Tag Archives: Luanda

The Nervous Poppie & The Irishman! – Homeward Bound – Day 27

NB, I am completing this at Windhoek airport on my way back to Luanda. 27/03/2008.

Well well, I had one hell of an interesting trip home that’s for sure. I landed up next to 2 completely entertaining individuals on each flight. The first from Luanda to Windhoek, and the second from Windhoek to Cape Town.  A very Nervous Angolan Poppie on the first leg, and a Raging Alcoholic Irishman, who could drink even more than Ash, on the second!! 🙂

Day 27 - Airport

The Tarmac at Luanda International – Departing

So firstly I arrived at the airport early. You never quite know with traffic in Luanda. Philip had told me a story just the day before where it had taken him 2 hours to travel about 800m to the entrance of the airport from the circle, to collect his wife a few weeks earlier. I was planning to leave home at about 10h15, but by the time we left it was closer to about 10h45. I was busy sorting out bills and money at home, and got delayed. We did however make it in record time, and I was there around 11h15. Incredible really. I called Kamilo, our protocol guy, and he told me that it only opens at 12h, so he’ll only be there then. I sent Oscar home and I waited outside in the sun. A queue had started to form at about 11h30 inside, and I was watching it to see how it worked. The process is a bit different to home. You actually wait in a queue outside the check-in area, then they allow you through when it’s open. My flight was at 14h, and by 13h Kamilo had still not arrived. I was starting to get worried as I had never been through the whole process before, and didn’t know what was required. Well, he eventually arrived at about 13h15, and I was doing my head in. He was “just arriving” when I called him at 12h, and he travels by motorbike, so I don’t think he had even left his offices then, and then he had the nerve to tell me that traffic was bad. Well, I told him it was unacceptable. He knows better than anybody what the traffic is like.

Anyway, I was the second last person in the queue and there were a few people waiting for standby, so Kamilo, you are a very lucky man I got on, as the prospect of spending the weekend in Luanda was not too enticing. I guess you could say I was now in home mode, and I suppose I just wanted to get home. I guess airports the world over have a habit of doing that to people. So I checked in, without Kamilo, as he is not allowed to be at the desk as he isn’t flying, and everything was cool, and then Kamilo walked me to passport control, where they ladies first check your passport then allow you through to the actual border control. In this case Kamilo did nothing as everything was in order. So basically I waited over an hour for the muppet, only to have him “hold my hand” and walk me from check-in to passport check and then that was it. Well, I’ll have to think twice in future about using protocol services to be honest with you. For departure that is. I think that arrivals is still a very different matter.

Anyway, the departure hall is crap, and the aircons leak all over the place, so you really have to watch yourself. There is a bar or 2 upstairs, and a nice set of couches outside the business class lounge. There is also free wireless if you know how! 🙂 Our flight was then delayed by over 30 minutes, which was not surprising apparently. There is no calling/PA system, or boards telling you when the flight is, and there are only 2 gates, with no signage, so you pretty much have to just hang around and then take pot luck with what other people are doing. The best is when you ask the officials what is happening with the flight as it is now 5 minutes past departure time and you are still hanging around, and they say:

“Yes, just sit”. Great, well that helps loads!

So, I got on the flight and managed to get a window seat which was great as I was pretty tired. The chick who sat next to me was literally what I can imagine an Amazonian Woman to look like. She was very tall – my height – well dressed, quite chick, not bad figure, but a big large on the thighs and buttocks, but otherwise very good for an Angolan specimen! 🙂 She was however incredibly nervous as I found out when we took off. The next thing I suddenly had my right hand grabbed and squeezed the crap out of. She was seriously frightened, when the plane banked, it was just too much. Her hand moved from mine to my leg.

“Hey, Hey, this is pretty sweet. A good way to come onto people”, I thought.

But, when she dug her nails into my right leg, well, that was the end of the foreplay session for me. Man that was it. Every little bump/jolt she would cry out and grab my hand, or my leg. At one stage she almost straddled the seat to get on top of me. It was particularly entertaining. The lady on her right was quite amused too. A glance at her arrival form belied her age to be 22. Hmm, well, she is pretty big for 22, and obviously doesn’t get around much. Once we landed she was escorted off by some Namibian Official who had the dirtiest look in his eyes I had ever seen, so I guess she might be some Ministers Daughter, or maybe Mistress. Anyway, that was leg one!

Day 27 - Windhoek Thunderclouds Day 27 - Sunset

a) Thunderclouds over Windhoek b) Sunset Windhoek to Cape Town

At Windhoek, upon reboarding the same plane, I was seated between an Insurance Broker Manager, and a Journalist. Well, Colman the Journalist was Irish, and was completely crazy. About half-way through the flight my iPod died a miserable death due to lack of charging, and considering it is an old iPod Photo 60 Gig, Generation 4, I think that the 6 or so hours it had already given weren’t bad. I then was reduced to talking to my fellow passengers,and man what a laugh. Colman is an editor of Rock Magazines, or so he claims, and between the 2 of us, we had the entire 4 rows around us in stitches. I thought I could talk shit when required, but this boytjie, man, he put me to shame! We had a rip roaring chat with loads of banter, and by the time we got off all the passengers around us were smirking and laughing out loud. The Insurance Manager wanted to know when he was flying again, as she hadn’t been that entertained on a flight ever. We made really good time getting to Cape Town, and when I found out that my lift, mommy, had not yet arrived Colman suggested we grab another drink at the News Cafe. I thought why the hell not. I literally got my luggage within the first 10 bags, which was great, and once clearing customs with no issues, we grabbed another round of doubles! 🙂 My lift arrived shortly and I left him to yet another round.

Once getting home I headed straight out to Oblivion, to meet up with Dave, and Nic who pulled through too.

That was the beginning of my 13 days back . . . but that is another story to follow! 😉

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Nunnsby

Easy Going Guy 😉

Sly’s Kinda Better – Luanda – Day 18

Well, Sly was feeling much better this morning, so he pulled through to work with me. Well, that was good to see. At least he was better and not worse, so obviously NOT Malaria. That’s a good thing! 🙂

Day 18 - Buildings

One of the many construction sites around Luanda. Please note the shortcut which even we used. The One Way No Entry. And you can’t turn right??? haha

I finally met Mohamed, one of the BP Southern Africa head honcho’s. Can’t remember what his exact title is again, but he’s pretty high up. He is based outta Cape Town, and comes up once a month. I’ve heard a lot about him, so it was nice to actually touch base eventually. Really good guy actually. He’s definitely got his work cut out for him up here I can tell you that. 🙂

Sly was not feeling great at lunch time. Really tired again, so I sent him home. He called the doctor to get his results, as he hadn’t been called yet, and was told that they came back fine. Weird, as something is definitely up. But, I suppose, who are we to know.

Around the same time I got a call from Neda looking for info for Bruno’s wife on ex-pat wives, or someone with local knowledge. She was telling me that in Nigeria they have a South African Wives Club, whereby they can get together and mingle and do what chicks do I suppose. Well, I wasn’t aware of any of that here, or anyone that I might be able to contact, as most of the ex-pat guys I knew in Luanda were on their ace. Their families were back home and they were pretty much here for the cash I reckon. I did however think of Maria and passed her details along as she would be the perfect contact. she knows where people shop, she is very connected, and can probably help her out if she needs to be.

Mo was quite concerned about Sly’s condition and even gave me a call that evening. I chatted to a few people about who was the best doctor and where to go for medical assistance. I even contacted the guys at Chevron to find out who they use. Nope, the SOS clinic was the one they all went too! GREAT! Well I guess ol Sly is off back to see the German Witch Doctor tomorrow morning then again! 😮

We weren’t particularly hungry, so dinner was pretty minimalistic that evening.

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Nunnsby

Easy Going Guy 😉

Our First “Shop” Lunch – Luanda – Day 11

Today we decided to go out and get our own lunch. After having spoken to Blythe about where he goes, he recommended a SuperMercado – store, very similar to a Seven Eleven / Spar/ pretty much a cafe type shop. He said you could get rolls and cheese and meats and you make your own. So we thought we’d give it a shot.

I was teasing Bradley about why he never bought food off the side of the road, as when we arrived at work in the morning one of the BP guys was chomping down on a really good looking sandwich, and as we left the building for lunch there was a lady with a plastic bucket selling food on the side of the road. It looked exactly like the sandwich he was eating. Brad reckons that he had had the runs here before, when he was sick for like 3 days and there was no way he was going to tempt fate again!! 🙂 He also stated that Freddy’s system was well used to the bugs already. I laughed and said I was quite keen to give it a bash. He warned me, and suggested I give my tummy more time to adapt first!

Well, they had foot-long baguettes, and sliced cheese and sliced ham, and a few other bits and bobs, and we got 2 rolls and a whole lot of cheese and ham and took it back to the office with 2 cokes and a Youki – aka Pinenut. Well, this was considerably cheaper. The entire meal cost us 600 Kwanzas. So 200 each, so about 20 bucks each. Not too bad at all. My Youki was 50 Kwanzas, so R5, and that was very reasonable, and then the foot itself worked out to R15 each. Man, pretty sweet considering we usually pay over R100 per person per lunch!

Well, there was one downfall, we didn’t have a knife. So it was a hand job to get the sandwiches made. It was pretty good actually, so that might become a regular event. Don’t get wrong, the “cafeteria” lunches are good, but I am quite into my “local is lekker” thing. I might even get around to getting a sammie off the side of the road soon! 🙂

Work was good, and I left early to go another meeting. Man, traffic was stupid, surprise surprise, and I got home around 17h15. Just in time too, as man, that foot long was causing about a foot long’s worth of damage to my stomach!! Haha, Brad and Sly will piss themselves when I tell them! It appears my system didn’t handle the food too well then I guess. Well, at least I can say that my system is now getting used to what is on offer here! 😮

Dinner was take away from Aldar, a Lebanese Restaurant, and it was pretty good. 7900 Kwanzas for a 3 person meal. So R260 per head. That’s not too bad! I guess.

Oh oh! Toilet time, second call! 🙁

Gotta go.

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Nunnsby

Easy Going Guy 😉

Paradise “Island”- Luanda – Day 7!!

So today we headed to Mussulo Island, or Ilha de Mussulo. We met Blythe and the BP folks we met the other at the Chicala residences and headed from there in a BP Organised bus with driver. Gotta love the Petroleum Industry! 🙂

Day 7 - Paradise 1

“Paradise” – Ihla de Mussulo

The journey of about 15kms took us around 50 mins that morning due to the Great Traffic that we so love in Angola. It was crazy. You literally never go over 20 kph. It is insane. There are 2 ways of getting to the Island. One way is to drive, we chose the easier route – by boat! You leave from a jetty and get a quick speed boat ride across the lagoon, and voila, you step onto a little bit of paradise. We immediately hit the drinks at the bar, suprise, suprise, and parked off for a bit.

A little later we missioned across the island on foot, to the West Coast (Atlantic) where we went swimming. Wow, the water was amazing! Mid 20s and fantastic vis (visibility). There is virtually no swell and even 6 metres into the water it is fantastically clear. I have to get my ass into a dive suit to do some diving. Pronto! That is a definite! 🙂 The beach is stunning and definitely competes with the likes of Mozambique for sure. There are little huts that are actually beach bars, but were closed, which was a bummer as it is really cool to sit there and chill. The sun made an appearance, actually quite a long one, and for the first time since arriving in Luanda I truly felt the effect of the rays. Man, it gets hot, and I reckon you will get pretty harshly burnt up here. I suppose I am just south of the equator, literally 1000 kms, so it would be stronger here than anywhere else. Well, it was great. Luckily the one BP dude had bought sun cream, otherwise we all would have been fucked, but it was wicked. I really couldn’t get my head around this. Being just south of Luanda and all it’s chaos, and yet chilling here in the calm, quiet, warm  waters of the Atlantic. Unreal!

No one ever said Life in Africa was going to easy!! 😉

We got a call from Sly who said the FPSO was the most amazing thing he had ever seen in his entire life, and he sounded pretty chuffed to be on it. But he also conceded that it appeared he was only going to be back on Tuesday! Told you so. 🙂 Hopefully they do let him go though, as they have a habit of keeping the good guys onboard, and I’m sure they’re gonna love the service they get from Sly, as he is just really good at what he does!

Back at the lagoon side lunch was awesome. It was a buffet that had everything. Freshly grilled fish, carpaccio, braai’ed chops, stews, chicken, prawns, salads, pasta, chips, schnitzel, and loads more. Absolutely fantastic. I had 2 helpings and then was stuffed! Rachel was given a cooling off care of 3 buckets of ice and water from the ice buckets for the wine.

Day 7 - Ice Day 7 - Swan

Cooling off and Mucking about on the Swan!

Afterwards Bradley and Neal gave the Swan horns. “Watch out for the rough waters lads!” Bradley proceeded to dump his phone in the water, not a good idea, but luckily for him it was already off, so no worry of electrical damage, just water at this stage.

The boat journey back almost became quite entertaining when some German, who was pissed and giving everyone horns and being obnoxious, got on out boat, but we set Paul the Mad Scotsman on him, and we got rid of him. The car journey back to Chicala took another hour or so. This is definitely going to take getting used to. At first you think you have gone miles, as typically when you spend a long time in a car moving, you do travel a fair distance, but here, no way man, literally 3 kms can take you 30 mins or so. It’s seriously unbelievable.

Once back home we decided not to venture out as we were all really tired and knackered after the day. I think it was the sun and all the day’s activity. Dinner was leftovers and that was fine by everyone.

Right now, I am knackered and am heading to bed!

Click.

Nunnsby

Easy Going Guy 😉

Friday = BRAAI – Luanda – Day 6!!

So today I worked from home as I had a meeting with Tonie and Barrie and it just made sense to stay here and not really have to bother about going to the office. Especially with the traffic as always. Shame though as Maria was on her own pretty much as Sly was off, on the FPSO, and I wasn’t there.

Sly has headed off to the FPSO to do a bit of work. Man, lucky bugger. The FPSO is an Offshore Floating Refinery. Think of an oil rig, just on a ship, and then a whole lot more. If any of you remember seeing that massive ship in Cape Town Harbour a few months ago that looked like a city at night due to being lit up like a christmas tree with loads of pirpes everywhere?? Well, that was an FPSO, and BP currently has the biggest in teh world, afaik, and it is a few hundred kms from where I sit right now. And Sly has just gone there! Man, green with envy!! I have given him my camera, so hopefully he’ll get a few decent shots for me. Hence the lack of pictures since yesterday. It does however mean I’ll be without camera this weekend. He reckons he’ll be back tomorrow, but after having heard Maria’s story about her visit, Bradley and myself have a bet going that he’ll only be back on Tuesday. 🙂

So Barrie and I went shopping at Casa dos Freshca (I think) and landed a massive bill for literally one trolley load of food. Man it was insane. A kilo of Fillet will set you back around R450!! We got a load of various meat, soft drinks and the usual party stuff. I can’t quite remember the final amount, but all I remember thinking is that I’ll never worry about over-spending on a braai back in Cape Town ever again.

Luckily for me I got my RPC over HTTP for Outlook working before I left Cape Town, and it has been a massive benefit ever since. It basically enables me to connect directly to the exchange sever in the office over the open Internet without having to use a VPN, or Outlook Web Access. And let me tell you, that’s a massive benefit.

Day 6 - Braai Time

Movement around the table – Dinner is served!

So, back to the braai . . . well, we were expecting quite a few people, a few of the big wigs from the BP DCT team, and then a couple of the ladies too, well so the lads said, as they have invited them. But actually, at the end of the day, Only Maria, with her husband, who doesn’t speak much Porra, and Nina pitched, along with Blythe on his own, as Ash left this morning.  It was an entertaining evening, with me getting a lesson from Nina in some local dance technique, but to me it was virtually the same as windsurfing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokkie in a way). So she was quite impressed that I was already fairly good. Well, I was just as suprised as I typically don’t windsurf. The fillet was awesome and the food turned out really well, thanks to Chef Barrie! There was plenty food left and the evening turned out just right. Probably a good thing the rest never turned up, as it was small and contained and really entertaining.

I let the team down and headed to bed early. Just been really tired the entire week, and think it must also have something to do with my chest (still having shit with my Asthma) and the aircons/heat difference. I have been really tired since arriving – which is probably due to the 2 hours sleep I got before leaving Cape Town, but man, it’s gonna take a while to get into the norm again. Weird as back in Cape Town I was managing fine on like 6 hours a night, if that.

Well, we have plans to get down to the Island tomorrow and then a bit of a party tomorrow night afterwards, so it should be a good weekend.

Click.

Nunnsby

Easy Going Guy 😉

Then the Slums – Luanda – Day 5!!

So today was just another day. Work was good, but shame poor Sly – Sylvester – landed up not going to the FPSO. He was scheduled to leave by helicopter, then they changed the location to the harbour, and due to travel permit issues, he couldn’t go. So he was rescheduled for tomorrow by chopper. So he landed up at the Harbour Base the entire day. Though, he did say he had a nice lunch!

I ducked out for Lunch with Bradley, back to the “Cafeteria” and there was absolutely no queue this time, though we were like 30 mins earlier. Maybe that was why. They have these TV’s all over the “Caf” that plays the Portuguese TCM channel. Classic stuff to watch whilst you eat, and the locals are transfixed by it. 🙂

We had to pick Sly up from the base after work, and that was very interesting as the driver took a “short cut” via the “slums”. Wow, now you see what Luanda is all about and where people actually stay. Really sad and pretty intense. Think the locations where we are – Gugs, Khyalitsha, Crossroads, IMizamo Yethu, etc – but picture mainly cinder block structures as opposed to houses. Pretty crazy man, but I suppose the “location” areas are all the same the world over.

Dinner was at Maria’s, my local colleague, her father’s restaurant – not too sure what it is called, but it was pretty cool. It is located on Ihla de Luanda, the peninsula and is almost directly opposite Miami. We were joined by a few BP UK Ex-Pats and it was quite funny. OK, one topic that is definitely taboo is taking the piss out of people by asking them what they are doing for the environment or how their job relates to it. Hmmm, I won’t be joking about that with Petroleum Employees anymore. A VERY TABOO SUBJECT indeed. And I love my piss taking!! 🙂 Anyway, the food was good, and I wasn’t as knackered as usual. Why . . . I hadn’t taken my Malaria pill yet, so that is obviously the trick – that and not drinking beers it appears! 🙂

The city of Luanda is absolutely stunning at night, and I am definitely going to get some really awesome pics with my Canon EOS 400D when I return. Dad is borrowing it right now. Good thing though as I wouldn’t have had the space for it, plus I want to use the first trip just to get my feet on the ground and not be distracted!

Tomorrow is the House Braai with a few of the BP Big Boys in our arena, so that should definitely be entertaining! 🙂

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Nunnsby

Easy Going Guy 😉

Traffic from Hell – Luanda – Day 4!!

Traffic took about 35 minutes to get to work this morning, a distance of less than 2.1 kms as we drive! It is literally just insane. Reminds me sooo much of Egypt, but just with Black People as opposed to Arabs. Really intense.

Day 4 - Miami Shower

The Shower at Miami – A great vantage point! 🙂

Work was cool, still getting into it, so still bright eyed and bushy tailed. We’ll see yet. I ventured out to lunch, the same place as yesterday, on my own as everyone was busy, and I can tell you, it was strange being the only white person walking down the road to get food, surrounded by mainly very poor locals. Yet, I didn’t get one bad look, or the feeling of animosity towards me. I felt 100% secure at all times, and it is quite an exhilarating feeling to get to your destination and not have been mugged, or felt unsure about yourself. Makes me really wonder how much me sub-consciously fear about being in South Africa, and how insecure we really are back home!

The lunch queue was just as bad as the traffic, and it took about 30 mins for 15 people to get served at a buffet. The lunch “restaurant” – basically a canteen – is 2 floors, with mainly an open buffet type arrangement. On the one side they have a sit down area, where you basically get charged about $10 just to be served, exactly the same food! There are about 6 or 7 dishes available and it is quite a helping, but definitely not worth R 90. But I can see this is going to take time getting used to. THE COST OF EVERYTHING that is!

Introduced to my first 3 power failures in one day, actually in about 2 hours! And we complained about Eskom. Everything is on UPS in the De Beers building, except the lights, so work continues, but the lights go off, and everyone continues as normal. It is pretty much the norm it appears! Amazing.

Dinner was back at Miami, and I had the steak, which was really good. The helpings are usually pretty good, as far as I can tell, but the cost!! Whoa! There was a big screen with the EUFA Cup soccer on, suprise, suprise! 🙂

Once again I was knackered at dinner, and think it definitely has to do with the Malaria Pills and the beers. Okay, tomorrow I change tack! I’ll take the pills when I am supposed to, after meals and just before I go to sleep. Also, no more beers! 🙂

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Nunnsby

Easy Going Guy 😉

Loving Life!

A Brave New World – Luanda – Day 3!!

So, today I started my new job in earnest. Man, weird to be back in it. Thrown straight into an operational issue that morning, that was interesting considering I was now responsible for managing the issues, as opposed to being responsible for solving them. So quite tough in a way to have to hold back, but I am getting used to it. 🙂

Loads to do here so I am going to be kept very busy for a long time to come, which is great. Means I won’ have to get bored, or restless . . . I hope! So far the first impression is that we are on top of things, which is good.

Day 3 - Neighbours

Our neighbours, literally right on top of us.

We went for lunch down the road, and the around the corner, and it was my first true experience of being on the ground in Luanda, as we walked. Man, I have already talked about the heat, but unless you have ever been to an equatorial or mid tropical country, you really can’t understand it. I believe Bangkok is apparently very similar, if not in fact worse. But the heat and humidity here is intense. I think the problem is compounded by the fact that everywhere you you are in air conditioned rooms, offices, vehicles, restaurants, etc. So when you do venture out you go from a fairly cooled environment, typically in the region of about 20 degrees, or sometimes less, straight into about 32-34 degrees. Man, it is seriously intense. And the humidity just sits. So it is not like being in Cape Town in 32 Degrees, but rather think of sitting in a steam room at 32 degrees. Okay it is not that bad that you break out in a sweat every time you go outside, but it can be uncomfortable if you are in heavy clothing or wearing trousers. It’s also not as bad as when I did my Sailing trip, which I will actually blog after my first trip home, as I left my “diary” at home on this trip. Part of the 32Kilo constraints!

Personally I enjoy the temperature, and the climate. I enjoy being outdoors and it’s great to be able to get out and enjoy the sun and warmth. The only problem though is that you don’t actually see the sun, or feel the rays of it . . . EVER! Everyday is overcast, or cloudy, but not like dark cloudy, but just hazy cloudy. There is glare from the sun everywhere, but no actual rays.

Costs are MENTAL!! I was warned that it was expensive, but man, this is ridiculous! A main meal, just the course itself, well the lunch venue we go to, will cost you about R90! Plus R15 for the soft drink! So you are looking at around R105 for the entire meal. And that’s just a plate of rice and beef stew, or a large pizza slice with salad, pretty much any “Pratos do dia”, the Dish of the day. I will definitely be blogging more on the costs as they occur, and trying to get my head around it as things go on.

Dinner that day was at Portugalia down near Ilha de Luanda, or commonly known as Ilha. Basically Island, which is actually the Peninsula. It is right next to the BP Staff housing, and it is pretty sparsely arranged with a few outside tables and then big screen/blank wall for watching the football, which I was going to find out is quite a big thing in Luanda. I was really tired by the time we finished, and I think that might be due to a combination of the Malaria Pill and the Beers I keep on drinking. And that was all before dinner! Dinner was ok, not fantastic, and once again, really expensive for what you get. Like R 150 for the main course alone, and the portions would be the equivalent of a R60/70 meal in Cape Town, if that.

Anyway, I was virtually passed out by the time we got home, and am going to sleep like a log now!

Click.

Nunnsby

Easy Going Guy 😉

Bom Dia Luanda – Day 2!!

So, last night actually got really wild, and even though I was in bed by 21h, I was wrecked! Barrie finished a whole bottle of Brandy, pretty much on his own, and Ashton got hammered! haha I woke up a few times during the night, due to being seriously hot, before I realised that I had an aircon unit in my room, which I then turned on to find out that this one is the shit! It works like you will not believe!! Great stuff. The next time, cause I had takkie mouth and had to get some water as I was tickets after the night before!

View from the house of a very entertaining Crossroads! 🙂

Day 2 - Morning

Today was tough . . . not really. I had a nice relaxed intro everything. 🙂

It started with the future handyman coming around to the house to see what needed to be done. From there it was off to BP premises at the De Beers Building which was interesting. I met all the players in one go, and was finally introduced to what I’ll really be doing. I must admit . . . quite intimidating actually. To see the relationships and understanding people already have with each other. To be coming in as the outsider, and having to take over. Well, the challenge is huge. The landscape is massive and the potential for growth is awesome, but so is the room for mistakes. But, I’ll take it as it comes, do my best, and then some. A very exciting time for both DD and myself.

After De Beers we cruised to a hardware store, got a few necessary items for the house, like a shower head and more, and then off to the “peninsula”, not too sure what it is called in Porra, but it was cool. We had lunch at a place Miami, just next to Cafe Del Mar, and judging by the pic, it was close enough! 🙂

A view from Miami:

Day 2 - Miami

After lunch we went shopping at Casa de Fresca, I think , and that was surreal. Think Woolworths in Luanda. Really! It is virtually the same. Just these prices are way off the scale. Some things are childishly expensive. A small box of Jungle Oats . . . . R70. Yes! R70 for a small box of Jungle Oats. Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, about R80. And that’s the normal size! Not the big one you get back home. Just stupid really. Yet a bottle of Johnny Black will put you back R250, which is virtually the same as in CPT, just about R30 more. So some things, quite close, others way off the mark!!

Then is it was home, and chilled for the rest of the day.

Then off to Restaurant Venezia. Man, the Steak on Rock, which is like a hotrock steak was awesome. About 600-800g of quality, seriously quality steak!! Man I was stuffed, and took home plenty still.

Well, another day done.

Click.

Nunnsby

Easy Going Guy 😉

Welcome to Luanda!! – Day 1

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:

Day 1 - Sunset

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.

Click.

Nunnsby

Easy Going Guy 😉