BootsnAll Travel Network

Kinshasa and God.

Two days and two nights in a Land Cruiser with heavy duty Christians. I guess that should be two days and nights for some Christians with Steve. I’m not a big religious fanatic and I believe that it is quite unnecessary as living a good life is a lot better than just studying about it. I guess it correlates to me wanting to see the world rather than read about it. Well, it didn’t take long for the conversion process and my expressions of faith before we reached a stand still and conversation dropped considerably.

Oh well, two days and two nights were what it took and the power of Gods freight movers kept us moving without any real hassles. Now if you look on any map, the road from Kitwit to Kinshasa is pretty nice looking. Probably 15 years ago it was. The driver told me that it used to be in such good shape that they had regular bus services that would allow you to get all the way to Lubumbashi while following the power lines the whole way. Now, after fifteen years of no repairs and many wars, it is just one huge wash out after another. You could get going for about a few hundred meters before a huge section of the road is washed away and you had to come to a stop before you traversed it. I think I could have kept up at times on my mountain bike. We stopped in some villages at either a church or a church members house which gave us quite a few bathroom breaks and places to stretch our legs. Still, we were moving most all the time with two drivers and a helper keeping us going. The ride was pretty ordinary at this point and my camera batteries were dead so it was just a matter of shifting weight between one butt cheek and the other. This also was my time of contemplation of doing these out of the way trips. I want luxury for a while. I want a bunch of other tourists around me. I want food, water, and shelter. I want, I want, I want…. That is what I mentally did for two days. All the things I wanted and the things I no longer wanted to do. McDonalds came into play very heavily in these deep thought processes.

We finally rolled into town and they dropped me off in the central suburbs of Matonge, a section of the city that was supposed to house some budget accommodations and a lively atmosphere. We said our goodbyes and promised to pray (I was going to tell them that I was going to convert to McDonaldism and would pray to the almighty Ronald McDonald, but they were pretty cool in the long run and had saved me from Kitwit, so we exchanged info and I was on my way.

The first thing I noticed about Kinshasa was that there was food everywhere. Guys bbq’ing stuff, stands of fruit, juices, bread, candy, cookies, everything. There were drinking patios everywhere and tons of people shuffling about. It was so good to be back in civilization. I ran into a guy who knew the area and he walked me around for a hour as we tried different hotels. They were all pretty pricey so I picked a fairly large but run down hotel a little out from the center. They had a decent room for $14US and it seemed a quaint enough place with a restaurant and a bar next to it. I got settled in, went down to the center and bought a couple sticks of bbq meat, some bread rolls, and sat at one of the outdoor bars and drank bottle after bottle of $.50 Fanta’s. I was in heaven and was just laughing on the inside. Civilization is so incredibly good even though most people would think that Kinshasa was still third world.

It was a thursday night and I decided that I would head to Brazzaville, Republic of Congo (the other Congo) the next day as I wanted to go on a business day so that if there were any problems the embassies would be open.

The next morning I met a student who was passing through and we ended up sharing a taxi together down to the “Beech”, where the ferry took people across the Congo River to Brazzaville. He was a really nice guy and was actually moving to Cape Town the next week to go to the University there. We exchanged notes as I spent a good amount of time there. He helped me get a ticket and through most of the formalities as it was a huge circus with people running all over, people trying to grab my passport, and telling me I had to pay for this and that. I ended up getting a very expensive ticket $20US, paying the dues, giving the amount of currency I had, immigration formalities, and then locked in a cage with a few hundred other people. I had no clue what was going on and consider it one of the biggest cluster fucks that I have ever been in. Unfortunately they would not let my friend in so I was on my own. It was insane with these guys carrying whips and clubs who would go around and just beat people who were in the wrong place or moving too slowly. Were talking beatings where there whole head and face were covered in blood and you could see where their heads were cracked open. I was actually glad at that point to be locked in the cage. Finally, they called a few of us outside and we taken to a different ramp from where the ferry was. We were taken to a regular little speed boat and shuttled across in the little boats. I found out that is why the $20US. There was a big ferry that most of the people were taking except for me and a bunch of guys in suits.

It took about fifteen minutes to fly across the huge river and I landed in the Republic of Congo, Brazzaville.

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-2 responses to “Kinshasa and God.”

  1. Bart Govaert says:

    Steve, fantastic reading, good luck with your travels. I travelled in DCR about 10 years ago (it was still Zaire) and not much seems to have changed, although in these days no e-mail, mobile phones or ATMs. Great people, hard country to travel through!
    Take care,


  2. snw2srf2stt says:

    Hello Bart,

    Thanks for the compliment. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I have a feeling the conditions in most places have not changed at all with the exception of perhaps Kinshasa plus and minus. I think they are on the brink of getting over the hump though. Ten years from now, I think it will be much different, that is why traveling now and in the past is so much more valuable. The way it was.


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