We arrived in Xai Xai, one of Southern Mozambiques major commercial centres around mid afternoon. It was not what we expected. We drove through town, grass hut stalls lined the road on either side, people were wandering everywhere, animals were wandering everywhere. Olds, cars and vans were parked here and there, it was noisy dusty, it sure was Africa, but where was the town? But for a couple of blocks of run-down, dilapidated concrete buildings, the whole place was just a mess of grass huts, corregated iron and whatever other bits of scrap people could find. Surely the main town was tucked away somewhere? Surely this wasn't it?……………….but this was Xai Xai. Choosing not to stop, but for a brief stint to stock up at the service station we continued on through. We had planned not to stay in the town itself but on the beach instead and had been given some loose directions to a campsite from a Saffa we'd met on our travels. We'd made it to the beach, but not too far along before we heard the call of "prawns" from a local trying to sell us some of Mozambiques finest seafood. Some quick negotiation and we had ourselves 2 African Kilos for less than £10. By African kilos, I mean somewhere in the region of 2kgs…..you never get more than what you pay for, the locals aren't that stupid, but with their gross approximations, dodgy scales and quick talking you never really know how much you are getting. But in this case everyone was happy, so we moved on. We slowly negotiated the sand track along the back of the dunes until we realised we had no idea where we were going and enlisted the help of a willing volunteer to sit on the bonnet and guide us for a hefty fee of about 10p. The campsite was chockers, but after moving a couple of tents, the Sth African owners squeezed us in. The campsite was packed full of Afrikaaners, loaded up with their boats, jet skis and quad bikes, and decked out for the summer holidays on the Mozambique coast. It is truly remarkable the mass exodus of Sth Africans to the sunny shores of Moz for the summer. Much like mayhem of the NSW of QLD coasts in summer back home I guess, but for a fraction of the price.The steep sandy beach literally across the track from the campsite, led to some small but deceivingly turbulent surf. We had been warned about the dangerous undercurrents and so took a walk further up the beach to lagoon area shelterd by a fringing reef. Although calm and reasonably shallow, a fierce sweep along the beach kept us fighting to stay in the one place, and although the warm waters of the Indian Ocean were a refreshing change from the muggy interior we figured an even more refreshing place to be would be the local bar balcony overlooking the surf with a nice cold drink in hand. The drinks proved a great aperitif before our prawn feast and eventually bed. Up early and just hearing the sound of the surf crashing across the dunes was enough to get us moving. Kaz and I went for a long jog up the beach to an eerily abandoned old hotel that had been left to decay since colonial times. In its day we imagine it would have been quite the place, but now like much of the country we were to later come across, it lay in ruins with just a few locals as permanent tenants. We jogged back towards camp and could see a number of people had gathered on the beach opposite. As we got closer we could see there was quite a bit of panic and after talking to some onlookers discovered that a boat full of Afrikaaners from our camp had taken off through the surf and one of the crew had been knocked overboard. Apparently they could not rescue him in the rough seas and so close to the rocks and had returned to shore. Luckily, the man-overboard had been wearing a life jacket and he could be seen bobbing about in the ocean about 100m beyond the rocks. Im sure he was waiting to be rescued but the boat was not going anywhere. What followed was the most pathetic attempt at a rescue I could ever imagine, for ½ hr people ran here and there but essentially did nothing. Some then attempted to swim to the man, but chose the worst area where the waves crashed on the rocks to try and swim out. Their attempts were useless and they soon gave up. We could not understand why the stranded guy did not just swim for shore and aim for the beach past the rocks, perhaps he couldn't swim. Eventually though he washed up onto the rocks and after several attempts he was clear from the swell. As he emerged with help we saw before us a huge fat Afrikaaner man, barely able to walk from his size. He must have weighed close to 170kg. We were sure he could not swim. We were now worried he might have a heart attack from all the commotion. The excitement died down, as they hauled the big-man away on the back of a quad bike and Kaz and I opted for a quick dip to cool off. It ended however in a nasty blue-bottle sting in a place id rather not talk about (don't ask me how). We were back at camp in time for a late breakfast, and feasted on strange croissants and raisinless "raisin" muffins thanks to the overly excitable local baker doing the rounds through camp. It wasn't long before the fruit lady too came past bearing a choice of mangoes, coconuts, bananas and passionfruit loaded up in a massive basket on her head. She was glad for the money but I reckon equally so to lighten her load, she must have been carrying 20kgs. It was now the oyster-mans turn, and not wanting to pass up the opportunity we purchased a cheeky 15 for about £2 as he wandered past. It was still breakfast time, but the offer for him to open them aswell (with his machete mind you) was too good to miss, so they too became part of our breakfast.The drizzly weather was moving in, so we took it as a perfect opportunity to run some errands and headed in to the thriving metropolis of Xai Xai once more. We found the internet café but the "one" working internet PC in town was occupied so we headed for the ATM. At the time we were blissfully unaware, but it would not take long for us to realise that queuing for an ATM was standard practice in Mozambique. Not only are the ATMs often painfully slow, but often the operators are even worse as it appears they may be using the machines for the first time. On this occasion Karen queued for an hour whilst I found the other bank and consequently lined up for 45minutes before hitting the jackpot. Of course the "jackpot" is far less than the maximum limits back home, making it necessary to do it all again a couple of days later. With the help of some new local friends from the ATM queue and internet café security, we managed some swift negotiating in town, and came away with a couple more A-kgs of prawns, some clams and a fish for less than a tenner. Another seafood feast was on the cards.Finally we hit the internet, but the agonizingly slow connection presumably via carrier pigeon proved even more painful than the ATM queue and after reading a couple of emails we threw in the towel and headed for the beach.Back at camp and the weather had cleared up, so it was back to the lagoon for us. The few blue-bottles weren't going to put us off, and besides, the swelling from my morning encounter was perhaps even a little flattering. The sweep had picked up again with the tide, and at best we could maintain our position swimming flat out against it. For a bit of fun we donned our snorkelling gear and rode the current like a rapid before hopping out, walking back up the beach and repeating it a couple of times over. When kaz got stung, we'd had enough, evening was approaching, and the balcony bar was calling us once more.The following morning Kaz and I went for another jog along the beach. This time it was not nearly as eventful, but enjoyable all the same. We returned, packed up camp and headed back in to Xai-Xai pick up Paul and Susie's friend Alex who had made his way from Maputo. The two Americans, Alex and Dan had worked with Paul and Susie in Capetown. We had met them whilst staying in Capetown, and had some good nights out with them, and they had planned to join us all for Xmas at our next stop, Tofo beach. Whilst Alex opted for a cozy ride in Kal, Dan was flying into Inhambane and would meet us at Bamboozi lodge later that afternoon. We had a couple of hundred kilometres on the busy EN1 to chew up en-route to Bamboozi, and it was now we encountered the infamous pot-holed sections we had heard about. Often as wide as the car, and sometimes a foot or more deep, the endless potholes led to an interesting drive nonetheless that kept the drivers on their toes. Cruising along at around 20km/hr, cars and buses constantly swerving across the opposite side of the road or off the shoulder, it was mayhem, vehicles were all over the place. It was really quite humorous to watch -and this was the main highway. We figured it was going to be a long drive to the North of Mozambique in these sort of conditions, but as quickly as the road had deteriorated it became pristine single lane highway once more. This was something we would get used to in Mozambique, the interchangeable road conditions. We never really knew what lay ahead with the roads. We'd pass through a village and the road would change dramatically, or be driving along at 100km/h and all of a sudden a pothole the width of the whole road would appear out of nowhere causing a great bang, the driver needed to be alert at all times. Occasionally tar road would become dirt track, but all in all the roads were definitely on the improve, with plenty of stretches of new tarred highway.As we crusied towards destination Bamboozi, locals gathered by the sides of the road selling bags of freshly roasted cashews. We couldn't pass up the opportunity, and for a couple of bucks we had a small shopping bag full, yum.