Family travel tips to share and how to master hotel stays is one of the most important.

Malongo Base; Cabinda, Angola …….Work, Work and More Work!!

Photo: The ubiquitous fruit bats. Hundreds everywhere!!

Don’t misunderstand me. I like my job. However, when I work 12 hours a day each and every day (half day for Sunday), life gets a tad tiring! I am amazed at the people here. They have a tremendous work ethic. No slackers here! Some get to work at 4:30 am and knock off for the day at 8 pm!! And then do it all over again the following day …. for a total of 28 days per ‘hitch’. Such is the life of a “rotator” – someone who works a rotational assignment wherein they toil for 28 days and then have off for 28 days (at their home, wherever in the world their home may be!). I, however, am just a visitor who is here for ‘only’ 15 days. I used to work in Kwanda Base way back in 1998. (FYI: Kwanda Base is in Soyo, in Northeastern Angola, just across the River Zaire – about 50 miles south of Malongo Base.) Now I seemed to have lost my physical stamina and the ability to stick it out for a full 28 days. Two weeks is enough for this aging person!! On my trip last year (see the post I placed in this blog from April – May, 2009), I was not as stressed out because I and my colleague then did not have to work such a robust schedule.

Ah well, enough complaining …. herewith some pictures from my trip to Malongo Base.

The residences here in Malongo are basic – nothing plush. Small beds, TVs, some rooms have refrigerators (not my room, however) and all rooms are usually well air conditioned.

Monkeys abound. Along with other critters.

Lest you think Malongo is inhabited only by American expats, guess again! Most who work here are Angolan, of course. However, there is a healthy representation of people from many other countries.

On September 15th, my colleague and I had a trip offshore to one of our company’s oil platforms. Our commute was in one of these small helicopters (The “HM” logo stands for ‘Helio Malongo’).

Aboard the chopper, aproaching the oil production platform for a day’s worth of work.

The new Cabinda Airport. We departed here on September 21 after the long, tiresome and quite convoluted trip home that began at 12:30 pm local time and ended at 7:40 am Houston time the following day (Sept. 22) – about 24 hours of travel!!! PS: You will note the striking similarity between the Angolan flag and the flag of the former USSR (with the hammer and sickle). This was a result of the time when Angola was a nominally socialist country. Nowadays, however, Angola is pro-West with a largely pro-market oriented economy. The country is blessed with natural resources: diamonds in the NE part of the country and oil production from offshore oil fields.

The start of our looooong trip home.