It’s Not Called “Darkest Africa” for Nothing!

This week has been light on, erm… light.

The other night we decided to treat ourselves to a dinner out on the Ilha (the Ilha Da Cabo is a promontory in Luanda that forms a natural harbour, and it has lots of restaurants, beach clubs etc.). We chose to visit Clube Navale, which is primarily a marina where Luanda’s fat cats keep their yachts, so naturally there’s an open air quayside restaurant. When we arrived it had already gotten dark: the sun sets here around 6pm at this time of year. The outdoor restaurant had tried to create an ambience with low ambient lighting, but it was so low we couldn’t read the menus, let alone actually see what we were eating. I had to use the flashlight feature on my new Nokia E72 smartphone so that we could find our chips. I ordered the prawns but got upsold to the lobster at 4,500 Kwanzas (around $45). Not too bad for lobster, until you realise it’s not that special here so everything is that expensive. It was a nice meal and the gin & tonics (“Dois Jeen Tonico por favor”) we ordered as an aperitif were very generous (see pic):

She hasn't poured the tonic yet.

At one point I excused myself and visited the Gents’ — for some light as much as anything else. The single urinal was clearly built for a more fully developed specimen than I. I’m not tall but I’ve never had to stand on tiptoe to pee before.

I just about managed to get over the edge.

We’d heard before coming out to Luanda that power in Africa is not the dependable utility that you’re probably used to, and that as a consequence brownouts, spikes and outages are common. The embassy has its own generators in case of outage but yesterday was particularly bad. We had four power cuts in quick succession at breakfast time, then another two in the afternoon and then finally the power went off for about half an hour while I was trying to cook dinner (with an electric oven).

So, dinner was late and without TV and internet we had to… ‘gulp’… talk to each other.


About Chris Neal

Personal Technology Consultant. Tailored services and advice for people who want more from their technology.
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