This is just not fair. You hear me? It’s not proper!
Travelers like me are proud of the hardships we endure, trekking around this continent, it’s what keeps us going, and we enjoy telling and retelling our “war stories”, of airports and hotels in dodgy places.
And then this happens.
They opened a new airport terminal in Luanda. No more scrums, no more daft forms to fill in, polite immigration officials, passport scanners, stamp, stamp and whoosh – I was through in two shakes of a lamb’s tale. Once again I had forgotten my vaccination certificate, and even then it took just 5 minutes and US$50 to get a new one (did I get an injection? Of course not!), from a very smiley doctor, who agreed that the health official who had very officiously marched me in to him, with lots of finger wagging, was a bit loco.
Extraordinary, in and through in less than 15 minutes. Shocked! Let’s just hope that there will be something to complain about at the new Luanda airport the Chinese are building at Viana (or not building, as the case may be – I hear the project is as good as abandoned).
But the Hotel Presidente still manages to triumph in the anti-customer care department, with the receptionist his usual unwelcoming, laid back self (he’ll check you in when HE feels like it, which is not necessarily the same thing as when YOU ask for it!), and the porter actually asking for a tip. Not a single staff member ever smiles, the barman is rude, the internet doesn’t work, the laundry isn’t operating. Just try to stay away from them, they might do the decent thing one day and go away. On check-out, not a single word of apology for overcharging me on every single item on my bill.
Happily, there are some new hotels opening, at last. The Hotel Talatona in Luanda Sul is really nice. Pricey – US$600 for a single room (yes, that’s for one night!) – but the staff know how to smile, and everything appears to work!
Happy Travels- even in Angola!