Saturday, July 22, 2006

Homecoming queen

Ah, I'm going home to Copenhagen tomorrow night and I must admit that I'm looking forward to it. I've enjoyed being here and it's been fun and new and all, but for now, I've just had enough mosquitoes and roaches. And, mostly, I just look forward to not sticking out as much and not being every street vendor's amiga branca (that's funny, isn't it? What's the branca in Fernet Branca, then? 'Cause one thing that Fernet Branca is not, is white) and once again being able to get my point across - if I go here again, I really need to learn more Portuguese!

Anyway, later on, we're going to the Quiçama National Park where we might be able to see some animals apart from monkeys (like the one on the right who was in the back garden yesterday. Cute, ain't he?) and funny-looking insects. The trouble with Angolan wildlife is that a lot of it was, well, eaten or otherwise killed during the 25 year long civil war. Quiçama existed before that and now, with the help of South Africa among others, they're trying to re-establish it. So, fingers crossed, in the next post
there'll be some pictures of elephants and maybe Angola's national animal, the palanca negra (after which their football team got their nick name, by the way).

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

They say it's no game, there's strange news from another star

Jeez, I just found out that the maid ironed my underwear - now that is crazy!
Anyway, we came back from spending a night at Ilha do Mussulo (which, technically, is not an island anymore, but a peninsula) yesterday. This was what I saw when stepping out of our bungalow so as you can guess, it was pretty nice and total Club Tropicana. And Angola has a Death by Chocolate Magnum - why can't we get that in Denmark?!
I think the most exciting thing that happened there was when I accidentally stepped on a fish while walking around shallow water. It all sort of confirms my feeling that while I think it's interesting and fun to be here, I just expected Africa to be more dangerous. Yes, I know that the malaria mosquitoes kill more than 1 million people every year and that I was totally gambling when I just brushed my teeth with tap water, but still, when you tell people that you've been to Angola, they don't expect tales of mosquitoes and whether or not you got the shits, do they? It's a bit sad, I think, that I might be going home and the most dangerous things to have happened to me will be when I had my feet flung over my head by a wave and my back sort of made a "crack"-sound and that I've been bitten by a possibly rabid monkey.
I want to experience something scary! I want there to be sharks when I go swimming, I want to see a lion, a rhinoceros, raging elephants or at the very least a stampeding antelope!

All the same, it's still nice to be here, even if it's still strange sticking out like I do. If you're really thirsting for attention, try being a white girl walking down to buy a Snickers in Luanda. And if that doesn't work, try bringing out your knitting - that's a surefire way!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Do something random!

You know what's funny about Africa? It's the little differences... Well, actually the differences between Africa and Europe seem rather huge, but still, it's also strange that Fanta looks and tastes different here.
Not so funny that in Europe, I get about one mosquito bite a year, while here, my shins have turned into a bumpy mess (-ish). Blood-sucking little bastards.
Handsigns seem to carry different meanings as well. If you want to hitch a ride, you point to the ground and when a soldier at an old Portuguese fort we visited this Wednesday wanted me to come over, he signalled this by limp-wristedly flapping his hand downwards. I don't get it.
Anyway, turns out that while I was trying to photograph their national monument of independence (the big rocket-like thingy), I accidentally got some of the president's estate in the picture as well (it's what you can see a teeny-tiny bit of on the upper left), which for some strange reason is very forbidden.
Anyway, the fort is now a museum for the armed forces, albeit not with any signs explaining anything. It seems to have been used for actual armed forces until fairly recently, since there were gasoline stands from the national oil company, Sonangol. But other than that, it seemed very much like the sort of place that pirates had once attacked, big, white, fortress-y and on top of a cliff.
But I'd better get cracking, we're leaving for a beach bungalow at the place with the monkey, so I'll expect I'll get some bruises from swimming. Last, I have a little picture of some guns, especially for Kristian. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Monkey gone to heaven

... or hell, depending on how you look at it. Today felt a bit more like a holiday than a family visit. We went south, crossed the bridge over the river Kwanza (the river that gives name to the local currency) and went swimming in the Atlantic Ocean. There were some big ass waves at the beach we were at, so big that I started bleeding from the scrapes I got from being washed ashore. Also, try not to jump full frontal into a wave only slightly shorter than you, chances are you'll be in pain! It was good fun, though. I also met a monkey.

And, by the way, I thought that I'd been drunk at Roskilde. but a couple of weeks ago, my dad's girlfriend's son got so drunk that he accidentally bought a freakin' horse! I don't think I was that drunk at Roskilde, but hey, it would have solved the problem of getting back to the tent.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Greetings from Luanda

So, we finally made it here. After even more trouble at Copenhagen Airport when we went to pick up our substitution tickets and travel on Friday, we came to Lisbon, where we spent the night at a failry nice hotel and had absolutely excellent brekfast (although I wouldn't recommend what I thought was some sort of Portuguese cinnamon bun, but turned out to be more like soggy white bread smeared with toffee flavoured ice cream sauce and then rolled together). Saturday morning we left Lisbon and then the same evening, we landed at Luanda Airport.
Like I said before I left, I didn't really know what to expect, but maybe I'd expected it to be different, but then with some sort of realization that what they show on the news is rather is exagerrated and, hey, it's not that different after all. But it really, really is. At the airport, some people from my dad's work ushered us into the queue for people with diplomatic passports and then when we'd found our luggage, he carried it for us into the car along with my dad, his girlfriend and the driver. And right now, I'm sitting on the bed, while Laura, the maid (the f***ing maid! I used to be the maid! I had a uniform just like hers!), is out in the courtyard cleaning next to the cupboard where the guard keeps his AK-47.
I feel so white, so privileged, so very out of place here. When we're driving around and I make eye contact with someone, they either smile and wave enthutiastically or flip me off while scowling. And I can't get used to the fact that I can't just go out on my own. It's weird, all weird. Not bad-weird, just.... weird.
And there's this opressive heat and the sun sets at 18.30 and there's animals everywhere, loose dogs and goats, cats in the restaurants (because there are mice) and chickens and yesterday, when we were driving to a place where there are eagles, we saw this pig with her piglets lying in the roadside.
And everything is dusty and the dirt is red dirt and... just wow, it's all really strange and new.
I'll leave you with this, my first baobab (it's not dead, none of them have leaves right now - and if anyone knows what the writing says, let me know);

Friday, July 07, 2006

The "told-you-so"-dance

Ah yes, Africa! Right now, I should be sitting in white clothes in my dad's house, which has aircon, drinking cooled lemonade and behaving like a colonialist in Luanda. Instead, however, I'm sitting in my increasingly stuffy flat with two travelmates I hardly know, drinking Danish milk. And I can tell you, without even having been to Africa, that it's very much not the f***ing same!!
Somehow someone somewhere f***ed up royally, so when we came to TAP Air Portugal's check-in counter at Copenhagen Airport, they claimed that our tickets couldn't be found and that we couldn't get on the plane. Later, when TAP were called, we were told that this wasn't true, that as long as we had our booking number (to which I yesterday pointed several times), we ought to be fine. But hey, we're not, are we?!
Anyway, so far it looks like we're put on a plane later today. And I think someone somewhere owes me an upgrade and some goddamn complementary champagne!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I had a farm in Africa...

Sorry, all of you, I know had was a crappy headline, but it's far too warm to sleep and it was all I could come up with. Seeing as Denmark are currently undergoing temperatures up to 30 degrees centigrade, I long for chillier climates (it's the Eskimo blood in my veins) and thus I'm leaving for Angola later today. As you might know, my dad works there at the moment and I'm going to visit him along visit his girlfriend's kids (who supposedly are visiting their mother more).
I don't really know what to expect from Angola. I know that they speak Portoguese, that they had a really long civil war, that there are somewhere between 10 and 20 million unexploded landmines there, that the country has nearly as many natural resources as South Africa and that their football squad had really cracking outfits in the World Cup (which, alas, they didn't do too good in).
So, I don't really know what's coming, but ina any case, I'm leaving tonight. I might be blogging so if I do, I'll see you there, and if not, I'll see you when I get home. And while I'm gone, don't do anything I wouldn't do!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

They say it changes when the sun goes down

I'm back from this year's Roskilde and actually have been for a few days. Alas, I'm in the middle of sanding down some of my chairs, so even though I'm home and I've showered, I'm still covered in dust.
It was a good festival, the weather was great, unlike last year, our tent didn't break and it wasn't utterly impossible to sleep later than 7 because of the heat. However, I just don't think that I managed to watch enough shows at all.
This is due to me not following this rather brilliant piece of advice: Imagine that you're sober and then get a glass of wine and you think that this wine is sort of sour, warm and yukky-tasting. If you then later after more glasses of wine find yourself thinking "But, oooh, this tastes just like Ribena!!" then you should've stopped drinking. And you should under no circumstances continue drinking, because then you'll end up abusing you mobile and missing most of Morrissey, The Streets, Death Cab for Cutie and Serena Maneesh in which case, you're not only drunk, you're also a f***ing idiot.
Still though, a good festival. dEUS were good, Guns'n'Roses were crap but in a funny way, Lady Sovereign f***ing rocked (ch-ching!), Spleen United were boring, Primal Scream were happy (and good) and so were Pato who, despite the awful hit, the "white man trying to fake patois"-sillyness and all the other odds he had against him, actually managed to throw quite a party. Arctic were very much misplaced on the Arena stage and it was just too much hassle to get there, while it was pretty easy to get to see Placebo who, sadly, were crap.
Next year, I think we should get a winnebago, because there's just no way that there can be three years in a row with weather that good!