2am and we were awake having managed to get a good few hours of sleep. The security guard walked us down to the bus station along with two other guests Yaser and Zafrana (most recently from Kings Lynn), which was nice as they helped carry some of our bags. We don't mind carrying the panniers for a few metres but they are certainly not designed to be carried long distance. The bus station was quite a distance and by the time we got there are arms were being pulled out of their sockets. We didn't really need the rather predictable statement from the bus crew, that we had too many bags and would have to pay more. Fortunately we stressed yesterday that we had two bikes and ten bags and had had a ticket written out for bikes and luggage. There was no way we were paying more than the steep amount that we had already parted with. Holding our ground we carried the bags round to the locker where the bikes had been placed and with the help of one of the friendlier crew members got our gear loaded. There was no further mention of extra money so we went to claim our seats, which obviously had someone sitting in them. The crew were quickly on the case, the seat thieves were relocated to their correct position and we were under way.
We have been on some pretty unpleasant bus journeys, but this one had to have been one of the worst. The double seat that we had wasn't wide enough for two people, the air conditioning was set to Siberian wind and the music was so ridiculously loud that resting was out of the question. With the arrival of morning bizarrely came silence from the stereo and a cessation of the freezing air conditioning. Obviously now that everyone was awake and the sun was nicely cooking the passengers, there was no need for music and air conditioning!
Eventually after 10 hours we arrived in Maxixe with one numb buttock (that's all the contact I had with the seat), bleeding ears and on a brighter note, two undamaged bicycles.
Leaving one form of transport behind we boarded another. The passenger ferry that would take us over to Inhambane was rather smaller than we had expected. Getting our bikes on board was a rather worrying prospect as the front cargo area was full. For a fee and at the insistence of the crew our bikes were lifted, bags and all, over the rear railings and wedged into place. Getting them on was one thing, getting them off the other end was going to be another. Twenty minutes later and we arrived in Inhambane, where it was a case of closing our eyes as the bikes were manhandled onto the jetty. Despite some less than careful handling, including trying to carry the whole bikes weight using one of the panniers, and my saddle bag becoming detached and floating away (rescued by some quick work by a helper), we got them safely on dry land.
From the jetty it was a short walk to our stop for the night, 'Pensao Pachica'. The guest-house had been recommended by Debbie's friend Steph who lives in South Africa. It is owned by her friend Dennis, so we had been told to look him up when we got down to the coast. Mainly though, all we wanted to do was get settled, have a shower and put the long journey to get here behind us.
Having dumped our gear and selected a couple of dorm beds we had some food and a walk into what appears to be a very nice little town. If our first impressions of Southern Mozambique are anything to go by, it looks like we are going to enjoy the rest of our time here. We will be spending a day to look round the town and then head to the coast the day after. But for now, it is time to put an end to a very long day.