08 September 2008

Tango Delta

So we’re not allowed to drive in Luanda (or all of Angola, technically), and for the most part we’re discouraged even from walking around on our own. We get around thanks to “Tango Delta” – otherwise known as the BP car service. People’s houses have code names (Beta Charlie 55, for example) and when you call for a car an English-speaking dispatcher sends a car to pick you up. Once the car is dispatched they send a text message with the type of car and license number, and they call again when the car arrives. To say traffic in Luanda is bad would be an understatement, so sometimes it can take awhile for the ride to arrive. When it does it’s usually a clean 4x4 with the air conditioner blasting (which is completely unnecessary this time of year). Talking up the drivers is good Portuguese practice, and through interacting with them I’ve managed to become known as “Mr. Geremy.” At least that’s the name they use when sending the confirmation texts. With a little more conversation I might even get a J in there somewhere. I'll take it - at least it's better than being called macaco...

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