4. the driver and his mate were armed with AK’s

The Lighthouse (Now)

After chow we got on the vehicles on top of all the kit, the driver and his mate were armed with AK’s. We went sight seeing, and found a sign that said “Restaurante” and decided to go get something to drink. The restaurant was closed, it consisted of a small building that had quite a few bullet holes in the walls and some of the windows were bordered over. Glass windows were rare in Angola. There vegetation was sparse and all was that thick leafed type of plant you find along wind swept coasts. Just past the building was a huge sand stone cliff with the ocean crashing down below. It was like a scene from a movie. We had no time to get down to the beach.  On the way back we saw small informal markets, at that time there were none of these back in South Africa, they look precisely the same as the ones you find in the New South Africa, terrible. Sticks held together with string or strips of plastic and roofs made of rusty pieces of tin. Raw chunks of meat hung from wire attached to the roof, alongside dried salted fish. I had never seen dried fish of this size before, only the tiny kapenta fish in Zimbabwe, but the smell and the flies made the idea of eating any of this lot somewhat repulsive. The fish had been cleaned next to the stall and a few months worth of innards just lay there rotting in the sun. This was our first glimpse of how unhygienic this country was. Our delicate city noses could not take much of this and we did not linger very long. We had been told a vehicle would take us to the training camp late that afternoon, so headed back to the airbase. It turned out that is was the same vehicle we were on and the kit underneath us was actually for us.

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