My first panic attack happens on Day 9 of the great adventure of 2013. I’m in Maputo. I arrived the previous evening from Johannesburg, via the Intercape bus.
I’m in Maputo and my bankcard won’t work. I’m not sure why. It was working earlier that morning. Now? The error message on the ATM screen simply reads: “Your time limit has been exceeded.” What does that mean? Has my bank cancelled my card? Surely they’d call BEFORE cancelling my card?
I try not to panic. I fail miserably at NOT PANICKING. I tell everyone on Twitter that my bankcard isn’t working and OMG it won’t be long before I’m scavenging through dustbins in order to sustain myself in Mozambique. I curse myself for tipping the waitress so generously. WHY? I tell myself that I’ll be fine ONCE I meet up with Cazz and Cougar in Vilanculos. But until then I can’t spend anymore money. I have no idea how much a taxi will cost from the bus stop in Vilanculos to my backpackers. So I forgo supper, which isn’t an easy task considering that I only had fresh pineapple juice and lemon ice-cream for lunch. Stupid, frivolous me! And I tell myself, that if worst comes worst, I can ask my father to book an immediately flight out of Mozambique. God, let it not come to that.
I will later learn that:
- My bankcard only works at a Barclays ATM.
- That a taxi from Pambara (the bus stop at Vilanculos) to my backpackers (a distance of 20km) will set me back MTn1000. (That’s almost R400.)
In a few days time, I will be ticking ONE item from my bucket/life list. While the rest of you are office bound and lamenting the horrendous Cape Town weather, I will be traipsing along the Mozambican coast.
But before I jet off to the land of prawns, coconuts and coral reefs; I will be going to the Eastern Cape (for work). I will then head to Durban for 5 days. There I will gorge myself on bunny chows, surf in the warm Indian Ocean and explore uShaka Marine Park. Oh, and I’ll also be supporting my dad, who will be running his third Comrades Ultra-Marathon.
He has yet to complete the Comrades within the cut-off (he’s missed it by minutes) and I hope that by running the last 10km with him, he’ll find the strength to complete this momentous task. I also hope that one day I too will find the strength to run the entire 87km.
From Durban it’s just a “short” bus ride to Johannesburg and Maputo. (It’s an 8 hour bus ride from Durban to Joburg. And another 8 hours ride from Joburg to Maputo. Oh the fun I’ll have.)
From Maputo, I’ll head over to Vilanculos, where I’ll be joined by one of my dearest friends, Cazz. As yet we don’t have any set plans (other than to have fun), so if you have any tips or suggestions, please head on over to the comment section.
Every year my institution hires a couple of interns, as part of the Human Capacity Building programme. Some of these interns have impressed us with their uber-productivity and have gone on to become permanent staff members. Others have frustrated us beyond belief.
The following interaction occurred a few months ago.
Intern: Hey. How are you doing?
Slightly confused as to why an intern would be interested in my wellbeing, “I’m good …”
Intern: Great. I’m looking for the printer. The one that prints and copies.
Me: Thus distinguishing it from other printers.
Intern: Excuse me? I was at the printer earlier today and forgot my diary there.
Realising that the intern hadn’t sent a document to the printer using his PC, as I’d first assumed, I figured that he’d probably be able to describe the location of the printer. I was sorely mistaken.
Me: Do you remember where this printer was? Whose office it was close to?
“In the corridor,” he said with finality.
My office building has three floors and a multitude of corridors. Trying my best to retain my composure and failing horribly, I tried to extract more clues from him. “Which corridor?”
With a roll of the eyes to illustrate exactly how laborious and dim he found ME, he said, “In the building.”
This, my friends, is who we have hired to assist us with our maps and spatial data*. God help us all.
* I once told a guy that I work with spatial data.
Guy: Oh cool. You work with space rocks.
I thought this was adorable.