Sunday, 15 April 2012

Shipwreck Beach

Christian. Marcus, Emma and Eve at Shipwreck Beach.
About two hours north of Angola is a beach, with more than five kilometers littered with  the remains of dozens of abandoned ships.  I can't tell you exactly why, I can just assume they were un-sea worthy and then grounded.  Maybe they are gearing up to get into the ship breaking business.

The Drive

The drive took us through the city, which is always an adventure in itself, and not for the faint of heart.  Our trip took us the same route Marcus would take to the Sonils base where he works, so I understand now when they talk about crazy road conditions they mean pot holes that can devour whole cars, and streets that wash away in the rain.  Once off the Marginal, the strip of land that runs along the ocean front, we turn on to the unpaved roads near the entrance of the port base.

The divide between two worlds become most evident here.  Behind us we have the skyscrapers and store fronts selling Nike sneakers or Lacoste shirts, and ahead are miles of suburaban slums.  The first thing you see are the hillside shacks teatering on the brink of outcrops,  with a blanket of grey garbage flowing down the hillsides to more shacks below.  Wastewater, wild dogs, pigs and chickens running in the streets.  People carting their daily water about on their heads - as residents do not have running water, they carry it from what ever water sources they can find.  Others get them from water tankards and then cart it home, the water is not free.  Most people don't have electricity, but as you can see in the pictures, there are power lines draped about in places. Some people have generators outside their houses.  There is no sanitation, subsequently in the early morning we see people with their buckets, full of grey water from the night before, throwing it into open gutters or the streets.  During the rainy season, this water floods the streets, and homes.

Local boys scavenge for empty beer bottles for money.  Angolan Recycling.

Love this hand-painted add for detergent.

Try this at home.  

The Beach
After the city limits we (eventually), and having taken a detour, got to the beach.  
The beach was interesting - odd, but nice.  What a juxtaposition (a word I could use often here in Angola); ancient crumbling ships next to throngs of happy-go-lucky beach-goers, playing football, drinking beers, driving quads with AK-47's.  I kid you not.  We saw a bunch of yahoos on a quad bike zipping up and down the beach with a full on armory.  So we thought,  Shall we go for dip?
Really a nice day trip.  But again, one of those trips that I find hard to write about.  I think I am verging on "is'nt it grand but is'nt it shocking and arn't we privlidged", kind of touristic crap that I did'nt want this blog to have.  So, I'll keep this post brief. Enjoy the pics.

The girls created quite a stir, all the little girls on the beach followed them
 around all afternoon, giving them sea urchins and fresh cockles.

The sand had a high content of Mica, giving it a lustre of gold, shimmering on the beach.  Our geologist in residence says that Mica on a beach is a reflection of its distance of transport from source - ie. it hasn't travelled far.

We forgot Eve's hat, so she wore my swim shirt on her head all day.  

Typical road-side farmer's market where we buy the majority of our fruit and veg.  Here you see sugar cane, which we buy then cut up into stick and chew on for sweet snacks.

All the mussels and cockles we dug up or received, went for a yummy meal!

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