Monday, April 2, 2012
We are doing so much that everything is starting to run together. Luanda, the capital of Angola was totally different from the small cities of Lobito and Benguela. They are building like mad, and the traffic jams were horrendous. No one knows exactly what the population is, some where between 3 & 5 million. During the civil war people fled to the capital for safety, and many never left. The downtown is filled with new skyscrapers, as you drive south along the coast with the Atlantic on your right (hard for me to wrap my mind around) there are shacks on the hillside to the left with years of trash strewn down the hill. A little further along are luxury apartments that rent for $25,000 a month. I had elected to go to Kassame National Park, which although only a short distance away, took a long time to get to because of the rush hour traffic in Luanda. The park was decimated during the civil war, all of the animals killed or fled. They have restocked some of the animals, but with a park 3 times the size of Rhode Island I didn't expect much. It was lovely to be out in the bush, with lots of baobab & euphorbia trees. Our most exciting sighting was a herd of 13 giraffe, mostly mothers and young. We also saw kudu, bushbuck , a duiker, and at the lunch stop lots of vervet monkeys. I was surprised to see that the male vervets had large bright blue scrotums! God works in mysterious ways. Paula, my cabinmate, and I had been invited to dinner in the chart room by Rikki & Jack Swensen, 2 of the photography instructors. There were 16 of us, including 2 other staff member who are anthropologists. It was a fun evening with lots of lively conversation .