Brazzaville the second time

in

Ayman had arranged for us to stay at a local hotel owned by someone in his family (as he spoke no English, and us no French, communication was very difficult), at the time any place would seem like a palace, but at daylight we realized that it was one of Brazzaville’s notorious “Love Hotels” It seems that the well to do Congo gentlemen frequent these hotels during the day (Lunch here is from 12.30 to 3 ) to court the ladies that they are not married to!! Hence there is no breakfast and are no patrons in the evenings!! I realized this pretty soon as the gentleman I thought was just being nice to a tourist, turned out to have different intentions! Thank goodness for cellphones as I could contact Stew who rushed back by taxi to fetch me.

Tip no 100 if you plan to travel here …PLEASE make sure you speak French. Most of the negative things that happened to us here is due to our own stupidity and the fact that we cannot speak French. For example:

WE WANTED:

  1. To take Stan to an official garage and have him fixed properly once and for all
  2. Buy proper official Landrover parts for Stan
  3. To extend our visa for Congo (now expired) at the official Home affairs office in Brazzaville

WE GOT:

  1. Taken to another backyard mechanic and could not get the message through
  2. Had no choice but to spend thousands of Dollars to buy unofficial parts being sold as official parts at 2x the price.
  3. Been taken to a backyard office where the “official” took our passports and loads of money impressing upon me how bad I am for being here and not speaking French

Backyard workshop AGAIN! Our trip thus far

                                                                                                                                                                                         Our family in Brazzaville !!!!
 

So here we were……..minus $2500, with a car still broken after being fixed for 3 days, minus passports and nowhere to stay……BUT as always in Africa, there are angels around and this time in the guise of Olivier and Catherine of Hotel – Restaurant Hippocampe. We have had many angels along the way, but these people are truly sent from a special planet. They have been absolutely amazing, we were towed here by request as we saw the place on our previous visit and they were full. They were full again, but kindly offered for us to pitch camp in their parking lot and provided us with a free shower.They have taken us under their wing since and even gave us a room for free, helped us with EVERYTHING from getting parts for Stan, allowing us free access to the internet, making a room available for me to do healing etc etc. We will never have words to thank them, their kindness, support and nurturing truly saved our souls as well as our belief in Africa and its people. So to fellow travelers, even if you were not planning to go via Brazzaville, do yourself a favour and come here, stay at Hippocampe tel 0242 668 6068, across the road from Radio Congo and next to the local MTN office, truly an oasis worth every cent they charge.

Our Haven and the ANGEL family of Hippocampe, Olivier, Catherine and kids

We are still here as the parts are now being flown in from SA with the help of friendly MTN staff working here as well as the quick help of Susan at A&G, Ruds (again) and Mark who drove to fetch and deliver. Thanks so much guys.

Steve and Jen with a puppy they rescuedMark cleaning the pool at the US Embassy

Well, as it seems that Brazzaville became our unofficial home for the time being, we settled in here and made great friends with the guys from Around the world by car , 2 mad American guys, Steve and Mark as well as Jen who joined them in Libreville. They are traveling around the world ..by car and are on their way down south to SA. They have been in Congo for 7 WEEKS!!! Not by choice, but because they are trying desperately to get a visa for Angola to continue their trip…..and we thought we had it bad!! Well, as we were all a bit stressed out, they used their contacts at the US Embassy (Hopefully the SA Embassy will read this!!!!) and we went for a swim as well as a movie at their cultural centre,,,,,,,,Yeah for the US!!! In return, I gave massages and did some healing sessions to reduce the stress.

The "Healing " room Maybe cleaning Stan will change his health?Father and son SA Friends !!!

                                                                                                                                                                       Another attorney lost in Africa!!!

We are all hoping to get going by Friday, so send us good vibes and watch this space!It is Friday and we are still here! Maybe tomorrow ...that is life in Africa!