Monday, October 5, 2009

Mussulu, Finally

We were invited to have a picnic on Mussulu by Kim and Tomi & as we’d never actually been there, eagerly accepted. We’d read and heard about Mussulu long before we’d first arrived – how teachers would get a boat across to the beach & spend the day away from school. It had sounded idyllic. But once we arrived, we’d been tempted by beaches much further afield and had never got around to checking Mussulu out. Mussulu is a very long sand-spit connected to the main coast a bit south of the slavery museum, but by a very bad road. Most people take boats across. It is very long and runs north parallel to the coast for about 30 – 40 kms. The Ilha in the city is similar, just much shorter.

It is very easy to get to from Luanda Sol, as one of the main “ferry” departure points is less than 15 minutes from school. (The other main place to get boats across to Mussulu is by the slavery museum). Kim and family arrived with Bora and Tina and Tari’s family as well. Also there were some other friends of Tomi and Tari who were coming too. Eventually everyone arrived with all the barbeques and chilly bins (cool boxes) and drinks etc. We needed 2 boats to get us & our gear across – but fortunately, once we landed we only had to carry stuff a few minutes up the beach into the shade.

We set up our “stake” and the guys got the barbeques up & lit. There was a “fish” barbeque and a “vegetarian” barbeque as well. The kids got coated in sunscreen & then they hit the beach. The section of Mussulu that we were on was quite narrow – we headed away from the city side to the other side which was actually facing a lagoon – just a few minutes walk. Unfortunately there was a lot of broken glass lying around in the sand & you had to be very careful where you walked. But the sea was very gentle and ideal for the kids to play in – even Sami.

Bill & I walked around the edge of the lagoon towards a large flock of sea birds. We couldn’t get very close to them without walking a long way around, so we contented ourselves with standing on the beach opposite them, taking photos as they spooked themselves into the air occasionally. There were egrets, herons, sea gulls and lots of smaller sea birds as well. Each species seemed to have their own piece of territory along the stretch of beach they were sitting on.

The barbeque was great – a local man came along & insisted on helping with the barbeque – we rewarded him with a big plate of cooked fish and salad for him & his friends. The kids had a great time & it was relaxing for the adults as well. After lunch Bill & I walked in the opposite direction – away from the lagoon & to a wider stretch of sand where more birds were nesting. The view of the city in the immediate background made the beach scene a bit surreal.

At the time we’d asked, one boat showed up to take us back – we caught that along with some of the other friends who’d come along & before we knew it we were back in our apartment. Although the beach was by far the dirtiest we’d been to, the sheer convenience of getting there & home again was a big factor in its favour. The nicest part really was the getting together with friends and having such a nice day!

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