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Archive for January, 2007

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Boat life Congo Style.

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

And were a writing. I will get caught up if it kills me. It donned on me that I still have a bunch of photos to upload and they will tell a better story than I can by writing all this stuff, so I will make the rest short and sweet so I can get to the photos.

Okay, leaving Ilebo, on a boat. Oh yea, for those exotic food lovers, one of my only meat diets on this little sojourn was monkey. Yup, chewy, hairy, stringy, monkey meat. Not bad actually, especially when they marinate it in the peanut or palm oil and serve it with rice. Got photos, and it isn’t as disgusting as it sounds.

[read on]

Ilebo, DRC: River life

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

Ending up in Ilebo, the deepest to the central of Congo that I was going and the end of trains made it a somewhat joyous place, but also somewhat daunting as I was now in the middle of the Congo and still had to get out.

Now a big part of traveling in the internals of the Congo is the lack of tourists and the deep untrust of strangers especially by anyone wearing a uniform (which was half the population.)

My first negative experience was in Kananga when I was picked up at the train station by an Immigration officer. There I had to go to the train station immigration, questioned, and then taken to the immigration headquarters a hours walk away. There I was held under the pentance of not having a permit to be traveling in a minerales zone (diamonds.) I had heard a permit cost $500, but was told that I had to pay $100US. My response was hell no, I’m not paying. That in turn caused the guy to say fine and took my passport and left. The captain of the station immigration pleaded with me to pay and said that an officer was on his way to arrest me. Just before the guy with the machine gun came in, we settled for $10US. With that, a stamp and a signature, I was on my way.

In Ilebo, I didn’t even make it out of my cabin before an officer was standing there to take me away. Some guys I met went with me to make sure I didn’t have any trouble. All that did was get them in trouble about their ID’s and the officers thinking that they were trying to scam me. In the end, after all the paper work, I was told that I would be escorted to a hotel where I would stay. Pretty convenient. The next day I was to report back and we were to go and visit the commander. The next day I ended up visiting the commanded of Immigration, Captain of police, Captain of tourism, and the commander of the military post. It was one long day. The next day I was picked up by immigration and escorted down to the boats to see about arrangements. There we found that no boats would be leaving for a few days so I had to wait again. I spent the time visiting the market and seeing the river. One of the surprising things is that there is no food. No restaurants, no stores selling prepared food, nothing. Since it is such a pocket community and there really aren’t any visitors, there is no need for restaurants as every body just eats at home. I found that the only way to get food was to ask the mamas at the surrounding houses if they would cook a meal for me. That was the only way to get any food besides peanuts, nsima, and dusty bread.

Luckily it rained a couple of times so I was able to collect some water for showers and drinking. The Congo rivers look like the chocolate rivers in the Willi Wonka chocolate factory, so drinking water is still tough to get.

After almost a week, a boat was going to head down river to a place called Dubai. My plan was to catch the boat, head to Dubai and from their take ground transportation to Kinshasa.

At the moment I am in Kinshasa having just escaped from the Republic of Congo. Tomorrow I am flying to Goma where I hope to escape from all places Congo. I have had enough.

Hopefully the next update will come from Rwanda.


Kananga, DRC: Dumpster bathing

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007
I'm a bit feverish. I'm sweaty. I can't write. So I am just going to shotgun it. We got into Kananga, the capital of the Kasai province, the mineral area. Hot, dusty, dusty, dusty, with a look ... [Continue reading this entry]

Congo DRC: From Lubumbashi to Kananga.

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007
Well, Mother Congo is going to do her best to make my life a living hell. The DRC Embassy is closed so I can't get my Visa. I was desperate and figured they must give visas at the ... [Continue reading this entry]

Merry X-mas, Happy New Year, I’m still alive

Monday, January 15th, 2007
Happy holidays and all that happy stuff. Sorry about no writings lately but it just wasn't possible. At the moment I am a bit under the weather with Malaria coupled with the sheer exhaustion of traveling through the Congo (DRC). ... [Continue reading this entry]