Monday, July 14, 2003

Had a great Sunday today, ate porridge on the verandah in the Sun and took some panorama photos with my camera. Hopefully these should now be on the website - sorry if I caused a mass stampede of undue excitement the other day when I announced there were some photos there - I screwed it up and they never appeared.

The regular flow of unexpected visitors to the flat continued. Today one was a Mozambican woman, looking very run-down but who was very switched on and spoke English pretty well too, who wanted money for an operation. She showed me a horrendous looking oozing lump on her stomach which she said was the result of poor hygiene at the hospital when she had had a previous operation. This had led to the operation wound failing to heal up etc. She needed 2.6mn Meticais (about USD110) to pay for another operation to get it sorted out. Her story didn´t quite add up as if it had really been caused by an operation wouldn´t she have been laid low with blood poisoning or gangrene or something pretty nasty? Plus, even in Mozambique, I couldn´t believe that you could get an operation for 100 bucks.

Still, unless she was a Hollywood makeup artist on the side, the lump looked real enough so I gave her some money.

Later on, as the sun was beginning to climb down from the sky and the trees which line all the streets here lengthened their shadows over the pavement, I went for a run for the first time. First along Friedrich Engels, a quiet boulevard overlooking the shore, then down onto the Litoral highway as it winds past the swanky hotels. Up through the rich residences (bigwigs and expats) to the Northeast of the centre, along streets lined with guards chatting to each other, with the occasional monster Alsatian barking at me through a steel grille. Here everyone parks their cars on the street so they have to have guards there - perhaps three to a house, a whole separate world. Sometimes my progress interrupted a conversation between two speakers twenty feet apart, one on each side of the road. I can now say hello in Shangaan which got some smiles.

Then back to the south-east, zigzagging through the mainly black middle middle-class areas - here there are less guards, and children play on the pavement. A few stares at a Mulungu (white person) running but everyone is very chilled out here.

Finally back down across the ´East Asian leaders´ streets (Mao Tse Tung, Kim Il Sung - I must work out some time if they have actually grouped the names according to the real geography of the world) and back along the ever-busy 24 de Julho with its shops and apartments.

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