Crew Life – 2 Days in Luanda
I was wondering how to pick the countries order and I didn’t know exactly which one to start with. I thought I’d put the ones I liked best first, but when I opened my photo album from Luanda, a lot of memories came back to my head!
View of the City from Morro da Cruz
I had the opportunity to go there only once! It was a highly disputed flight, not because it was an attractive tourist destination, but because of the allowance we got. Everywhere we stayed, we received money to eat and in Luanda, the amount was very good. Starting with the flight, the trip was easy! Busy, running around but with no major problems! The crew was great, my seniors too and I even met an Algerian couple who would change my layover there!
For those who do not know, Luanda is in Angola and is one of the richest countries in the world. The problem with this detail is that the wealth does not reach the population, because it is a very expensive country, with poor basic conditions and a lot of violence on the streets! But unlike some other places, when I arrived I wanted to hit the road soon! With the crew, we went out for a walk near the hotel and soon, I realized that we drew to much attention! The people would come very close to us and they didn’t always seem to have good intentions. Just imagine, we were a bunch of tourists wondering around!
View to the Beach from Morro da Cruz
In one of the situations, I had an insight! A guy came walking up to one of the girls and I kind of walked through him speaking portuguese, as it’s their language too! He was quite surprised! He asked me where I was from and when I said Brazil, everything changed! They loved Brazil! Wow, that was our way out! Even because, right up front, two guys were hitting each other in front of a bar and one of them had a gun! We needed to get out of there and hopefully everything went well! I walked talking my ears off with everyone in the streets, to let them know there was a Brazilian around! It was my way of making us safe and after walking for a while, everyone decided to head back to the hotel!
That afternoon I spoke to my purser and told her about the invitation I received from the Algerian family to visit the city the next day! She was very worried and did not want me to go alone! In fact, we did not need to ask permission to go anywhere, but she had met the couple on the plane and she was really nice, so I decided to talk to her first. I managed to convince an Australian girl to go with me! She was very nice too and we already knew each other from training, because we arrived in Dubai at the same time! We also had friends in common and I thought it would be fun!
National Museum of Slavery – Crew that joined me and our driver
The husband arrived the next morning with his driver/security guard to pick us up and, since it was a weekday and they worked, they could spend the day with us! We went to their house, we had lunch at their pizza place and then we went with the driver throughout the city! He was very nice as well and I noticed that he liked the family too! He drove us around, told us many stories and I would translate everything to my crew friend. Every story he told us, about the country, about Portugal, about any thing that would come up!
One of the places that got up to my memories was a small museum, right on the edge of a beach and that used to be a small chapel! It was the National Museum of Slavery. A – practically – abandoned place to its fate, but that kept a world of stories inside! When entering it, I was happy and sad at the same time. Happy, because even though it’s a horrible part of what happened with slavery, it’s history and I have this passion for history.
National Museum of Slavery – More than 4.5 million Angolan’s were sent to Brazil as slaves
To go in there was as if I was reliving something that I have never lived. It was very strange and as we listen to our drivers stories, I felt really sad! What a shame I can’t remember his name anymore! Unintentionally, he was a great guide to us and to hear everything that that represented, what each object was, how people had lived there and what happened to them.. ouch, that went straight to my heart!
National Museum of Slavery – Replica of the Caravels
The museum is located exactly where the slaves were baptized and placed to embark on the caravels that left to Brazil and to the other colones. He was relatively new – despite it seemed neglected at that time – and was founded on 7 December 1997.
National Museum of Slavery – Map with the Slavery Route
Luanda was also one of the places I had the chance to buy one of my favorite paintings! When we stopped at an open-air craft fair – ahhh how I loved those fairs! – I caught my eyes on it and fell in love! I remember it as if it were today! It was a big painting, didn’t had a clue of how I would take it home, because I did not want to fold it in 4 to put in to my suitcase. The canvas was not a proper canvas, but a piece of cloth that looked more like a sheet! But I plucked up courage and bought it! And I think it was one of the best purchases I’ve made in all my year in Emirates!
Arts and Crafts Fair in Luanda
It was already getting dark and it was almost time to go back! But before, we went to meet the family again for a great Iftar! It was Ramadan, the muslim fasting period, and they wanted to celebrate dinner with us! They invited several people, whom I did not even know who they were, but that did not matter!
One of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen!
Our purser was very worried already! I told her that we would probably head back before dark but how they set up dinner, we could not deny! I can’t remember if we called her or if she call us, but everything was fine anyways! And as we got back to the hotel there she was, waiting for us at the door as if she were a mother, indeed!
I was happy, despite all the harsh stories I heard. I had the opportunity of meeting people who were very kind to me, from different religions, conditions and backgrounds. And everyone, even with any problems they faced, still managed to make two strangers trip, an incredible experience!
They may not remember me, but I still keep them in my heart!
Lili is half Peruvian, half Brazilian, a dreamer Pisces kind of girl, curious, life lover and travel addicted! She`s been to 53 countries, loves to explore different cultures and to travel to the most unusual destinations. Currently lives in Finland, is a monthly columnist for the website Brasileiras pelo Mundo (a Brazilian platform of expat women) and founder of Hey, I am Lili. She believes that the most important things in life are to laugh out loud, a good wine and people she loves always around anywhere in this world!