Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My trip to Congo, days 10 & 11

On Wednesday, Feb. 24th, we had somewhat of a free day, so we decided to visit the Artist's Market to pick up some souvenirs. I had already purchased a carved giraffe and elephant from an artist who sells his work at M.P.H. (our hostel). But I wanted to find a third one, so I could give one each to my kids. I was hoping for a lion or cheetah, but when I saw a black rhino, I knew it would be perfect for Jonah.

I also bought two wooden bracelets there. Otherwise, I just helped Ken barter for stuff. ;)
The sellers were quite funny. In Congo, people are addressed as "Maman" ("Mom" in french) or "Papa" ("Dad" in french) , instead of ma'am or sir. I had gotten used to this and had received quite a few smiles when I used the terms, and then people would call me "Maman", too. The sellers, however, were calling me "Mommy." "Mommy, come here. Come look! Just looking!" And then a few called me "Honey!" which I thought was hilarious!

After the market, we decided to visit the Kinshasa Zoo. It cost us $0.70 US each to get in and we purchased glass bottles of Coke and Fanta for $0.30 each.

The zoo, however, was quite depressing. Bare cages with rusty metal and nothing for the animals to do. Very sad, really. We did see a few neat animals, though...

An old crocodile they called Madame Antoinette after the former first-lady of Kinshasa:

A monitor lizard:

Some interesting monkeys:

This last guy was sticking his hands out of the cage with a "come on" motion. We couldn't figure out what he wanted at first. Then it dawned on us-- he wanted some of our pop!

My favourite animal in the zoo was this leopard-- isn't he gorgeous?

After the zoo, we went back to M.P.H. to pick up Dennis, who'd passed on the field trip, as he wasn't feeling very well. I wasn't really either, so when the guys went to meet some Manitoban missionaries for lunch, I passed and stayed at M.P.H. to rest.

For supper, we returned to the Bon Berger clinic area to have supper with Delphin and his wife, Regina, and their family. We had taken two cabs there with a guide, but on the way back we decided to take one back and four of us squeezed into the back of a taxi. Talk about getting close with our team! LOL!

Thursday was our last day in Kinshasa, with our flight scheduled to leave at 10pm. We had to take our bags to Air France in the morning, so we did that, with a stop at TexAfrica, a fabric store where I got six yards of fabric for less than $5 US. (I'm planning on making a sarong or wrap-around skirt with some of it, and maybe something for Sage, too. After dropping off our luggage, we walked around a little downtown, trying to find a restaurant. We did find a Kin-Mart, which was kind of like a London Drugs. They had ice cream and chocolate bars and everything! I said it was a good thing that I didn't know about that store beforehand, otherwise I would have wanted to go there often! ;)

Our driver, Philippe, took us to a restaurant where we could get hamburgers, but it wasn't very good. The atmosphere was like a pink ice cream shop!

I asked Ken to take a picture of Len and I, because we had such a great time together on the trip. We would start off a lot of our sentences with "There we were..." and then proceed to dramatize whatever situation we were in. Lots of laughing, lots of fun!

We went back to M.P.H. for the afternoon. We were hoping to go swimming at the american school across the street, but that didn't work out. So we hung out at the hostel.

We left for the airport at 5pm, which was an adventure in itself. We almost got hit by another vehicle (it came within inches of my sideview mirror!) and witnessed another accident. When we stopped for gas, a man with a bag of apples on his head sold me one. According to Philippe, it was from South Africa and it was the best apple I'd ever tasted!

The airport was crazy, again. We made it through customs, etc, with no problems and Dennis, because he was flying first class, was allowed to hang out in the Executive area, which was very nice and airconditioned. Ken and Len managed to get in there, too, but for some reason, Konrad and I got kicked out! (I did sneak back in there briefly to use the bathroom, because the regular one was unusable-- seriously. Broken toilet seats, etc. Absolutely frightening. And to top it off, two women sat outside the door, requesting that people pay them for the honour of using the facilities. No thank you!)

My time in Congo came to an end when our flight departed without any problems.

1 comment:

Heather said...

WOW interesting times. The things you learn about how good your life is when you see how others live in other parts of the world. Looks like you had a fun time though.