but needed money to get home and I would have to pay the policeman to get my licence back. Now the scary part – I was lead into a dark corner by the police and made to hand over money (450Mtn, about £9) for the bus fare and to get my licence. I wasn’t going to argue with a policeman with an assault rifle in a dark alley!! He told me to go quick, so I did.
Woah, what an adrenaline rush though. Don’t think I’ve ever had such an endorphine high.
So an exciting day, quite scary at times and could have got very ugly on a couple of occasions. But a couple of really nice locals helped us out and it all worked out OK in the end!