Instead of having you suffer through another bus ride like we did, the above video is of Vilanculos- once we got there…
We rolled up to the bus by one in the morning, by the time we figured out our seats, I was once again in the middle of Andrew and a Mozambican woman, this time with an adorable two year old (I’m guessing) on her lap. He had big eyes and was incredibly intrigued by my presence next to him. Whenever I wasn’t looking, his little fingers would dance across my arm. As soon as I would look down to him, even with a big smile, he would withdraw his hand, but continue looking up at me with big eyes, wondering what I was going to do next. As I couldn’t exactly move, I didn’t do much, except sometimes tickle him, which didn’t seem to phase him.
After 14 hours, they got off the bus and I got excited to share our seat with one other person, instead of two. I should have known better. A young man made his way through with a backpack three times the size of the two year old who had just left. My heart sank. By hour 18 – and no, I’m not even exaggerating – I was beyond uncomfortable. Sitting in an upright seat, with zero legroom, and maybe two bathroom breaks the entire journey puts economy seating on American Airlines into perspective.
By hour 19 – we were dropped off. It was in the middle of nowhere. We had specifically asked, even had the lady at the hostel write in Portuguese, “Will we get dropped off IN Vilanculos?” for us. They told us, “Yes. Vilanculos.” But, no. This was not Vilanculos. Instead, it was a dirt four way intersection. No lights. No waiting taxis. No cars whatsoever. Twenty minutes away from Vilanculos.
“Bus at four!” One of the men said as he retrieved our bags for us. He pointed to the opposite side of the road and told us to wait for cars. It was roughly nine in the evening. Four in the morning was seven hours away.
We started making our way to the road we needed to go down, thinking we were on the right side of the road. Three cars turned off and headed towards where we wanted to go. Andrew ran after them, trying to flay them down in the dark. It didn’t work. We went to the opposite side of the road and waited some more. And then some drunk shadows seemed to appear out of nowhere and I got nervous. So nervous, I turned off our flashlight as to not draw attention to myself being a woman. So nervous, I held onto my Nalgene just in case I would need to use it to hit someone in the head with. I figured I could take at least one skinny drunk man down if I had to. I glanced down and saw Andrew had his keys in hand and had put the can of bug spray in his pocket. I smiled. Not a bad idea, I thought!
The drunk men stood across the road from us for awhile, tried chasing down a car, and then seemed to give up on the idea of getting to Vilanculos that night. They argued about which way to go, and then slunk back to where they came from.
Andrew and I made our way under a streetlight down the street, hoping that a car passing by would see that we weren’t from here and we weren’t drunk. This didn’t work. But, it did attract the attention of a kind young mother with a baby tied to her back. She came up to us and in Portugese, told us what time the bus was coming and motioned to her house along the road to sleep in until then. While I was overwhelmed by her kindness, Andrew wasn’t keen on sleeping on a dirt floor for seven hours after our latest nineteen hour bus adventure.
We asked if she had a phone and assured her that we would pay for the time we used. She obliged and we called the hostel and had a car come. An extraordinarily overpriced car came to pick us up and we were whisked away from the dark dirt intersection towards the beach. We grabbed some bottles of water, went directly to our bunk-beds, and crashed.