Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Patrice Lumumba

I was just hit with a gut-wrenching pang of saudades for Maputo after looking at this blog post on Avenida Patrice Lumumba by Brandie at Out and About Africa. I remember that street so well, flanked with dingy modernist apartment blocks, acacias and jacarandas, and a sidewalk that had certainly seen better days. I used to walk on Patrice Lumumba to go from our flat to the Centro Cultural Franco Moçambicano, one of the better spots in Maputo to see local and international art exhibitions and films, not to mention weekend parties with live music.

Something about seeing Brandie's photo made me miss being there so much. When I think about Mozambique in general, big-picture terms I don't have such nostalgia, it's pretty easy to consider it a well-lived chapter in my past and remember the exciting new road I'm on here in California.

But when I think about the specifics - the roundabout where Hotel Cardoso is located at the beginning of Av. Patrice Lumumba (and what was that other street called, the one with what used to be Vila Itália and then became Tapas restaurant - the Austrian ambassador's residence is on the corner, and if you walk a bit further you get to the snack bar called A Francesinha...this is driving me crazy, as Rico and I lived for a month on that street in our banana client's empty flat...the picture in my mind is *so clear* yet I can't for the life of me think of the street name!) - the little Indian grocery on Av. 24 de Julho and Av. Mártires da Machava where the owners used to live in Dallas Ft. Worth and drove a Buick they'd imported back into Mozambique (I can still see the layout of the closely-spaced shelves in my head, full of Black Cat peanut butter and Ceres juices and Salticrax crackers and feta cheese from Clover).

It's these little vignettes of daily life that really hit me, and for a brief moment I'd give anything to go back.


Mbini said...

Thanks for sharing. I love the photos too.
I feel sad already about leaving. We have 11 months left. Just when I started falling deeply inlove with Maputo, 4 years is gone. Cant believe it still. Hope you are great.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ali,

the road of Villa Italia, Now CIAO Ristorante Italiano, and Francesinha, now SHAMWARI is AV. Sansao Muthemba...i must say that specific MUSEU area up to eduardo mondlane is the best!!! so convenient to live in this area, and yes prices are up up up for rent. We have to hold on to our apts! so much demand, so little new spaces...but also so many buildings going up...just at the up the street from "francesinha" there are two high rises going up (2 homes were demolished) and in fornt of clube dos empresarios will be a massive high rise called vila olimpica as it really is out with the old (colonial run down homes with character as you well said) and in with the new, strange architecturally conceived buildings that sell 3 bedroom apts at ~600k USD like it was the best deal eva!

Anonymous said...

and by the way...Vila Algarve still standing, no change there...everytime i pass by i wonder when will be the day they just demolish it...but i am happy it is still standing...regardless of its history.or maybe because of it.
street parking is now a nightmare in this city...and we will soon be paying parking meters or attendants even below our buildings (some areas).
i also checked the photos of patrice lumumba on that blog, but the 3 posted are not of mozambique's patrice lumumba or am i wrong