Thomas Friedman, my favorite economist and a NY Times columnist, wrote in his book “The World Is Flat” that to determine how open the country is, one only has to see the footprint of the golden arches (McD) within the country. He further insinuated that the golden arches often paved ways the way politics couldn’t. Presence of golden arches in-country often implies how open the country is, how flat the country is, which in turn means how integrated the country is to the rest of the world. It is funny how not long after I read that book, I moved to Luanda. No McDs, no Starbucks (I wish, right?), no Pizza Hut, Prêt-a-manger, Quick or any other fastfood chain, besides the South African Wimpy (dying, if I may comment) and Brazilian Bob’s Burger (very far from fast and no two burgers are the same: yesterday without lettuce, today without bacon, most days just the bun, mayo and the patty). You can find MakDonal though, but let me be clear: try at your own risk.
Two years and counting, I’m surprised at how much Luanda has changed. I can find my Indian & Chinese spices easily now. From time to time, Bonne Maman the french confiture at affordable prices. Chips Ahoy and Oreo are being stocked regularly. Even Fresh Thai Coconut Water in cans. And my most recent splurge, frozen waffles from Belgium! 🙂
It would be interesting to return to Angola three or five years from now. Maybe InterContinental Hotel would be done by then, and the mega shopping mall a stone off my apartment would be done too. Maybe then I would be able to find my Walker’s Shortbread Cookies Ginger flavour. Hmmm one can only hope.
Oh, Mr Friedman? In the case of Angola, it’s not the golden arches. It’s KFC who opened the door with its original recipe. You heard me, no crispy or spicy and don’t even ask about Zinger.