January 18, 2006

Getting around in"the Other Congo"

Getting around in the other Congo proves to be a lot less problematic than imagined. These are three strategiesthat we used there:

1. Get in a taxi and annonce said location. Wait for taxi to fumble around, pretend he knows where he is going and sneak into a gas station to ask his buddies where the hell "Malonda lodge is". After 5 more minutes in the taxi, ask the driver how far this is. Wait for answer. If answer is "oh, about 5 or 6 hours, provided I don't stop to sleep before night fall", argue with cab driver, open door mid-ride to force him to stop, get out of cab and proceed to look both angry and confused. At this point, a nice Congolese and his wife should stop their car and offer to give you a ride. If you are very lucky (like we were), one of the passenger will be Senegalese and at this point you can both loudly reminesce about how cool Dakar is.

2. On the way back from Malonda lodge, walk the few miles in dirt road back to the main paved road. Squeeze yourself on the side of the reeds when a large SUV bouncs along the trail. Again, look lost and friendly. Proceed to be picked up by an incredibly skinny and tall Senegalese woman, her Welsh and Aussie offshore oil buddies, and a blonde Congolese lady. Get dragged in, salty, sunburned, dusty to a wedding-after party (of a gorgeous Congolese young lady and her new 55 year-old, overweight, Italian husband). Take a taxi home when initial driver becomes sufficiently drunk.

3. Wait for friends to come to your hotel in taxi and get picked up instead by friends with their new friend in a pick-up. Ride the back of the pick-up full of sun-burned white people while locals make cat-calls at you. Demount the moving engin and put hair back in order.

All and all, some fun ways to get around, but kids don't try this at home (or abroad).

1 comment:

Carl said...

How was the party?