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> Crossing the Congo river & Kinshasa

Monday, 8 March 2010 - 14:18

Day 158 – Sun 7 Mar – 14,203km, Kinshasa, DRC

To my great relief, I finally received my DRC visa on my fourth visit to the Embassy on Saturday and have now crossed the vast Congo river to Brazzaville’s even more expensive and chaotic bigger brother, Kinshasa. While the actual boat crossing was barely 10 minutes, the bureaucratic minefield on either side took a good few hours to delicately negotiate with my passport frequently disappearing for worryingly long periods of time in the hands of track suit clad Congolese ‘officials’. Fortunately I ran out of CFA currency and was able to present an empty wallet at various forceful requests for further money to ease mine and particularly Bertha’s passage, thereby helping to avoid any ‘special’ tourist charges!
 
Arriving in Kinshasa I was faced with the chaos of an 8 lane dirt and tar central boulevard currently under Chinese construction and with no road markings. Fortunately, being Sunday, it was by all accounts a relatively quiet free for all. Like across the river, photography is strictly off limits thanks to government sensitivities and a ubiquitous army presence. With the DRC supporting the biggest UN peace keeping force in the World there is also an incredible number of UN vehicles, buildings, expats and associated up market restaurants, bars and hotels. This may not be so good for the wallet, but it does mean there are some great venues for watching sport, something I plan to do a lot of over the next week as the frustrating delays continue in my quest to secure a notoriously problematic Angola visa. At least I’ll be able to arrive at the Embassy scrubbed up and smelling of British roses thanks to the running shower (my first since Franceville, Gabon!) and washing machine which I currently have at my disposal courtesy of Richard Wynne who has very kindly provided me with a place to stay. My special thanks to Richard.   

Comment Count: 4 Comments

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Comments:

well done!


This is an epic expedition! Good for you!

Golf


Hi Rob

Hope the Angola visa application is going ok. We still have our fingers crossed.

I just spotted a rather nice looking golf course while poring over Google Earth, right in the centre of Kinshasa and about 50 yards from the centre ville. Unusual, and I daresay expensive, but 9 holes in Kinshasa would be a claim to fame.

Bon chance mon ami!

Nick G

Rob, Once you have the


Rob, Once you have the Angolan visa its the the home run to SA and the Comrades. Will be pleased to have you out of the DRC . As Clem and Sue have said World Cup fever  is intensifying and there is no doubt that we will host a great World Cup.We are looking forward to hosting you and your mates in Cape Town.Jen and David.  

Great news!


Well done Rob! Fantastic progress and as an earlier message says, it is good to start seeing familiar names low down on the Google maps - Zambesi, Ndola, Luanda etc. I hope the Angola paperwork is not too tedious and time wasting. Sounds like the forced rest, running training and servicing of Bertha might be quite beneficial. World Cup fever is building up noticeably in RSA. Stadiums are complete, airports noticeably better, roads nearly done, tickets going well too! Only problem is that Rooney seems to have an injury! Keep well sport! Love Clem & Sue

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