Posts Tagged With: Indians in Luanda

Benfica – the bazaar in Luanda!

Benfica is the local art and craft market just outside Luanda city. Wood and ivory handicrafts, handmade jewellery, fabrics, baskets, oil paintings – you can find it all over there! It reminded me a lot about the flea markets in Goa. Handicrafts, browsing, comparing and bargaining. All the fun things about shopping! This also means that you have to manoeuvre yourself among a crowd of sellers trying to get your attention. “Por favor madam! Come here… I have the best statues here” “I give you good price!”. But that is a key characteristic of any flea market! 🙂

benfica art and craft market ,handicraft shopping in luanda, luanda shopping, places to see in luandaIf you know Portuguese, it’s much easier to converse with the sellers; but even if you don’t, its not that big a problem.  I felt buyers and sellers have a universal language of numbers :). The prices in Benfica are much cheaper than in regular handicraft shops in the city. Great place to buy some souvenirs for self and for gifting. The first price quoted is usually very high and going to half the price is pretty okay especially in wooden handicrafts. I bought a statue for 2K when the initial price quoted was 5K; my friend bought another for 3K when the initial quoted price was 8K but then she bought 3 of them so was able to bargain more! I couldn’t bargain at all in the baskets. The lady said 2000 kwanzas and when I proposed 1000, she simply went back to her weaving without even bothering to entertain in any bargaining! 🙂 But the fact that I saw her weaving it there, made me buy it without any discount :). Fabrics are all decently priced… you might be able to bargain a little if you are buying many items. We didn’t check on prices of paintings. They also sell ivory statues, but I didn’t even go to any ivory seller as it would mean encouraging poaching.

Benfica is open from Tuesday to Sunday. We went on a weekday afternoon so it wasn’t very crowded but I have heard that on weekend there are more vendors, so more choice but so would be the crowd of shoppers.

Going to Benfica was an experience. Till my benfica trip I had only been to the malls and standard shops here. Benfica was fun; it was interactive. You are not looking at a label for the price but you are actually engaging in conversation with the locals and if you like that (and a good bargain), plan a trip there.

Everything was so colourful and vibrant! I missed not having my camera there and could just take a few shots with my phone but I’m just waiting to find company to go there again and this time I’m going there just to click! 🙂

Directions: As you go from Luanda city to Luanda sul, Benfica is on the right after the first pier to Mussola. The market is covered so no need to worry about the sun, but it does get pretty hot so late mornings or early evening would be an ideal time.

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

a new home

“Time Flies” is such a reality! It was just yesterday when I landed in Angola, my new home, and yesterday when I was talking to friend in India she said “You’ve been there for more than a month! Post some pictures of the place!” And it suddenly struck me…it’s been more than a month!

One month of complaining, accepting, exploring, enjoying and loving the new country that is to be my home for a few years now. Luanda is lot like Bombay. The two most strikingly similar features being the ocean and the juxtaposed images of high risers and slums. I had been told of the vast economic disparities in the city and resulting crimes and thus warned of not going alone in the streets. As a result I was 90% of the time home bound during my first week and as a result very very homesick (home here being the one I had just left behind in India). That was the complaining week.

Then I came across this little piece of art by Lahar:

#artwithheart, moving to Luanda, create heaven where you are

Words do wonder when you come across them at the right time. This was like a wakeup call for me. Why was I complaining so much? I always said home is where Sikander and I are together. And I can create heaven here too!

I let go of the mental barriers I had created. Barriers of language, of safety, of laziness and of complaints. And so started the exploring phase. I made friends; I went to street markets; I realised people are very friendly and warm here. I little precaution is necessary but not so much as what I had been made to believe. People are warm and friendly. With a little Portuguese I would be able to go to most places in the city on my own.

Within our apartment complex there are families from so many different countries and the cultural exchange is amazing! I’ve already learnt Italian, Romanian and Indonesian dishes J. Cooking also helped in settling down (as did friends who came over to eat that cooking!). There are a lot of Indians here, but we currently have a small group of friends. Finding Indian ingredients is a bit difficult but then necessity is the mother of inventions and I’m looking forward to more innovative cooking and also bags full of food whenever we come back from India as most things are either not available at all or are very very expensive! 😀

We live close to the beach and I can’t ask for more. The nature puts on a show for us every evening when the big fire ball slowly falls into the ocean. Every sunset is unique and beautiful and its amazing how the whole sky gets filled up with fire embers in the evening! Ruskin Bond said it well “The sun makes such a fuss while coming down!”.

And with this one pic of today’s sunset, I will just leave by saying “we are home”.

Indian in Luanda, settling in Luanda, luanda sunset, Ilha luanda

Categories: Family, Travel | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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