Right around noon, the taxi dropped us at the only hotel we’d managed to find online, the Hotel Maiombe. Now, “find online” didn’t mean it appeared bookable anywhere, and when I tried to call the only number I could find online it just went to a dead end. So, we were hoping it was there, and not too absolutely depressing.
When we got there, yes, they did have rooms, and the lobby area didn’t look too bad, a corner filled with local crafts for sale, and a very festive sitting area:
The rooms? Well, I was less than impressed. Air conditioning was barely functional, standard rooms only had twin beds, and yes, there were suites with a queen bed (but not much more space) for $50 more. The suite also felt a little cooler, so I decided to go for it. Not sure if it was a worthwhile choice or not, but… At least things appeared mostly clean, and the rooms were functional, albeit a bit spartan.
Biggest downside was, it was a complete ripoff. About $160 for a two star (at best) room, or around $210 for the suite. Also, no internet in the rooms at all. Thus, we hung out in the hotel bar/lounge in the evening, which did have internet and very affordable drinks. Around $4 for huge beers, so all in all, it wasn’t bad. Just a total ripoff for the price paid.
Just one other comment on the hotel: when I went to bed around 11 or 12, it was warm in the room – very warm. The small air conditioner was putting out a little cool area, but only enough to cool the area right underneath it. So, I slid the bed right underneath it, and ended up sleeping face at the foot of the bed to get a little cool air – it was finally enough to make the room good enough to fall asleep. At least there were no mosquitos in the room!
So, the minute we checked in, the clerk demanded payment up front – in cash. He spoke no English, but we finally managed to communicate we’d head to the ABM, and be back in 10 minutes. Fortunately there was no shortage of ABMs in Cabinda, and it was easy enough to take care of. Everything sorted with the hotel, we headed out to explore for a bit.
Mission one, find lunch. We headed to the first restaurant Jordan had found, which was billed as a local sports pub that was “popular with expats.” There were precisely two people inside, and one dish on offer, and it just seemed off. Bonus though, it was next to the local football club, which had a cool statue of their mascot outside:
So, we kept walking. There was another restaurant down the road, so we kept walking:
That restaurant was closed at lunch, so we headed back to the main square, where I thought I’d seen a sign for a pizza restaurant. Nope, no pizza restaurant to be found, but did find the Cathedral:
We were striking out on food, but keep on going. Jordan had one more restaurant on his map, so we headed in that direction. Eventually we found it…and it was open! We ended up splitting a medium pizza, the perfect amount of food…but that and two beers came to nearly $20 for my half…yeah, Angola was living up to its reputation as incredibly expensive. By this point we were both melting in the heat, so headed back to the hotel in the heat of the afternoon to take a little siesta.
Later in the afternoon, we headed out for more wandering. The heat was much more tolerable by this point, so we headed out in the same direction we’d gone before, looking for the church and monument to the pope’s visit. First, we walked by a small church:
A bit further, we came upon an interesting graveyard:
The cemetery was across from the church we were looking for. Managed to get lucky and snap a picture with a bird in flight right next to it:
And in a park across the street, a giant statue of the Pope, commemorating his visit:
…along with other miscellaneous important Catholics from Angola’s history:
We kept walking along the coast, probably another 2km, and came across another group of statues outside the old local stadium:
Finally, after maybe a 3-4 mile walk through the heat we reached the street our hotel was on, and started heading back to it. Local apartment building:
Relaxed at the hotel for a couple hours, having drinks on the patio out front while people watching on the street. Was an interesting mix of people, even though the city seemed largely empty. There were maybe half a dozen americans hanging around, most likely oil workers transiting between the complexes we’d driven by and the airport. Sundowners on the patio:
After relaxing for a few hours, we headed out again to find some dinner. We’d spotted place earlier in the day that was the perfect delicious irony: a Chinese restaurant, with a French name, in Angola. This HAD to be explored. On the way, the main square was all lit up for the festive season:
Then, we arrived at Chez Wou, with Chinese waitstaff, Christmas tree and all:
…and the menu promised not pork, but SWINE!
The funny thing about the menu, is that just about every chicken, beef, and pork dish was the same price. So, clearly that wouldn’t play a factor in our choices. We decided to start with some springrolls, which were decent although it was pretty obvious they were frozen and had like been bought in bulk and just fried up. Oh well, they were adequate.
For the main event, I couldn’t resist seeing what their version of lemon chicken was. Again, the chicken breast was clearly frozen and thawed, and the sauce was mildly lemony, but not that toxic nuclear yellow colour it normally is in north america:
I was still a little hungry, so decided to finish it off with some ice cream:
All told, it was about $25 for all that food, so probably one of the most reasonable things we’d found in Angola…and it was adequate. Definitely not tasty or special, but it did the job at a reasonable price. Then, it was back to the hotel to hang out in the lounge for a bit, use the internet, and wind down before bed since we had an early flight the next morning!
Great report. The place sounds as I sort of expected.
Nice pic of the church with the exotic bird flying by (with the long beak, it looks like a large kingfisher).
Thanks! Yeah, Cabinda was really much as I expected too – quiet, but at the same time just plain…strange?