Monday, 2 June 2008

21st May 08

Date: 21st May 08

Location: Kinshasa, DRC

Weather: Scattered cloud and sunshine, humid, 37°c

Status: Desperate to get a good day’s drive under our belts, me especially as time is pushing on.

Up in time for breakfast which was included in the cost of the room, so took full advantage even though time was against us as the rest of the group were waiting in the car park for Bre and I. Started with pastries, then full English (damn good) finished off with fruit and yoghurt and rich black coffee. Sweet.

The road between Kinshasa and Matadi is renowned for being a good tarmac stretch nd so it was to prove. It was a fantastic drive winding through the hills, only problem was the time it took the truck to catch us up after every steep section, the constant rolling of the body heated the tyres considerably and after an hour of this one of the inner tubes burst so Kees had to swap a wheel over.

We arrived in Matadi after a 7hr drive and with the waypoints of another Catholic Mission found our nights accommodation in the city. After we made our way to the Angolan Embassy to start the application process for our Ordinary Visas, or so we thought.

Again for the third time in two days we hit a damn brick wall, all of the good work which we’d done and been promised by 2 separate Ambassadors from the Accra and Brazzaville was thrown back in our face as they point blank refused to issue us with a 30 day visa and instead just with a 5 day transit one….not nearly enough to get us through the country in time.

This would result in one of two things; taking our chances and just using the 5 day transit visa and getting to the border as quickly as we could, something that could take up to 10 days and for each day we’d be overdue possibly be liable for a $150 per day fine! Or diverting to the capital Luanda to enable us to get our visas extended at the cost of another $50, a process which could take 48hrs and would againset back my already rushed progress to Durban in time for the race. Balls to the system and the idiots that run it.

I did take great pleasure in asking the official exactly how his country was meant to progress anywhere if they continued to refuse access to tourists especially as the African Cup of Nations is being hosted by Angola in two years time and a lack of spectators at the games would result in an embarrassing time for the country! Didn’t get me far though….

So we’ll have to divert to the capital and that sucks. Had dinner courtesy of Bre and enjoyed an excellent stir fry then headed out with Kerry to watch the final of the Champions League between Man U and Chelsea……THE two teams which are supported throughout Africa so the bar was full and the atmosphere amazingly friendly.

Ha we watched the final in the middle of the Democratic Republic of Congo AND had great COLD BEER!

End of day location: Matadi, DRC

Distance covered: 320kms

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