Luanda, Angola Report of what it's like to live there - 08/04/11

Personal Experiences from Luanda, Angola

Luanda, Angola 08/04/11

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

first expatriation

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Jakarta, Indonesia 8-hours flying time with Emirates from Jakarta to Dubai, plus 6 hours waiting time in Dubai, then 8 hours flying time from Dubai to Luanda.

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3. How long have you lived here?

2 years

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Husband's assignment in corporate

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

many companies own or rent houses in seperate compunds, which is much safer in terms of security than houses rent in public condominium, which experienced a lot of robberies in spite of 24 hours guard by the condo management. for people who live in South Luanda, comute time could be a problem because traffic is terrible at rush hours (could take up to 2 hours to cover 15 km. distance from home to office)

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

fresh vegetables are often difficult to get, most grocery items are imported, which makes everything very expensive and difficult to get

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

some hamburger and other restaurants, but very expensive

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5. What kinds of organic, vegetarian and allergy-friendly foods are available, such as organic produce, gluten-free products, meat substitutes for vegetarians, etc?

very difficult to find

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6. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

mosquitoes, malaria

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

through husband's company

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

price range from usd 250 - 400 per month, depending on area and duration of work. very easy to get, but difficult to get a 'good' one

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

yes

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

never use due to unsecurity of system

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

yes

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

some cable TV already available with good range of choices, moderate cost

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

local language is portuguese, advisable to learn just the basic, to give instructions to domestic helper / driver

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

no

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

4WD is highly recomended

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

available along with cable TV or provided by telephone coy (unitel or movicel)

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

unitel or movicel

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

casual

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

too big a difference between the rich and the poor, people who live in 'slum' areas don't even have good access to clean water, which makes robbery/thievery a big problem, even among themselves.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

poor medical care, better stay healthy and bring your own medicine from home

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

air quality is moderate, not so much industrial site, but lots of dust because the soil is sandy, not so many trees or greens

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

july is the dry, coolest month, very nice weather, whil december is the hottest with lots of rains

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

1 french school, 2 international schools, one of them with IB curriculum, which my son (9 years old) is attending. good facilities for sport, good library, has a canteen which provides lunch against small price, but also allows students to bring their own home lunch and eat together in the same canteen. school material chosen and decided by teachers according to their own background but allign with IB curriculum. overall good teachers

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

or people working in oil companies, plenty of programs are provided by the company. for others, there are also plenty of programs, bu against a very high price

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

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2. Morale among expats:

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

not for families with babies or small kids, due to poor medical care

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

some, but not big

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7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

opportunity to explore more of africa

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

good beaches, moderate safari parks, plenty of interesting places to see, but not very easy to reach

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

good paintings and arts

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

weather is nice, not to cold, not to hot

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11. Can you save money?

yes, everything is so expensive, so you won't want to buy many things here

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

yes

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

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3. But don't forget your:

own medicine

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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6. Do you have any other comments?

It sounds like a 'tough' city to live in, but overall, the people are nice, and if you are able to relax, accept and enjoy the situation, it's not a bad place at all!

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