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Brazzaville, Congo; KM 42,270 to KM 47,150 June 12, 2009

Posted by marcusbest in Uncategorized.
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After picking up visas for DRC and Congo in Windhoek, I headed for Kaokaland, a remote area of northwest Namibia where local tribes maintain many of their traditional ways. Enormous piles of rust-colored rock rose from the plains, as if dumped there from a giant wheelbarrow. After stopping at Epupa falls, I crossed the Kunene River, which separates Namibia from Angola.

Epupa Falls, Namibia

Epupa Falls, Namibia

kids, southern Angola

kids, southern Angola

Angola was good to me. The distance I felt between myself and many of the locals in Namibia and South Africa instantly vanished, and I was welcomed into Angola with big smiles and plenty of engaging conversation. Luckily for me, Spanish is close enough to Portuguese that I can understand and be understood, and being able to communicate with the locals makes all the difference. The clock seemed to slow down a bit in Angola. Crumbling tile-roofed colonial homes, painted and repainted in soft pastel colors, line dusty avenues. Fishermen mend nets in the shade of their porches, listening to crackling radios with broken speakers. Angolans have a laid back confidence that put me at ease, and they are quick to share what little they have.

fisherman, Angola

fisherman, Angola

fishing boats, Angola

fishing boats, Angola

shipwreck, Angola

shipwreck, Angola

kids playing on the beach, Angola

kids playing on the beach, Angola

Unfortunately, the presence of so many foreign companies anxious to tap into Angola’s mineral wealth has caused prices to soar. A dingy budget hotel room in the capital would start at around $90, and a burger and fries costs $15. So even though I would’ve liked to stay longer, my budget pressed me onward from the arid south of Angola to the coast, then northward into the thick humid jungles along pitted and rutted orange dirt roads and across the border to DRC and the hectic capital, Kinshasa. A ferry ride across the Congo River put me in Brazzaville, the capital of Congo, which is surprisingly lazy and safe, very different from it’s neighbor across the river.

loading the ferry from Kinshasa to Brazzaville

loading the ferry from Kinshasa to Brazzaville

ferry passengers, DRC

ferry passengers, DRC

If you have a taste for game from the forests of Congo, the markets of Brazzaville may have just what you’re looking for. Among the odd edibles were fried caterpillar, nutria, some other large rodents, wild antelopes, and more.

smoked monkey

smoked monkey

How much would you pay for a roasted civet?

How much would you pay for a roasted civet?

journal entry, June 2- in my tent in an abandoned gravel pit, waiting for the rice to cook

Tonight we’ll be starting with a healthy gulp of Jamison (the last in the house) followed by a spoonful of peanut butter and a dash of Habanero Tabasco, a prelude to the entrée: organic baby zucchini, garlic and purple onion sauted in Namibian butter and Syrian olive oil, finished with a Habanero peanut sauce. Served with South African long grain rice.

Sounds exotic. I guess it is exotic in a way. Yes, I’m in a gravel pit on the side of the road in Angola, but it’s still just a meal cooked by a guy that’s ready to eat. So many of my days are filled with complete normalcy. Small problems to fix, decisions to make, eating, going about my business, sleeping. A book that I should be reading, a journal I should be writing in, a conversation that I should be paying closer attention to, an opportunity I shouldn’t be missing. The struggle against complacency is a daily challenge, no matter where I am. In many ways, life on the road is not so very different from life back home.

Comments»

1. Barbara Satterwhite - June 12, 2009

Hi Marcus,

Glad to read/view your latest entry. The pics are quite unique…the falls, the market, etc. I especially appreciate your input about the people you meet along the way. Gives me a new perspective now when I look at a world map or listen to the evening national news.

Can’t tell you how special it was to have you in Texas recently. Memorable family events like a wedding mean so much when all the family gathers to celebrate.

Continue to experience good things as you travel. As always, be safe and know that you are remembered.

Love you,
Barbara

2. Anastasis - June 14, 2009

stay safe, have safe rides

thanks for the pictures

3. El Rito - June 16, 2009

No matter where you go, there you are. Cliche yes, but so true. Miss seeing Legs on the pitch.
XO,
El Rito

4. Jennie R. Smith - June 19, 2009

Hi Marcus, through Barbara, I learned of your website and your fabulous journey. You likely do not remember me, but I went to Baylor at the same time as you. I have thoroughly enjoyed your website and narration, not to mention your lovely photos. Best wishes to you as you continue your journey! I look forward to continuing to follow your travels and hope you don’t mind if I recommend your site to others. Much safety and joy to you!

5. El Rito - June 25, 2009

Hayyyyyy!
Will be in Europe in September, hoping to stay 2 mos. or so. Maybe can hook up sometwheres.
Love,
A

6. Luann Burleson - June 28, 2009

Marcus, I have enjoyed reading your travel log and seeing the wonderful pictures that you have taken along the way! It is a remarkable thing you are doing and I wish you safe travels and look forward to your future comments and insights about places that most of us only dream about….Good luck and God speed! That Jessie is something!


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