Saturday, April 21, 2007

DRC Congo

Well what could we do we had no option but to cross the river to Kinshasa hope for the best and more importantly find a rear tire for the trusty stead, else I we are going nowhere, but the people of Brazzaville assured us you can find everything in Kinshasa, well I hope so.

The ferry crossing was another reminder to us that we were in wild Africa, nothing orderly about it going from one office to another getting the appropriate ticket and stamp from the relevant official, making our patience wear very thin but eventually we were escorted onto the ferry by a policeman shoving and whipping people with a broken fan belt to make room for us to pass, I felt bad, why do they have to do that to their own people just for us white people as they call us often, sometimes I wonder how they think. The trip was short and sweat across the grand Congo River but all the time my mind racing as to what would meet us in this next country...DRC Congo one of the largest in Africa.

The ferry to Kinshasa.

More whipping of people as the ferry docked it was anarchy as people shoved at one another to disembark, one lady fainting and falling to the ground whilst others clamored over her, madness but it was every one for themselves and we had our own concerns of riding up the ramp. Once up it the formalities went smooth but lasted an age then one official clown said we had to disinfect our bikes, what a joke we refused and after a while he gave up.

We road out of the port not knowing what to expect but all was well besides a few blown up cars and the building with the Spanish embassy in it was blown apart, and that's only what we saw. We quickly located a Yamaha dealership which luck be have it had a 17 inch rear in stock but a road tire, I did not care I needed it, so 165 US dollars later I strapped it to my bike and thought to change it later.

Sure enough just before dark as we were about to find a camp after getting 100 k's south of Kinshasa I got a huge nail in my rear, tire that is so what a better time to fit the new tire and patch another puncture.

We left the tarmac behind and headed straight for the Angolan border, people telling us the road would be bad ahead of us but us been us and been where we had thought we would be OK, was I wrong. What unfolded the on this day, day 197 turned out to be the hardest day of all. The road turned into anything but a road, it was one big bog, a river, hell on earth. The only other vehicles to attempt it were the local old 6 wheel drive trucks and to cover the 70 k's to the border took them 4 days, this we found out at the end of course. We sweated, wrestled and heaved our bike down the mud flows, the rainy were well and truly here. It was tough, never in my life have I ridden through such tough conditions, oh and of course I had a slick on the back which did not help. One stage I came to what I though was about a meter of mud spanning across the road, I gunned it and my front tire just sank and sank deep followed by by back, it was like glue stopping me so quickly nearly sending me over the bars. It took myself and half a dozen Congolesse locals to prize it from the mud. At times I thought to turn around but I kept thinking we have come this far, it has to improve. After a long long day we covered a mere 74 k's and had still yet to reach the border of Angola.

I think I'm stuck!!

Wheel of mud

On the Michelen Map this is the number 1 highway!!
After spending the night camped at the police station and been the movie for a hundred locals to watch the road got better to the border which we reached by late afternoon, Angola at last, and camped in a village close by. I started to feel weak, and just thought that from the last two days wrestling a quarter of a tone through what we had had taken it out of me, I was drained completely, Amy cooked up a delicious meal and that was me sleep was heaven.

This is the way to travel.