Not so long ago I started a email newsletter with very restricted circulation: a palavra do dia (word of the day). Its purpose was to teach myself and a few friends and family some meagre words of kimbundu, one of the major Angolan languages. I regret to say it was a rather short lived and somewhat unsuccessful project, but I did pickup one or two words. One of them was Kizua, or "word". My really limited kimbundu has not progressed much further since then, as the title of these series of blog posts attests. What I'm trying to say in terrible pidgin kimbundu is "words from Angola". Perhaps one day a real kimbundu speaker will help me fix the title.
Another pet project of mine was A Notebook of a Return to My Native Land, chronicling my return to Angola. This one was slightly more successful, and a complete book was actually "published" in the end - if with a somewhat restricted circulation of one copy. At the time, many people protested about the long length of posts (all the ten of you), so this time I'll try to keep them short and (hopefully) frequent.
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After a rather long trip, we arrived in the motherland safe and sound. As usual, Cousin R had made a sterling job of organising it all, a feat even more amazing considering she now dwells far away in the provinces and did everything by phone. Cousin Z picked us up and gave us a mini-tour of town.
Its strange but if anything Luanda hasn't changed that much: there are lots of new buildings - all of them sky-high - but the key things are as we remembered, if not worse. Terrible traffic, bad side-walks and expensive things. Luanda is incredibly even busier than any city in Vietnam, with the added messiness that only big African cities seem to have.
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Our first mission after a good night rest was to obtain my cedula. We hoped the job was going to be easy as I already possess a shiny"certidao narrativa" (not quite a birth certificate, but almost. Don't ask.). No such luck, said the man at the Conservatoria (Registry Office). We need to figure out where my parents did the original registration and Lord knows where that was.
Mum gave us some tips. We're going to queue up from 07:00 onwards tomorrow morning in the vain hope that one of the places she suggested is the right one (Alvalade). Of course, cedulas are only requested on Mondays or Tuesdays and collected on Wednesdays and at best take eight days to be processed but hey, we'll try it on anyway. Our spirits are high. And we're that desperate to get out of Luanda and hit the real beaches down south.