c6 angola project

September 29 – Back in Luanda
October 7, 2009, 9:17 am
Filed under: *Travel Diary


…we landed back in luanda today after an extraordinary trip.

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just to give a bit of the flavor of the last few days – last night we went to 
play poker with a group of chinese construction workers in their 
compound next to the railway in huambo. turns… out they weren’t 
playing poker, but something more like bridge, but we didn’t quite 
trust ourselves to jump in, so instead we swapped shaolin kung fu 
forms with them in return for tai chi forms. from there we went to 
pick up a young angolan musician from a bar called the "novo 
imperio"right in the center of town. he wasn’t there when we arrived, 
so we decided to get a beer and wait. there we were, sat between a 
group of lebanese merchants on the one side and a group of british de-
mining experts on the other. strangely enough, i had been to the de-
mining compound a couple days ago to try to talk with them and see if 
we could catch a ride to one of their field operation sites to see 
what they are up to. no one was there at the time, and the security 
guard said to come back later and ask for calvin. we struck up a 
conversation with them in the bar and i realized that the guy i was 
talking with was indeed calvin. he invited me to come out on friday to 
kuito to see what they are doing, so i plan to fly out there friday 
morning from luanda. just then wilkin, the musician showed up. he had 
to borrow an amplifier from a friend which took him longer to work out 
than he expected. he jumped into our rented car and we passed by a 
house in our neighborhood where the managers and technicians of 
another chinese company are living to pick up yolanda, a young chinese 
translator we had met the day before and the company’s driver who is 
required to chaperon whenever she leaves at night. we all drove out to 
the outskirts of town to a musseque where a woman named sonia has a 
compound for 52 orphaned angolan children. wilkin set up the amplifier 
in the courtyard which the chinese driver lit with the headlights of 
his massive suv. wilkin then proceeded to play a solo open air death 
metal concert for us, yolanda, the driver and 52 angolan orphans who 
joined in with drums occasionally. it was unlike anything i have ever 
experienced. really most of the trip – from riding on top of the 
benguela railway cars though the african countryside to wandering into 
gay vietnamese communities in lobito, to hanging out in hospitals to 
deal with jim’s malaria and my eye infections, to being invited out by 
the nephew of the governor of the state of huambo in his two gold 
colored hummers, to meeting the descendants of the great ovimbundo 
empire to dancing late at night with ethiopian immigrants in their 
makeshift restaurant in a musseque here in luanda, the trip has been 
mind blowing, surprising, invigorating and just plain awesome. i will 
try to update the blog over the next few days if i can make sense of 
all the fragmentary notes i’ve taken along the way.

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