CAUTION: This post contains nearly 40 pictures, many of which are of extreme poverty and a few are of monkeys…well, being monkeys. You’ve been warned!
Yeah, I know it had only been two days since the coup attempt where over 100 people were killed trying to overthrow the government, but I’d spent so much effort planning this trip, and so much money getting close, I was determined to try and at least make it to DRC for a daytrip…in daylight. Fortunately, Jordan was just as insane and was game for it. We started by grabbing a taxi over to the boat docks, and after fending off several touts, we finally found the place to buy tickets on the “fast” boat and clear immigration. It involved about 10 different stops for different papers, taxes, stamps, etc etc etc, most of which seemed above ground, but I’m sure a few of the “fees” went straight into the pockets of corrupt officials. No matter…we avoided as much as we could, and even the fees we paid were no more than $3-4 each. Eventually we were crammed onto the boat with 15 of our new best friends for the 15 minute trek across the river:
On the other side, things got a little uglier. Lots of people doing the “wait here” and “this fee” and “that fee.” We argued several of them, paid a few, and eventually got out the other side about $20 poorer in total. It took about 20-30 minutes, which wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but once they have your passport they kind of have you by the balls. Plus, we were in a bit of a hurry without much time, so we were kind of stuck. We’d hired a driver in advance for the day, and finally found him outside immigration. Turns out we’d thought he was another tout trying to get money from us on the inside and brushed him off, lol. Would have helped if he had a sign! He drove us first to the travel agency he worked for, where we paid the agreed upon $250 for a day’s rental of car and driver. The agency’s building:
After that, it was time to go. We were driving about 30 miles outside the city first, to the Lola Ya Bonobo sanctuary for Bonobos monkeys. On the way, we passed the stadium:
Continuing the drive, we went through some quite poor parts of Kinshasa: