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> Visa dilemma

Thursday, 11 March 2010 - 19:18

Day 162 – Thurs 11 Mar – 14,203km, Kinshasa, Congo

Having gone to great length to ensure I had all of the necessary documentation for my Angola visa application (special thanks to those at Oxfam, Stuart McMahon and the British Embassy in Kinshasa for their help with this), I then spent two frustrating mornings crammed into a sweaty waiting room with 50+ similarly agitated people being served by only one immigration official, only to be told that they would only issue me with a 5 day transit visa! With close to 2,000 km between borders such a feat is barely achievable on a motorbike let alone bicycle. This has left me with two options: 1) to travel through Angola regardless acquiring visa extensions as I go at unknown cost and difficulty or 2) pioneer a route of 2,400 km of mainly dirt roads in unknown condition through the relatively high risk DRC to Zambia in 25 days during the wet season and before my DRC visa expires! With the 2010 clock ticking, my current DRC visa expiring and my 5 day transit visa ready for collection tomorrow (Friday), I am desperately trying to get further information to make the decision easier. 
In the mean time I’ve also been getting quite used to an easier life having been treated on the last couple of nights to some delicious restaurant meals courtesy of some friendly British Embassy staff who have been advising me and also Richard and Claudine my current hosts, who, recognising my insatiable appetite took me straight to the Chinese ‘all-you-can-eat’ buffet - my stomach is still recovering! In truth, this extended break from Bertha, the longest of the trip to date, is killing me and I can’t wait to hit the road again. Fortunately I have been able to do some running although, while it’s a great way to explore the city, the heat, dust, pollution and maniac drivers, means it’s a pretty unpleasant experience and I’ve caused quite a stir locally by taking to the trails through the slums.
On a more serious note, I have also met back up with Hans, the guy I cycled with through the Congo, and rather worryingly, he is trying to recover from the life-threatening cerebral malaria, thankfully he was in Kinshasa when the parasite struck and I have no doubt he’ll be back on his bike in no time. 
Thanks as always for the comments of support, hopefully I’ll be reporting on progress southwards again imminently.  

Comment Count: 1 Comments



We hope that your visa

We hope that your visa problems are resolved swiftly and that you can get going again without any unwanted pressures of time limits etc. Also very much hope that your friend and fellow cyclist gets over his bout of malaria quickly. You seem to be dealing with all the different problems that are thrown at you with calm and persistence! Keep smiling. And here's to Bertha!! Love, Vanessa and Piers

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