Wednesday, April 25, 2007
One of the many things I like about Angola.
They do mention Angola's first shopping mall, Belas Shopping. Goodness gracious, this mall is being promoted like it's a sign that Angola is truly evolving. Never mind that not even a tenth of the general population can afford to pay the transportation costs to be able to shop there. To me it just seems like a slap in the face of most Angolans who struggle to make ends meet. I realize that bringing commercial enterprises to Angola is important, but I think it is more important to promote micro, small and medium enterprises owned by Angolans and reform the Angolan laws to make them more business-friendly.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
One of the many perks of my job is that working in
Before I describe my trip, let me just say it was all worth it to hang out with a good friend. It can get very lonely here in
Also, it was handy to have a friend along to marvel at the WEIRDNESS that is Cabo Verde! Perhaps I should qualify that description… I had high hopes for Cabo Verde. The majority of music in
The beached on Sal were quite nice, but unfortunately most of the island is a desert, covered with new hotel and apartment construction. I awoke every morning to the sound of construction workers- this island is definitely booming, but I can’t say if it’s a good thing or not. My main complaint about
Our hotel was less than spectacular and did not offer the ocean views advertised. The owner was a French woman who could not be bothered to help us, not even to change a light bulb that sat burnt out the entire time we were there. We happened to pick the busiest week to travel there- Easter week- and daily tours and excursions were packed. When I asked of other activities- nice walks, buses to the other islands, she just shrugged and said, “You did poor planning. You picked the busiest week to come.” And left it at that. Well.
After Easter Sunday things died down and Angela and I were able to get on a tour of the island. The tour ageny told us to be outside waiting at 8:45 and our English-speaking guide would pick us up. We were outside waiting and at 9 am this truck with "EXCURSION- Tour of the
We suffered through on to lunch, which was supposed to be included in the price of the tour. Suddenly, he was said, "Oh no, you pay for it then take the receipt to the tour agency." which made absolutely no sense to me, and considering the place he wanted us to eat was a dump, we said no, just take us back. We finally got back, got out of the car and were like, "okay, bye" and he says, "Uh, you need to pay me." I showed him the receipt and said that we had already paid, and he says, "I have nothing to do with the tour agency. I'm a private operator." I start freaking out, yelling at him in the middle of the street, and of course he's denying that I ever said anything about a tour agency. So Angela and I walk to the tour agency, explain everything, and the dude comes in yelling saying that we never said we were with another tour agency and that we had agreed to the price (80 Euros!!!) before getting in the car! What a mess. Luckily the tour agency took care of it all, and we just left. We were pretty much dumbfounded- how did this yahoo con two people who have traveled all over the world!! So our impressions of CV were a bit soured after that.
It’s a shame, really, because apparently the other islands of