Cup coughs up swashbuckling hounds and rats for breakfast

Fri Feb 3, 2012 5:54am EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Brian Homewood

MALABO (Reuters) - "Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds" are still alive and kicking in Equatorial Guinea, where snake and wild rat feature among the culinary delicacies and empty six-lane highways contrast with dusty townships.

The only Spanish-speaking country in Africa, Equatorial Guinea is co-hosting the African Nations Cup with Gabon, allowing a rare glimpse into one of the continent's most secretive nations.

Usually averse to publicity, the quirky country comprised of two parts - a small region on the African continent and Bioko island in the Gulf of Guinea - has found itself hosting dozens of foreign journalists and a few hundred visiting supporters.

The first surprise on arrival in Malabo is that, unlike any other country in sub-Saharan Africa, the visitor is not swamped by taxi touts, instead having to hunt for the vehicles which are hidden in a dark corner of the car park with the driver invariably asleep in the front seat.

The drive into town is along a sparkling new, fully-lit six-lane highway, with almost no traffic apart from a broken-down taxi which has been abandoned in the fast lane. Shiny new apartment blocks and office buildings line the road.

However, turning down a side-street quickly leads to typically African townships, where residents have to collect water from communal standpipes and sanitation is rudimentary.

More developed neighborhoods have an almost Caribbean feel, with simple bars pumping out local music.

ECLECTIC MIX   Continued...