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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 watch, changing money, and emergency supplies like powdered Koolaid. I did prolong my leave day because I wanted to watch the Bremen/Barcelona Soccer game (not really but it would make my friend Nicholas happy to think so,) but also because I wanted to arrive in the Congo towards the weekend so that I would not have to wait too long for the train. With only a month visa, it is going to be diffficult getting through my route.

At the bus station I did a change from taking a bus straight to the border to stopping in Ndola, a mining town in the middle of what is called the Copperbelt region. The only extraordinary part of my stay there was scoring on a nice hotel room that I got for the same price as the overpriced shithole places. The area is booming, so $15 was the going rate. I just stopped by this way too nice looking place and they told me $30. I said no thanks and left. The guard called me back and told me to offer them something. I through out the price of the cheapest place that I had found and they agreed. Sweet. Hotel room with bathroom, tv, fan, and mosquito net. After a couple of months sleeping in a tent, it was just marvelous.

From there I wanted to stop at a place called Chingola, but it was the same problem, very expensive rooms. Finally, a guy told me that if I went to the border town of Chililabombwe, there were cheaper plqces there. I got back on the mini buses and made my way to the border.

In Chili, I found the same expensive places. Finally a guy told me about a place called Willy’s Hideaway down by the mines. Sounds kind of sketchy doesn’t it. Well, it was. About an hours walk from the center, down by the shanty town, there was Willy’s. Willy,s was basically a compound for an alley type bar/whorehouse. It had a row of rooms about the size of a closet, but those were all rented as it was a thursday night. I ended up getting a suite (a pipe with water that dribbled out made the suite part.) I was scared of getting ripped off the whole time because I got in an argument with the lady who showed me the room. After we settled on the price, she saw that I had more money and told me that I had to pay more. She walked off saying I had to pay. After a worrisome night it turned out to be okay and I left with all my possessions.

And that my friends is the end of Zambia.

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 and did my usual glance and sit as all the other crap really isn’t necessary at this point. About 10am, a guy came in dressed to the T’s and had almost everybody bowing down to him. As he was leaving, I stepped up and asked him if I could have a word. The room silenced and the guy gave me this look like I just pee’d in his coffee. It was definitely a “who do you think you are peasant” moment. I just asked him if he could help with a Visa. He just pointed at the receptionist and sneered “He may assist you”, and walked away. My first inclination was to tell him that he was a dressed up piece of shit, but then I thought of it in a different way. With this guy being the almighty and telling me the receptionist could handle it, I was set. I would just tell the receptionist that the big guy gave him the power so stamp that bastard and let me out of here. Unfortunately, the receptionist said that the guy was the Ambassador and did not deal with the Visa process. Back to square one.

Later, the receptionist confided in me and told me that the Chancellor would be coming in a few minutes and that I should ambush him. When the guy came in, the receptionist gave me a glance and so I attacked. I cornered him and while he was in a loss at what in the hell was this peasant talking to him for, he rambled on about something in regards to no visas. I had already had a back up plan and threw it out as I thought my original plan was a little to adventurous. So, basically I lied. I told him that I wanted a Visa and that I was going to take a French course just across the border in Lumbumbashi in order that I would have the French language down when I traveled along the West coast. He stammered something and told me to leave the passport with the receptionist. I gladly complied and took off before any more questions.

At three, I went in and took my seat. The rec. guy was running around finishing off the visas for the day so I did not bother him. On one of his passings he told me it would be just a minute and that he had gotten the approval, so it was just the final paperwork that had to be done. I was ecstatic, but cautious as I talked to a guy who was there in the morning and was being helped specifically by a member of the staff. He was transporting truck loads of Coal from Zimbabwe for the mines in the Congo. The trucks were held up at the border and the mines needed it. That was why one of the Embassy ladies was specifically helping him. He was supposed to have been out of there before noon. I heard the reception guy tell the other one that the Chancellor had left without signing the paperwork. This guy was screwed. He said that not only was the visa a problem, but their transfer manifest would expire before the weekend so it they did not get the trucks moving that day, they were screwed. That shows how big of a prick these guys are. Even for stuff they need they will screw the people over. How many times I heard “when you enter the gates, you are in the Congo, so sit down.”

Oh well, after another hour the guy handed me back my Visa. I was almost done. They owed me some change so I waited another hour, and then after giving the guys a tip, I was out of the hell hold.

I have my Visa and I can get on with preparing for departure. Happy days.

Oh yea, every person in the Congolese Embassy with the exception of one gate guard can kiss my ass.

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]

Self numbing ass.

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006
Day 16 Wednesday, in Lusaka, Zambia waiting for something about my Congo Visa. The stage I am now is that I go to the Embassy, put my name in space number one on the visitor login book and then ... [Continue reading this entry]

Congo update.

Monday, November 20th, 2006
Good news. The election results came in. Kabila has the bigger army and the most votes. His competitor however is disputing the results but is not fighting using machine guns. He vows to use the legal ... [Continue reading this entry]

In the works, Zambia

Monday, November 20th, 2006
This is the road trip from Malawi to Lusaka, Zambia. It was my 16 hour bus trip that was supposed to be 6. 100_3880.JPG100_3881.JPG[Continue reading this entry]

Challenges of life.

Friday, November 17th, 2006
The only reason that I succumbed to the border black mail was that I had to come to Lusaka to get my Visa for Congo. One of my by challenges of this trip was to travel the Congo River ... [Continue reading this entry]

My first breakdown.

Friday, November 17th, 2006
Well, not my breakdown, but my first bus breakdown that has happened to me since I have been traveling. I have heard many dastardly stories about them from other travelers, but for me it has always been smooth sailing. My ... [Continue reading this entry]

Zambia- Expensive land.

Friday, November 17th, 2006
So the grind began. Leaving Liwonge was pretty easy as there really wasn't much of interest to me. I was fairly close to the border so I was in another mini-bus and on my way. Not too much ... [Continue reading this entry]