So, right about now, I am currently in Luanda, having just been sitting around the table with a real class bunch of guys, getting slightly pissed, as one always does on his “Introduction” to a new environment!
My first Angolan sunset from the House:
But, let’s go back to where is starts . . .
Saturday afternoon: I spent pretty much the entire morning moving out of my flat. As always in my personal life, I leave things to the last minute. What should have started about 2 weeks ago, was left to the last day, Literally!
The afternoon I went shopping very quickly for a pair of chino’s, 2 shirts and a few other things, like boxers, which I haven’t worn in about 4 years now, but judging by what everyone tells me about the humidity, it might be worthwhile to get, and a few socks.
The evening/night was spent tidying up mom’s house, my shit in mom’s house that is. I had dropped quite a lot of my stuff off there over the period of the week or so, I’m not THAT disorganised!! 🙂 Anyway, that along with packing etc, meant I only got ot bed after 02h, and I had to get up at 05h to get ready for my flight. Man, that was rough. I literally got about 2h30 sleep by the time I left, and was I feeling rough! I had also had the beginnings of a cold the entire week, with tight chest and runny nose. Great, just what I needed for my new foray into the Wild West!
So, I arrived at the airport with a really, really heavy suitcase, 33.8 kgs heavy to be precise, and was swiftly told to offload some stuff. “I can’t allow that bag on. They won’t check it in, as it is too heavy.” Hmmm, about 5 of that is care of DD and the spare part, a Switch “blade” I had to take up. Cheers chaps! So I had to unpack right there in the hall. I’ve always seen this happen to other people at the airport, and always thought “Why would you need to do that?” Well now you know. I had forgotten I had packed my Unisa books too, so pulled that one out, which was about 2.5 kgs and my Mr Diver fleece top, put it back on the scale and was amazed to see that it only made a kilo difference. 32.8. Hey that can’t be right I thought. I moved it around and it dropped to about 30.5. That’s better. The lady luckily let me go with the overweight after a very “nice” pleading chat.
I picked up a 2 x 1 ltr bundle of Johnny Red at Duty Free for R255, which isn’t too bad! Hmmm, at least I drink my worries away whilst there! 🙂 The flight, Air Namibia, was about 3/4 full and I was in the isle, and the seat next to me was empty, so that pretty cool, except for the fact that the recline button on my seat, 19d was broken so that the seat wouldn’t go back. Now that was kak. So instead of moving to the seat next to me, I stayed where I was, and tried to get a few zzz’s, but it didn’t really work. Breakfast was an omelette which was okay. We had a medical emergency on the flight too. Appears a baby had choked or something and we landed with an ambulance there, but there wasn’t any screaming or crying, so I imagine everything was okay.
At Windhoek we chilled out in the Smokers area in the Transit Lounge, as Barrie is a big smoker, which wasn’t great for my chest, but I managed it. We got back on the same plane, and I was in the same seat, 19d. Shite, as I was really tired now, and could really do with some shut eye! The seating arrangement turned out to be a complete cluster f#ck!! Everyone was sitting all over the place, mainly Angolan Portuguese locals, and I later found out that if you fly TAAG – Angolan Airlines, it is open seating. Well, this was a mess. Everyone had just sat where ever they wanted. The one chick and her kid would not sit separated, and kept the plane an extra 10 minutes because they wouldn’t sit. 2 air stewards, and 3 air hostesses later, eventually another lady moved, very unwillingly, to accommodate the chick and her daughter, but I think she could see that if she didn’t we would not get off the ground. Unbelievable! If that was UK or anywhere else, security would have been called, and she would have been forcefully removed! Man, really childish chick, I couldn’t believe it. Not a care in the world huh. Couldn’t really give a shit if the entire flight was delayed, as long as she could sit next to her daughter? She had booked willy nilly and the entire flight was full. There were about 10 of them travelling together and it was absolute chaos. The girl next to me kept on getting up and down and I decided I wasn’t going to have any of this as I was in the aisle and so I moved her bag on one of her forays out, and went to sleep in her chair which was great as this one reclined!! Quality! 🙂 I got a few zzz’s and had lunch in between. Pasta, as the chicken which was offered was finished. The lunch wasn’t bad actually.
After descending through some serious turbulence we circled Luanda and landed to applause of the passengers, which was interesting. I tended to agree on their sentiments, especially after the brief turbulence, so I too clapped. I later out that was a customary thing to do. I had checked out quite a bit of Luanda on Google Earth previously so had a fairly good idea of certain landmarks, namely the huge bay 🙂 and it was a really interesting sight. So many boats in the bay it was crazy. Just loads and loads of small grimy squatter type houses. Very few, if any, tar roads. A typical African type scene from a movie. The airport was really busy, with plenty of planes around. We passed an SAA Boeing about to depart, along with a TAAG Airbus waiting and also an Air26 charter twin prop also awaiting departure. The pilot announced that is was 29 degrees outside, and when I stepped out, I was hit by the heat! Man, worse than a hot, clammy cloth! I can see this getting seriously uncomfortable in the future, but man, I’ll just love the sun!
We cleared Passport Control in about 15 minutes, which is absolutely unheard of. It can apparently take around 3 hours, with about 200 people stuck in a room half the size of a tennis court. Just insane. A local I met on the plane reckons he has waited for 3 hours just to clear this section. The next section, luggage collection is usually just as bad, but this we cleared in about another 10 minutes, after meeting our protocol officer, whose job is to get you through Customs if you have any issues, and then we were done. So literally through the entire airport in 30 mins, which even the local commented I would never, ever experience again!! Hmmm, I guess I’ll have my patience cut out for me next time. Must be the Sunday flight.
Our driver met us outside, and went to get the car. The trip from the airport took another 25 mins or so, which even Barrie commented was not fair. He said I was really getting all the treatment on my first trip, as he has taken 2h30 to do that exact journey in the past.
So, I had finally arrived at my new home for the next however long I decide to stay. A one year contract as it stands, but hey, who knows . . . I’m looking long-term on this one. Luanda was quite interesting experience, and reminded me quite a lot of Israel and Egypt put together, just relocated to Africa! They pretty much drive the same in Luanda as they do in Egypt, and the buildings and vehicles are pretty similar to Israel. The roads are complete chaos, with virtually no infrastructure like sidewalks, robots, etc. Vehicles just go. They don’t wait for each other, and it is really literally a matter of make your own way. Just crazy. But it appears that Sundays are typically quieter than other days.
Bradley was home when we arrived, and Sylvester was at work. Blythe and Ashton pulled through later, and we eventually got down to braaiing. At that stage I had already had a beer, and you know I don’t do beer. Like Really, Really don’t do beer. Next I was onto the Johnny Red, the bottles I had bought, and we all got really liquored up. The steaks were seriously good and they food was well prepared. Barrie finished a whole bottle of his brandy (1 of the 4), and it has been a pretty wild evening.
Well, that was day and night one in Luanda.
Easy Going Guy 😉