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Archive for December, 2006

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Ready, set, nope. Ughhh..

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

Come tuesday to buy your ticket for wednesdays train. Oh, the train doesn’t leave until thursday and I have to come back on wednesday to buy the ticket. No problem. I digress, this wasn’t a total bust as when I did go and buy the ticket on wednesday, as I learned, patience is a virtue, but connections will get you a ticket. I showed up on wednesday and waited patiently in line while a few people bustled up to the front window, checked prices, and left. A few people tried to explain to me about something being wrong, but I didn’t know so I just smiled and stood there. Finally, a guy grabbed my arm and took me to the 2nd/3d class waiting area. There a mass of about a hundred and fifty people sat waiting. I took a spot in the back and waited. Waited for two hours before I started questioning whether this was all a big joke on the Mazungo and to distract me while people were buying up all the tickets at the front window. I took a walk and headed back up. This time another guy grabbed my arm and had me follow him back to the waiting area. I asked him in my getting better French if this is where I was supposed to be if I wanted to buy a ticket. He said yes, and asked what class I was wanting. I told him first class. He took me to a row of seats at the front of the waiting area and had me sit there. Apparently, the different groups sit in different areas and they sell the tickets in that order. I was at least a little more comfortable in knowing that i was in the right place. Another two hours went by when a smiling man came up, grabbed my hand, and we walked hand in hand through the waiting area, down the corridor where the freight was stacked and into the office area. I don’t know, the guys holding hands thing is still a bit tough for me, even though it is part of the culture. Call me a bit homo-phobic okay, but I still find it funny as hell watching two big ass, gangsta looking guys, walking down the road with their pinkies intertwined. Anyways, I remember he is the one I talked to the first day who the window lady referred me to as we were having troubles communicating. He had one of the guys run around getting my ticket arranged. In ten minutes I was out the door with my first class ticket. With as many people waiting and how few spots were open for first class, I am almost sure they would have sold out before they got to me since everybody was doing the “oh hey, I know you, aren’t you the third cousin to my neighbor’s, gardeners, rake consultant’s sister’s friend’s cousin? And then they would squeeze in and scoot me further down the line. That was on my mind as I pranced out of the office with my ticket in hand. It’s good to be a Mazungo.

Well, after a quick morning and a short walk to the station this morning, I noticed how peaceful and quiet things seemed to be. I was an hour early as recommended, but yet there were very few people there. Finally, I noticed on the board that the date of departure looked changed. After back counting from my entry date in my passport (my watch died), I realized the train didn’t leave until friday. Crap. Oh well, one more entry and one more cool breezy day watching goats getting dissected.

Oh, I am back to the plan of taking the two trains to Llebo and then the boat to Kinshasa. From there I might just fly out if I don’t have a lot of time. I’m thinking that I am starting to lag behind my already slow pace and might never get done with Africa if I don’t start making a few moves. We’ll have to see.

Photos of Lubumbashi, DRC

Monday, December 11th, 2006

Steve's Lubumbashi map
A tourist map that I made. Not the easiest thing to make as it was worrisome making sure some cop or soldier didn’t see what I was doing. Not much info on the Congo so I thought I would help to bring back tourists.

train station (3).jpg
Some typical African food. The white stuff is Nsima which is maize (corn) meal that is boiled and served in lump form. You squeeze a bit together in your palm and use that to grip the food that you are eating. My favorite is with beef stew as having some sort of juice adds to the flavor. The nsima itself is pretty bland and is more of a filler than anything. The Africans are addicted to the stuff. Usually there is some sort of vegetable porridge as well like okra, cabbage, or peppers. For me though, can’t get enough of the beef. This was from a Big Mama’s food stall in Lusaka.

Lub train station.jpg
The train station.

cool church.jpg
A cool church. Very modern. Probably the first new complex since the war.

street view.jpgHeavy rain.City center
Street shot of the main street (Kabila Ave).

Copie de escape plan-1.jpg
This is my escape plan should problems arise. I’m wreckless but prepared wreckless.

Caa flight infoPricing guideCAA pricing guide
Flight info for CAA Airlines.

Facts of life, Congo style.

Saturday, December 9th, 2006
With cheap internet and not a whole lot to do while I wait for the train, I guess the blog will get some needed attention. Not too much in quality, but I will be updating more often for the ... [Continue reading this entry]

I’m a Congolese now!!!!

Friday, December 8th, 2006
I'm in. Sitting in an internet cafe in Lumbumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo. My worst border crossing yet. I should have figured after the hassles that I had at the embassy. The shared Taxi drops us off and ... [Continue reading this entry]

End of Zambia.

Friday, December 8th, 2006
My last days of Zambia went fairly quickly as I rushed to get all of my stuff prepared for the next stage. A lot of scampering around looking for a French phrase book, lots of medicines, books, a new ... [Continue reading this entry]

I WIN! I WIN! I WIN! Steve 1 Congo 0

Sunday, December 3rd, 2006
Copy of visa-1.jpg Kiss my ass Government of the Congo (or at least the part that is in Lusaka), because I have my Visa and I am coming. I went in friday ... [Continue reading this entry]

Congo waiting photos.

Sunday, December 3rd, 2006
Copy of chair-1.jpg My personal lounge chair. See the authentic smile I laid on for three weeks. Can't tell that I'm pissed. [Continue reading this entry]

Day 17 Congo visa wait.

Friday, December 1st, 2006
I wasn't able to get the meditation focused enough to mentally lift the pen from the side cushion of my plush waiting chair, but I did read an entire Daniel Steele novel from start to finish. That would be ... [Continue reading this entry]