Luanda, Angola Report of what it's like to live there - 04/24/13

Personal Experiences from Luanda, Angola

Luanda, Angola 04/24/13

Background:

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

No. Asia, Europe, west coast and east coast of USA.

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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?

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3. How long have you lived here?

10 months.

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

Embassy.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

Broken-down homes that are not repairable and cheaply-made high rises and condos, but they don't last.

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

Terrible quality, very expensive. Ship everything you can.

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

More canned meat.

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

There are two KFCs that people get sick at all the time.

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

Mosquitoes, lots of mosquitoes. Dengue fever. Malaria is making a come back this year in the city.

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Daily Life:

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

Fedex or DHL.

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

10-20usd an hour

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

500 USD a month at least.

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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?

Don't use them.

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

Two: Roman Catholic and non-denominational.

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

Newspapers, no. TV, yes. 100-300 USD for subscription per month

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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?

You should have Portuguese training, as local companies do not require English. English is not a national language.

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

The streets are in bad condition.

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Transportation:

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

No,they are strictly off limits to expats.

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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 SUV with bull bars and under-plate. Roads are in terrible condition, and people rear-end each other all the time.

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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?

Yes... 1MB 120USD, 3 MB 360USD per month

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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?

You can't rely on them but you will anyway. Texting sometimes works when calls don't.

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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?

No. Visas are nearly impossible to get.

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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.

It is not safe to walk more than a block in day or night except at the marginal.

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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?

Malaria and dengue fever in the city. For any moderate-to-serious health issue you must leave country to see doctor.

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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?

Moderate.

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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?

Like Florida.

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Schools & Children:

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

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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?

No.

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Expat Life:

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

Large.

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2. Morale among expats:

Low due to housing, lack of goods/services, the slow-paced lifestyle, loud music all night, and traffic conditions.

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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?

There are several night clubs, but they are not very safe to enter or exit late at night. You must stay alert.

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

Okay for couples. Outdoor space is limited and unsafe. Therefore it is not good to be alone or with family.

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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?

Yes, against Chinese and South Africans.

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

Beaches.

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

Beach, restaurants, stay home.

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

Stuff you can find at any art/wine or culture festival in USA, except it is more expensive here.

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

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11. Can you save money?

No, you must leave often for sanity, goods, and relaxation.

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Words of Wisdom:

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

No.

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

Expectations of a normal city life.

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3. But don't forget your:

Patience and positive attitude.

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4. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

youtube luanda: see what it was like pre-1970s and the broken city it is today.

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

Check Amazon. In S. Africaan stores youll get a lot of anti USA and pro-communist propaganda.

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6. Do you have any other comments?

Good luck!

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