Dec 312013
 

“Since I had peeped over the edge myself, I understand better the meaning of his stare, that could not see the flame of the candle, but was wide enough to embrace the whole universe, piercing enough to penetrate all the hearts that beat in the darkness. He had summed up — he had judged. ‘The horror!’ He was a remarkable man. After all, this was the expression of some sort of belief; it had candor, it had conviction, it had a vibrating note of revolt in its whisper, it had the appalling face of a glimpsed truth — the strange commingling of desire and hate.” – Joseph Conrad, the Heart of Darkness

Africa. The more I go, the more I learn about myself. But as Conrad noted, it’s just a peep. Enough to know these people are tougher than me, they endure way more that I could. I come into their world for a brief couple of days, usually via some Lufthansa first class flight, and only glimpse at the reality that is Africa. But it’s enough to know that given enough time…Africa would win most likely ;)

This trip came just 7 days after returning from three weeks in Tajikistan, Moscow, Montenegro, and Serbia. I left exhausted, to take on probably the most difficult group of countries I’d set out to do to date. For some foolish reasons, I combined many of them into one trip. The visas themselves, well, they were a mix:

Cameroon: easy, but sketchy. Made me wait around there embassy for two hours, but then $140 in cash later I had it on the spot.

Gabon: drop it off, two days later it was ready. Piece of cake.

DRC: ugh, letter of invitation, notarized with three different stamps in the DRC, etc. Once I had that, however, it was a piece of cake.

Congo: well, there’s a story here. I’ll tell that when we get to it.

Angola: eight trips to the embassy. Lots of confusion, forms, cash, stamps, emails, angry people. But I got it. I still can’t believe I got it.

The rest were no visa, or visa on arrival. I’ll detail more when I get to the individual posts.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep up not TOO delayed. The flight routing is:

Trip Map

…first post coming soon. First thought on parts:

Part I: Minneapolis to Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on US Airways and Lufthansa
Part II: Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
Part III: Malabo to Douala, Cameroon on Ethiopian
Part IV: Douala, Cameroon
Part V: Douala to Libreville, Gabon on South African
Part VI: Libreville, Gabon
Part VII: Libreville to Kinshasa, DRC on ASKY
Part VIII: Kinshasa, DRC
Part IX: Kinshasa to Brazzaville, Congo by boat
Part X: Brazzaville, Congo
Part XI: Brazzaville to Pointe-Noire, Congo by train
Part XII: Pointe-Noire, Congo
Part XIII: Pointe-Noire to Cabinda, Angola by taxi
Part XIV: Cabinda, Angola
Part XV: Cabinda to Luanda, Angola on TAAG
Part XVI: Luanda, Angola
Part XVII: Luanda to Sao Tome, Sao Tome e Principe on TAGG
Part XVIII: Sao Tome e Principe
Part XIX: Sao Tome e Principe to Praia, Cape Verde on TAGG
Part XX: Praia, Cape Verde
Part XXI: Getting home – TBD!

I already know this isn’t how it will happen. It’s Africa. Things change, and break, and don’t happen, or go places they don’t expect to. It’s gonna be an adventure!


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