Paul from next door was just with me and we sank a few beers together. Right about now is high tide and as you will have seen from my last post, his place is taking a bit of a pounding. I have a link to his place on my blog (just scroll down the left hand side). I may not like Rico but there is no denying, if you are in Luanda and want to see a bit of the nicer side of Angola, then his place is the one to go to. The Kwanza Lodge is part of a group called Eco Tur and they make a big thing about ecologically friendly tourism. Obviously sport fishing is part of the menu on offer and they hate local fishermen (who use nets to catch the fish they need to feed their families thereby spoiling the Eco Sport Fishing). They even had a go at me when I said I wanted to plant some Eucalyptus trees on my land saying they weren’t indigenous (I was just going to buy the saplings up the road). They are the true champions of the environment then and I bet their clients feel all warm and fuzzy.
I have the window open to let in the evening breeze but will have to close it soon before the mosquitoes invite themselves in. In the meantime I can hear the surf bashing away.
I am mad as hell, incandescent with rage. I am sure that Nice Paul has nothing to do with it but Rico, the little shit, must know what is going on. I was so fucking angry I dug the local government coordinator out of his afternoon slumber and dragged him along with me to take a look. Obviously, being an official, he has lost the use of his legs and is only used to driving in his Landcruiser so he was in for a rude shock when I took him on a several kilometre slog through the ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ that is both his manor and his responsibility. He is a lot younger than me and is probably a damn sight fitter so maybe, knowing my previous as he does and seeing that I had frothed myself up with outrageous indignation and was now moving faster and harder than he had ever seen me move before, he was more concerned with the prospect of carting my corpse home and explaining to Marcia why I had died running through a swamp. I did have a reason, a very good one and since my companion was Bota, the guy I had only recently risked the same coronary he was now worried about when I hauled his arse out of the sea, he owed me.
This morning was great. Yes the high tides and unruly seas and winds are wreaking havoc but the fishing is fantastic and it was the fishing and the beauty of the area that attracted me here in the first place. I feel sorry for Paul who has been told this is his last three month stint before he is laid off. I even feel sorry for shithead Rico and I am certainly not gloating. It’ll be me next and I have worked out that I need to build a barrier that is made out of solid, reinforced concrete weighing not less than 4,000 tonnes. Don’t ask me how I arrived at that figure (notice I did not say ‘calculated’ that figure), I am not a real engineer but I know that if you are up against the sea then what you need is a bloody solid mass fronted with a load of rough heavy rocks to disperse the energy. So I kind of imagined how thick and how tall such a barrier should be and then calculated the volume (note, this time I said calculate, volumes I can do) and knowing how much a cubic metre of reinforced concrete weighs, I arrived at 4,000 tonnes, slightly more than the German Wehrmacht poured to defend the French coastline against invasion. Now that's a few bags of cement at US$10 a shot. I asked Marcia how much big rocks were and she said $350 per 12 cubic metres so I stopped calculating and went fishing instead.
There are two kinds of experts. You’ll run into the kind who are self effacing, careful and when you try and pin them down they will say something like, ‘well, I can’t be entirely sure but in principle, it could work’. Now I know they can be annoying, after all, what the hell are they being paid for but at least they get everyone thinking the problem through again. Then you get the type who superciliously inform you that they are absolutely sure and brook no discussion. Well the owners of the White Star Line were convinced the Titanic was unsinkable so give me the shy retiring expert every time. Thankfully, I do not have to deal with experts on a day to day basis anymore but having just tried to get my generator running again after the auto throttle failed, I can tell you there are still plenty of them about in all social strata. Working under barrage of conflicting advice it was with enormous satisfaction that I switched it on and light returned.
"There was nothing and God said, let there be light and there was still nothing, you could just see more of it". Humour was wasted on these bastards. That was when I went fishing. Just as I was leaving, they asked me what I was going to catch (snickering like school girls). Peche Prata, I said. Tarpon.
That was when they really fell about. No chance, said the experts. The season is over. Fine, I said, drink yer beer before it gets warm and off I went. Sometimes there is such a thing as deep joy. For me it was getting back and seeing the ‘experts’ still hanging around my shop, drinking the beer that they had paid me for and tossing down this tiddler...
My driver Jamie was also there. I'd asked him to come and collect the truck to go and get the A Frame that Julian has fabricated so that I can hoist the engine and replace the mounts on my big generator. An urgent job now that the little generator is running only because I bodged the broken part. Before you go, I said, I need to talk to you. He told me that he would only be a minute as he was going to dump the rubbish. This is one of the draw backs of running a shop in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, there is a lot of rubbish generated. As the truck always leaves here empty, it is part of Jamie’s duty to pile all the rubbish in (I have positioned decapitated oil drums around the place and trained the locals to use them) and take it to the official city dump.
‘Hang on a sec’, I said, ‘What do you mean, you will be back in a minute?’
‘I am going to dump the rubbish were Rico dumps all his rubbish here in the Bairro’
So this is how I ended my day stamping through a wetland that would qualify as a UN Heritage site with Bota, the village coordinator in tow. I had to see where Rico, boss of the Kwanza Eco Lodge and darling of the yoghurt knitting tree hugger sects of the world, dumped his rubbish.
The following pictures speak for themselves. While Eco Tur paint themselves green, this is how they get rid of the waste from Kwanza Lodge. I walked for kilometres through otherwise pristine nature and all I saw were heaps of rotting and rusting waste. I even found piles of used generator filters so clearly they are not bothered about polluting a wetland with waste oil. And they lectured me on planting some Eucalyptus trees.
‘What are you going to do about this, Bota?’
‘What can I do? I went to them and complained’
‘Bota. Watch my fucking tracer’.
Finally, and another reason I am so glad to be out of town and by the sea next to a river instead, the rains here bring the usual havoc on the roads.
And the NCAP rating for Toyota Starlets? 0 out of 10
My rubbish, by the way, was carried to the city dump in my truck driven by a driver nursing his thick ear.