Tuesday, June 1, 2021

2021 Travel the World - Week 22

I started a 50-week series in 2019 that I called Travel the World. Each week of the series I visited a randomly-selected country, sharing bits of information about that country. I then chose one tidbit of information about that week's country as inspiration for a card. As I explored those 50 countries in 2019, I knew I would continue on until I've visited every one of the 195 countries in the world, so I continued the series in 2020 and here I am in 2021, the third year of traveling the world. 

This week's country is...

Angola

Angola is bordered by Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north and east, Zambia to the east and Botswana and Namibia to the south. It also has a coastline along the Atlantic Ocean to the west.

Interestingly, a small part of Angola is actually separated from the rest of the country by Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Congo river.

With 990 miles of coastline, Angola has several beaches with wonderful scenery and landscapes formed by small islands, bays and sandbanks on its coastline.

It is a massive country and the climate in the north is much more tropical than in the arid south. The rainy season in the north usually lasts from November to April. The south gets scattered rain twice a year, mainly from March to July and October to November.

Angola is twice the size of Texas. The country spans 481,354 square miles, making it the world's 23rd largest country. It's the seventh largest country in Africa.

Portuguese is the country's official language. Other spoken languages include Umbundu, Kimbundu, Kikongo, and Tchokwe.

Angola is one of the richest countries in Africa; however, the country's immense wealth is held by a small minority of the population while over 40% of Angolans living below the poverty line.

Not everyone has access to electricity, safe water sources, proper health care, and education. The main livelihood for most of the people is subsistence agriculture. 

The capital city of Luanda is one of the most expensive cities in the world. It's known as the "Paris of Africa," a title it gets from the city's sophisticated culture and atmosphere.

Greeting in Angola, as in many other African countries, entails a firm handshake.  Then among close friends, there is also hugging and back slapping.  Such greetings are not to be rushed since they include asking about families, business, and matters of general interest.

It is also the custom to greet elders first when you meet a group of people.  And when you are introduced to and greet the elders or persons of high status, try your best to bow low.  This is the local sign of respect. 

Angolans are very hospitable. They love to entertain guests in their homes. 

If during the meal you are offered the last serving of an item, try to decline at first.  The host will then offer it again, and then again.  It is after the third of even fourth time that you should then accept the offer.  What makes this interesting is that …it is just the custom.

Angolans are more interested in pleasing you than telling you the truth.  If you ask a question for which the direct answer might make you sad, Angolans would likely not answer you truthfully. 


The giant sable antelope, which is endemic to Angola, was thought to be extinct since 1982. However, the antelope was ‘rediscovered’ in 2006 but remains endangered.

Iona National Park is Angola’s biggest national park. It borders the Atlantic Ocean with massive desert dunes, plenty of bird life and a slowly recovering mammal population.

The fin whale, also called the finback whale, is the second biggest animal after the blue whale and is one of the endangered species found in Angola.

Basketball is the most popular sport in Angola.

Angolans love their stews. The most common ingredients in the stews are beans, chicken, pork, fish, sweet potato and okra. 

Angola has a very young population. Interestingly, nearly 70% of the population in Angola is under the age of 24. Its median age is 15.9 years.

Angola has the highest death/mortality rate in the world.

Angola also has the world’s second-highest fertility rate after Niger. On average, 5.96 children are born per woman.

Angola's national tree is the majestic Imbondeiro. There is a popular belief that God planted this tree, also known as "Boabob" upside down. The unusual looking Imbondeiro tree can be found growing all over the country and on local artwork

Angola is very rich in natural resources. It is the second largest oil and diamond producer in sub-Saharan Africa.

China is Angola’s most important trading partner, as China receives 45.8% of the country’s exports.

Oil accounts for over 90% of Angola’s total exports and oil revenue accounts for 80% of the government’s revenue.

While diamonds make up a significant percentage of the country’s exports, most of the revenue from diamond exports is lost through smuggling.

Apparently, tipping is not commonplace in Angola. If you do decide to tip, however, you don’t need to do so in cash! Cigarettes, for example, are allegedly an acceptable form of tipping.

Angola is the birthplace of the dreadlocks hair style.

One of the largest waterfalls in Africa, the Ruacana Falls is located in Angola. This beautiful wonder of nature is an incredible 2,300ft wide and 390ft high!

Another impressive waterfall in Angola is the Kalandula Falls which are located on the Lucala River. The falls are 344 feet high and 300 feet wide. They’re one of the biggest waterfalls by volume in Africa.

Angola grows bananas, coffee, sisal and sugarcane, rears livestock, catches fish and produces forest products.

Angola experienced a 27-year civil war dominated by foreign intervention which included the USA, Cuba and South Africa. By the time peace came in 2002, over a million people had died.

After 27 years of civil war, there's a shortage of men in the country. So it's not unusual for a man to have several "non-official" wives.

Photographing government buildings, military sites, and such other structures is illegal in Angola and is penalized.

The Angolan armed forces are among the best equipped in the region, and includes an Army, Navy, and Air Force.

My inspiration for this week's card is based on this fact about Angola... Nearly 20% of Angola is classified as forest and woodland with its plantations of eucalyptus, pine, and cypress trees, as well as its Rain Forest region.



Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp Set: Unity No Better Words stamped with Gina K Onyx Black and Lawn Fawn Lemonade Inks

Paper: Cougar 110# White, Recollections Black, and SU Pineapple Punch CS and Paper Studio Black/White Diagonal Stripe DP

Dies: MFT Stitched Rectangle

Embellishments: Enamel Dots from an unknown vendor

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