Thursday 31 January 2013

Mission Visa - Ending Phase

Swaziland countryside
Thursday, the third day on the road, and the second out of Mozambique, I woke up a little dispirited in my hotel room. The whole day I thought it was Wednesday, so I didn't think about telling VĂ©ronique I was having troubles to get back into Mozambique. I wasn't hungry so I dressed and left for the bus station without breakfast. I found a bus for Mbabane quickly, and we drove off quickly as well. The ride cost me R 15 and about 30 minutes in time. I jumped out of the bus a little before the city center after having asked where the Mozambican embassy was. It actually was located on a hill in the outskirts of the city to where I walked back. I was there quite early, and a few other persons as well. We all waited until the embassy opened at 9:00. When it finally did open, the official quickly took care of me, but said he was sorry he couldn't help me out that day because they were waiting for visa stickers from Maputo. I should come back on Monday. I later learned that Sunday the 3rd was to be a holiday in Mozambique and that the embassy would most likely be closed the next Monday, like the one in Nelspruit.

Wednesday 30 January 2013

Mission Visa - Phase Three

I stamped in into South Africa which was quite easy as I remembered from two years ago. The only funny thing, is that at every border crossing, the officials always ask what my car registration number was. Why would a white guy come here without a car. Once on the other side I found an ATM at the petrol station to which I walked from the border post. There was a small supermarket as well (and plenty of other stores) from which I promptly bought a few things. After 5 months spent in Mozambique, it felt absolutely wonderful to be in a proper supermarket with “modern” products. The only supermarket in Inhambane is a chinese held store which has a lot of cheap chinese crap.

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Mission Visa - Phase Two

So I almost had my passport back. The missing part was a visa. I bought a mts 700 ticket at Fatima's for the bus to Maputo, which would be leaving the next morning at 4:00. At 3:30 I was up and running and waiting for the bus at Fatima's. It got there about 45 minutes later. The drive to Maputo was uneventful but long and slow. It's not a particular Fatima's bus like I thought it would be. It's an express bus from Inhambane to Maputo, meaning it wouldn't stop as much as a small chapa. At first there were only two mulungu (white) girls. But then it gradually filled up with local people whenever we stopped to pick some up on the way out of here. We drove past Inharrime which I remember from our trip to Muguambe with Black Jack and Martin. At some point I bought a refreshment, which should have cost mts 25, with the smallest bill I had – a mts 100 note. Another lady bought one with a mts 50 banknote. The kid who sold the drinks ran off to some other people to get some change, but while he was busy getting change, the bus drove off. That was some quite expensive drinks.

Monday 28 January 2013

Mission Visa - Phase One

By that time I had finally finished my dive master course and had planned to go down to Maputo to announce that my passport was lost or stolen. Lack of luck or good luck, the road in Xai-Xai had been washed away by the floods, meaning there was no land transport to Maputo for a while. Flying without passport was out of the question. Instead I called the embassy on Monday morning. The call brought me one step closer to depression. They told me they could issue a new passport, which would take two weeks to get here, but that the visa would be handled by the local authorities. I told her about Abdul and the whole situation I was in (being two months late as well). She said they would be calling Abdul, which they did, and gave him until noon to hand them my passport over. Otherwise, I would have to sort out my visa problems myself and would probably have to pay a substantive fine of mts 1'500 per overdue day (about CHF 30.-). This would get expensive if I had to pay the whole amount for two months overdue.

Mission Visa - Introduction

When I got here I met this guy called Abdul. He's a friendly type and seemd to be involved in quite a few local projects. His neat rasta haircut is well kept and he looks very decent in all aspects. Some time later I learned that he helps people out with their visa situation.

The visa system for tourists is so that you can get a single entry 30 days visa which you then can extend, or a 90 days multiple entry visa. Arriving here, I had to replace my 90 days multiple entry visa made in Geneva by a new single entry visa because they said it had been falsified (someone had really scratched a number and I suspect it's the Mozambican embassy in Geneva in trying to correct their mistake). With the multiple entry visa you can only stay 30 days at a time in the country, and then you have to leave and get back in again. With the single entry visa, you can go to the immigration office to extend it. But this only works twice. After that you have to go out of the country. If you use this method you will have more difficulty in getting a new visa at the border, and may have to go to a Mozambican embassy in one of the neighbouring countries.