The road to Tofo was uneventful and again slightly disappointing. Where were the bad roads that Mozambique was notorious for? In order to spice things up we were forced to take a short-cut to Tofo on a road listed as 4×4 only that Matt and Marcia found on Tracks 4 Africa but even that proved to be a piece of cake for old Bertus.
When we drove to one of the backpackers we thought that Bertus might have met his match as the road leading to the building was adjacent to the very sandy beach making the sand loose and thick. Despite this we cruised right through it and arrived at the Pariango Backpackers like a boss (in our minds).
Before committing Marcia and I went to inspect the bathrooms. It was not the best but also not the worst we have seen and with our approval stamp officially on Pariango we told the guys to pull up and set up camp in the sand.
Tofo has a very chilled out atmosphere mixed with just the right amount of a party-vibe that made us soon realize that our intended 3 night stay will be much longer. We however seemed to have followed the rain from Bilene but even the slightly overcast weather that rained on our parade every now and then could not affect the perfection of Tofo.
To be totally honest, I am somewhat ashamed of how little we did at Tofo – not due to lack of appealing activities, but mainly due the fact that we were more than content with just lying on the beach, going for short walks and swimming. Tofo has a laid back vibe that seems to engulf you the moment you arrive making it very difficult to leave. In our 8 days on there we easily fell into an easy rhythm of waking up at 7:30-ish, strolling over to the local market to negotiate the price for our breakfast and lunch ingredients, briskly walking back to avoid the 10 people who want to sell you bracelets, and then preparing for a day on the beach.
We soon became well acquainted with the locals who try to constantly sell you something (despite the fact that you might have bought something from them the day before or told them that you are not interested in their perverted wooden monkey carving) and became especially fond of little Fernando – a very determined young boy with a great future in politics ahead of him. Our conversations, without fail, would go like this:
Fernando (F): Do you want to buy some bracelets
Me (M): No thanks, look how many I have
F: I give you special price
M: No, thank you
F: Later then?
M: No, not now and not later
F: Okay, I see you later!
I would walk away knowing full well that I will see him later. ‘Later’ could vary between 5 minutes and 2 hours and depending on the time of day ‘later’ would inevitably become tomorrow. This happened every, single, day. Sometimes the bracelets would be coconuts but the dialogue will stay the same.
Clayton had his own well rehearsed scene with Alfredo who was determined to sell him some pants. The pants however were always just a little bit too short or a little bit too big around the waist. This was however not a problem for Alfredo who will come back the next day with slightly longer and slightly smaller pants. Unfortunately they just never fit well enough to spend R300 on and in the end the purchase was never made. Why measurements weren’t taken is beyond me but I was not about to get involved since I had my own battles to fight.
You can buy anything at the market. It reminds me of a shopping mall where you get all the clothing stores in one sections, the food court (consisting out of restaurants and take-aways) somewhere in the middle and smaller curio shops scattered around. The grocery, fishmonger and liquor stores were at one end with easy access and the bars lined the outskirts where you can see the view. A perfect tenant mix.
My girl Veronica was our go to person for fresh fruit, veggies and bread. Once she claimed us (we did not have a choice in the matter and I was slightly scared of her) the other guys seemed to back down just a bit, only approaching us when her back is turned. The strict instructions from our Doctor (if you cannot fry it, boil it or peel it, DO NOT EAT IT) was conveniently forgotten.
We also soon found the cheapest stall for liquor and cold drinks. The variety they have at their stall next to the road will put some stores in South Africa to shame. They had a very good wine selection that was beyond expensive, a variety of vodkas, whiskey and brandy, beer (local and South African), ciders and shooters ranging from Jagermeister, Chili Choc Tequila and Lavoka. Our stand had the best price for Tipi Tinto Rum, the key ingredient for the local Rum and Raspberry (R&R) – it was a steal at only Mt250 per bottle and we did not even have to negotiate her down to that price.