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.