Il Faut des Rites


Il faut, indeed. Saint-Exupéry wrote it and I fully live it or at least I try. Though a bit late to be heard by Marracuene spirits, now all drunken and confused after the commemorations of their past braveries, we finally toasted to summer 2009.


These are my notes under the date 10-02-09: 1) I wonder if today I inaugurated a series of events I might one day call “Sunsets and Champagne in Macaneta”? 2) I wonder for how long an average tourist can take the coexistence with business as usual and heavy machinery? 3) I wonder what an average tourist has to say about these roads, but he surely pray for car or driver not to quit before arriving to the intended paradisiacal destination. 4) I wonder why only cows and not tourists seem to grow in number. 5) I wonder if Macaneta camping is now a war zone due to the muddy cars parked there. 6) I wonder how many people might use champagne as a sun lotion? 7) I wonder how many people need the sea to keep their hearts beating? 8) I wonder how many people are able to catch butterflies with their naked hands – and release them unharmed, of course? 9) I wonder how many people keep photographing places where they would like to build a house?


This is the diary entry of a red skin Macaneta tourist under the same date:


Macaneta Lodge, Mozambique
It happened on the stretch of beach extending to the left of the lodge where our party stayed. I was unaware then of the effects of the sun on my skin, but that same night and the next morning it was like hell. I remember feeling tempted by the idea of a swim when I saw a couple coming from a nearby hill. He was wearing white board-shorts and she was in blue.


They seemed familiar with the place. She kept photographing around an area where two large casuarinas trees stood tall, while he reached a fishing canoe over which he placed a seemingly light straw basket. That basket and the camera were the only objects they carried.


Convinced of my first impression, I approached and asked something like: “Have you been here before? How safe is swimming around here?”


“Not very safe,” one of them told. “It’s very deep and currents are too strong. Unless you are a trained swimmer, I wouldn’t recommend it.”


So I sat not far from the couple and watched how they seemed to enjoy a sandy foam bath, the kind we usually see children taking before learning how to swim. Right after they returned to the canoe and I heard the unmistakable pop of a champagne bottle. I couldn’t avoid discreetly looking while he purred half of the content of the bottle over the sand and they slowly sipped the other half. I do believe she could have used part of the liquid inside her conventional flute as a lotion. I never heard of champagne used as sun lotion, but then why not? (I have to confirm whether champagne is good for red skin sufferers or not. It could be a relief for me when I forget my SPF at home.)


They quietly finished the bottle sitting on the fisherman boat and left as smoothly as they had emerged from the dune. It took them less than an hour for all that. The episode seemed to me quite unexpected in such a remote corner of the world.


Meanwhile I was burning my redness even redder and considering following their example in terms of swimming possibilities. Comparing with what that couple managed to do in less than an hour, I might be getting a little slow.