|Huambo's government palace across main square in upper city|
Huambo was founded by the Portuguese nearly 100 years ago under the name Nova Lisboa (New Lisbon) as the centre of the large agricultural area on the central plateau. It's quite
|'Verboten' National bank in lower city|
|War damage on October 5 street|
|More war damage|
Chinese workers are laying new crazy paving on the sidewalk outside a nice little pavement cafe in the upper city, giving a whole new dimension to crazy. They first tore up the pavement to lay new water pipes, according to a friendly fellow tea-drinker, but these were too narrow and burst under the pressure. Then they laid larger pipes, but put mud under the crazy paving instead of porous sand, ensuring some magnificent buckling during the rains, and equally magnificent dives by Huambo's high-heeled divas on their way to afternoon tea. Now they’re on their third try, putting down a sand foundation. My fellow drinker swears Angolan worker could do much better.
Opposite is a lovely park in front of a pink mansion with two fountains and a copse of beautiful trees marred by one glaringly fake plastic orange and yellow palm tree. Now why would they do that? But the cafe's a great place to see the Angolan world go past – crippled beggars pulling themselves along the curb; more footless mine victims; a briskly walking woman nonchalantly suckling her child; walking vendors hawking shoes, sunglasses, and all sorts of knicknacks; lots of children, some of them shoeless; your ordinary average citizen going about his or her business; and of course the Chinese taking jobs from unemployed Angolans.
|Fake palm amid lush natural vegetation|
|Market shoe shop under the trees|