Blue Dahlia, Black Gold a journey into Angola by Daniel Metcalfe

Good but not good enough. Daniel is a resilient young Englishman who is interested in Angola and organises a budget travel journalism trip. Starting with the 'easy bit' a stay on the laid back isle of San Tomeo he then travels Angola from end to end, meets lots of snapshot people, has a lot of experiences cf Laurie Lee, Patrick Leigh Fermor and comes back to Blighty and writes all about it.

Daniel is strong on information. I now know a lot more of Angola's history. His well- referenced language index is the bit I would return to, words that convey a lot. Piles of initials! MPLA is one of many. Bribery and corruption is 'gaseo', literal meaning - fizzy drink. It's the dosh you hand over each time if you want road cops and other officials to be helpful and let you through. A country where oil and diamonds give a damn good lifestyle to those who have their snouts in the trough, the starving millions in the mousseque shanty towns have to scrabble for crusts and crumbs.Many have not had all their life and energy kicked and beaten out of them .The government works lots of precarious systems. The oil company has an independent and prosperous existence. They are good to work for and pay university fees.

I would have learned more if he had stayed in one place for six  months, given us the egg as well as the shell of the doubtless nightmare land. Lots of scratchy surfaces, does he feel the pulse?