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Goodbye Congo, its been fun (not really), more like an experience.

After making a run down to the airport to get a ticket to fly me the hell out of Kinshasa and to Goma on the eastern border, I had some down time to eat some street food, i was feeling much better, and sucking down Fantas whenever I could. I spent a lot of time just lying in my bed watching the clock until my flight. It was two days of this but I was in my hotel room with a plane ticket out. It was just a matter of time.

On Sunday, I was up and ready to go first thing as it was another almost sleepless night. The flight was fine even though Congo airlines are considered the most sketchy in the world. The Russians run most of the route with planes, mechanics, crew, all part of a pre-set Russian team. They just hire a person to sell tickets and a stewardess and they are making money. I actually flew with CAA one of the national airlines and even though I had been recommeded not to had a very enjoyable flight.

We landed in Goma which turned out to be pretty cold and dreary, a welcomed surprise from the jungle heat I had been living the last two months.

In Goma, I hired a moto-taxi to take me to a cheap hotel. I had originally planned to take some time and possible do volcano climb or possibly do an Gorilla trek which is supposed to be the upitomy of the activities to do in Africa. An actual life changing event. Well after a half an hour on the back of this guys bike driving all over the place carrying my packs and him finally stopping at a resort hotel which had rooms for $65US a night, I started getting edgy. I told the guy to take me to a cheap hotel like I had asked. He blundered around for another fifteen minutes before I made him pull over and ask some other moto-taxi guys. They told him of a place and he took me there. I was already a bit on edge when we got to the bar/brothel/hotel, when the guys working there started to try and rip me off on the exchange rate and kept telling me to pay with dollars. I kept telling them that this was the Congo not America and I would pay with Francs. They kept on until I finally walked out. I was through. I couldn’t deal with anything Congo anymore. I had to get out or I would start my own war to add with the other dozen they already had. I grabbed a moto taxi and told him to take me to the Rwanda border.

Once I got to the border, the Congolese immigration stamped me out with hardly a look and as I was walking to the Rwanda post a guy stopped me and said he was immigration and wanted to see my passport. I was just imagining the horrors of more problems but now in Rwanda when he asked if I was doing okay and if I had any questions. I told him I was just passing through and he just told me “Welcome to Rwanda, were glad to have you.” I went to the immigration office where a bunch of tourists were getting their stamps as well and the guy took my passport stamped it out and said have a good time. My blood pressure just started dropping. I went back and asked the guy how I could get into town and one local guy who was getting his stamp just asked me if I wanted a lift as they were heading into town. Sweet, blood pressure drops some more. They gave me a lift into town and dropped me off at a change bureau so I could change my money. They then pointed out where I could get a bus to take me to Kigali the Capital. Blood pressure, almost normal. I thanked them and they took off. Things were looking up.



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-9 responses to “Goodbye Congo, its been fun (not really), more like an experience.”

  1. Jeff says:

    I have just returned from Lubumbashi and I feel your pain, I was very happy to leave and it is nice to hear others feel the same way.

  2. Yashar says:

    hi there,
    Dutch Mike sent me here and told me to read the congo thing to compare to my own experince.
    sorry to hear it didnt go so well for u. i personally loved the place. of all the places ive been in africa so far DRC is for sure near the top of my list,but then again its one of those places where u cant be there unless you know someone there. sorry once again things didnt work out for u. crappy but travels can be like that sometimes.
    Yashar

  3. snw2srf2stt says:

    Hello Jeff,

    Lubumbashi wasn’t too bad for me. Found a great internet place and a not so bad of a place to stay. Did my bucket bath/rain water thing there. It was great training for the time to come.

    So were you a tourist, NGO, working there, or lost?

    Steve

  4. snw2srf2stt says:

    Yashar,

    It was pretty difficult. Thats the thing about traveling, you can stay in one spot and get a really good feel with a place and even get integrated, or you can just “hit the highlights” and pass on through. For me the discomfort was the constant drag all the way through. It just tends to drag on you never giving you a chance to catch your breath. There wasn’t too many clubs where I went so partying just didn’t happen. No electricity or water can put a damper on partying.

    Good travels,

    Steve

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