Stephen: Day 137

7 Jul

I had the most horrible experience getting out of Kinshasa this trip. All I can say is it was traumatic. Stuck in traffic for 5 hours to travel 25km to the airport is nothing new to the city. However my transport was over an hour late, even though I pleaded with the Embassy to pick me up earlier because the traffic for 30 June, the 50th anniversary of Congolese Independence, was monumentally insane.

We were very late to the airport. I spent the first 4 hours trying to come to terms with not leaving Kinshasa that night, forfeiting my reservation in Brussels, leaving my friend stranded, and paying another $320 a night for an overpriced African dream hotel, which is on par with your local Holiday Inn. My only saving grace was the fact that 4 hours into our trip we discovered that the crew for our flight was stuck 3 cars behind us.

Once traffic broke we raced at ungodly speeds to make it to the airport. My overwhelming desire to make my flight was muddled, however, by the impending dread that our driver was consistently about 6 inches away from splattering a stray child or small family across our windshield at over 80mph. I realized making my flight was not worth the risk.

Miraculously we made it safely, bounding out of our vehicle and racing through security, as airport personnel cried “Courir, Courir!”

Lets just say that this street, and the many other streets I was to discover during my week in Brussels, was a sight for sore eyes.


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