Monday, 2 June 2008

22nd May 08

Date: 22nd May 08

Location: Matadi, DRC

Weather: Cloudy and then clear, 32°c

Status: Waiting for embassies again

At the embassy ask they asked at 08:30hrs to get our applications in for the Angolan visa, not the ordinary tourist one as they’d promised us but a transit one instead which gives us 5 days to cover 2000kms on some of the most unkept and managed roads in central Africa!

Filled in all of the relevant paperwork and were then told we’d have to wait until the Consul arrived as they are the one who interviews us, vets the application and signs the visa. I had asked yesterday if it would be possible to have the completed passports ready for 11am so we could get a good head start on the distance we had to cover, but the assholes at the embassy made nothing easy for us all day!

The Consul eventually arrived at 11:50am and made no apology, then told us we would have to come back at 3.00pm to each be interviewed before we would have our visas issued. The cost of the visa suddenly and drastically increased from $50 to $80 taking us all by surprise and when I asked why my question was greeted with a “well if you don’t want to pay it then you won’t have the visa at all!” For god’s sake, I only asked what it was for….again embassy self empowered monkeys, but as we had to pass through their country we had to pay the cost, reluctantly.

We shopped for a few hours, filled with fuel and prepared ourselves for the next few days while we waited for the interviews, then returned on the dot of 3pm for the next exhausting stage!

I had to act as the translator for the group…no joke, and each person was asked the same series of questions relating to religion, cost of passport, uncles name and address etc etc all very random and unnecessary. Once the interviews were out of the way it was another hour before they’d finally filled in all of the passports and we collected them before heading back to the mission for another night, ready for the early start in the morning.

Another Landie was there when we got back with a South African couple called Stuart and Annaliese who are heading north up to Morocco but have hit problems in Angola with the vehicle and will be spending the next few days in Matadi to get everything sorted. It was really good to sit down with them and discuss the good/bad roads they’ve taken over the last few days and also to get the waypoints of some excellent campsites along the coast. We shared a beer and a laugh and who knows I may even meet them on the way back up the continent as our paths should cross somewhere near Egypt.

End of day location: Matadi, DRC

Distance covered: 0kms

No comments: