Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lobito, Angola - Thursday March 3 2011

Lobito was our first stop after sailing north from Walvis Bay. It was originally a Portuguese settlement, founded in the mid 1880s but was heavily influenced in the 1900s by communist countries and has ended up being one of the poorest countries in Africa.

We were not allowed to take photos of the port area, official public buildings, officials (police, etc) and uniformed personnel. I call this a touch of paranoia.

This is one of the many apartment complexes in the city. No matter how poor these countries are there's always money for cell phones and satellite TVs.

Here's a family relaxing by the river - perhaps a picnic and a swim.

As we get to the outskirts of town, we see the hillside dwellings of the citizens of Lobito ... Angola's version of Sausalito perhaps?

We saw these markets at every town and city we visited. It seems to be the way most people do their shopping. We saw very few supermarkets and nothing anywhere near the size of the U.S. markets. Sidewalk stalls and these gatherings were the main shopping venues.

Even farther out from town we saw the way the citizens lived - near the train tracks - houses put together with whatever is available and maintained the same way.

Our tour took us to the town of Benguela where we stopped for a quick visit and were entertained by this very athetic local dance troupe.

We visited a local Museum of Slavery - but because these countries are so poor, they can't restore their heritage buildings - but we saw what was left and could only imagine how it was operated.

We visited a Cathedral and were allowed to take photos inside - which was quite well maintained.

Another shot of urban living in Lobito.

Everyone plays soccer in Africa and this is the National Stadium - we passed it on our way back to the ship.

We visited the old Portuguese Fort of San Pedro on a hilltop with fantastic views of a brand new bridge, river and landscape.

Here's the beautiful bridge, as seen from the fort.

After looking at the bridge for a while, I saw these two women, each carrying babies and shopping, crossing paths. The women learn to carry items on their heads as young girls, and it because almost automatic as they get older. They wear a balled-up scarf on their heads with a flat top to make it easier. I took photos of everyone I saw with stuff on their heads .. it was fascinating.

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