04 April 2007

White Hair & Other Distractions

I noticed yesterday in the mirror that my patch of white hair is returning. The patch sits a little to the left of center at my hairline. Over the past 10 years it has appeared and disappeared depending on my stress level. It appeared before my comps and then started to fade before returning for my prospectus. Well now it is back. I suppose I should get used to it because I'm not getting any younger. The best I can hope for is that the winter sun will bleach the rest of my hair semi-blonde and it won't be so noticeable. Ha! Ha! Ha! I suppose it could always be worse. I could be going bald.

Whenever I start to freak about something that isn't worth freaking out about, I try to find a good distraction. So here are some photos of Maputo.

Avenida Karl Marx - looking north from the Baixa (waterfront and old town)

Mercado Central - located on Avenida 25 de Setembro in the Baixa. You can buy just about anything here and there is a section just for handicrafts (although the Saturday market is better). I love how the salespeople try to sell me ivory bracelets and entire sea turtle shells. I tell them that I would be arrested if I ever brought it home when they try to play on my sympathy to support a poor country. The fact is that it really grosses me out - dead animals just don't do it for me. No matter how many times and ways I try to tell them that these animals are rare and endangered and therefore illegal to transport across national borders (esp. to the US) they just look at me incredulously. Other buyers from western countries must be either uniformed, uncaring, or both.

This train station was build in 1910 and designed by Alexandre Gustav Eiffel (as in the Eiffel Tower guy). There is also an iron house here that was designed by him. He never set foot in Mozambique though. If he did, he would have known that building an all iron house (walls, roof, etc) was not a good idea for the tropics. Unless, of course, you want to cook the residents in a giant easy-bake oven.

Parasailing on the bay on a windy day.

Jumma Masjid, on Rua da Mesquita, is Maputo's oldest mosque. I think it dates from the late 1700s or early 1800s but I am not 100% sure. The Saudis have put a lot of money into restoring this mosque to its former beauty. I saw it back in 2004 when they started the reconstruction - peeling paint, dirty walls, crumbling. You could see the original beauty and only despair at the state of disrepair it had fallen into. I'd love to see the inside, but I haven't visited when anyone was around and I would hate to be disrespectful by entering uninvited.

I only wish that similar efforts would go into restoring many of the old buildings in the surrounding neighborhood. The Baixa is the original port town of Lourenço Marques that grew into Maputo. The colonial architecture remains in much of this part of the city and it could be a huge tourism draw.

Some of the doors on the front of the Jumma Masjid open into small stores and restaurants. These were locked up, so I'm not sure if they've been rented out or are used by the Jumma community for something else.

This is the sign for one of my favorite shops. It is a capulana shop - stacked floor to ceiling with in a multitude of colors. The shop is located directly across the street from Mercado Central and is in an old building. I haven't had the opportunity yet to ask if the name indicates a past use of the building (ivory sorting and storage) or was named this because the owners are of Indian ancestry.

No comments:

Post a Comment