Maputo in May, again

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Six months is probably not a long time to expect and run into major changes in most countries. Mozambique is, of course, no exception. Maputo is still an intriguing city with its beautiful geographical surroundings and coastline that hosts the grayish Indian Ocean. Unlike New York City, time in Maputo is less expensive and much more patient and considerate; it even stops sometimes to check us out and remind us of local history.

For reasons I did not quite understand, I spent my two nights in Maputo in two different hotels. One a good 3 star which offered a room almost the size of the upscale cubicle that some call �my office� in NYC; the other a guesthouse in a beautiful four-story house near the UNDP office. Neither offered Internet access from the room.

I thought I was going to be off line for the duration, getting the email chills for a couple of days � and nights. That lasted until I decided that change does happen in the short run and SITA had wised up and finally set up an access point in the country. I was proved right � to my own surprise, I must admit. Desperation leads to discovery. Sometimes, I guess. But nothing is perfect. The best one can get is only 9,600 kbps -which reminded me of the early 1990s when connecting say SDNP Pakistan at that speed required advanced technical skills and was motive for celebration across continents.

Since I use both text and GUI based email clients, I had no problems checking my email, replying to the urgent ones and filing the relevant stuff in my now huge 10-year-old email archive. But using the Web is a no-no, as is trying to view those infamous attachments that most people love to send us in proprietary and high cholesterol formats.

We briefly attended the official launching of the Mozambican Development Gateway. We saw quite a few Gateway staff wearing MZDG t-shirts, asking us to fill in fancy registrations forms and giving us a few gateway souvenirs. The MZDG is a bit controversial here as apparently there is no transparency in regards to the funding provided by the WB.

Not that I am uncovering any new ground here.

Ra�l