In a normal country they ask: "How are you doing?"
. . . . . In the Congo a random passer-by may ask: "What is in your big bag?"
I arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo on February 7th, 2009, from Zambia on a good road. A moslem border guard wanted 20$ extra from me, but after telling him I would go back to Lusaka to inquire there at the embassy about this treatment, he became polite and let me pass. Shortly afterwards I caught a ride in a Pajero jeep, and in two hours time, on an excellent road, we were already in Lubumbashi, the country's second city and capital of Katanga province, the policemen in their bright yellow-blue uniforms posing no problem at all on this road. In the city I managed to stay in the Don Bosco Christian Center, VERY friendly people! Meeting some German/Zimbabwean expatriate couple, I relaxed some six more days, getting more information and preparing myself for the trip inland. My plan was to travel overland to the upper Congo river, and from there on a boat all the way to Kisangani (with some overlanding around some rapids in between). It is about 500 km to Bukama on the river, but my plans to hitchhike there were annihilated by the sheer lack of traffic!! On average maybe one car every four days (!!) passed by (or was passed by me walking as a truck may be stuck in the mud or broken down, thus making walking faster then using the truck!), meaning I needed about 10 days to get there, my feet pretty ruined by that time. I had made friends on a short truck-ride the last twenty kilometer into town, and thus when a boat left the very next day, I decided to wait for OUR boat, one that we already knew the captain of, and that would leave the next morning...