Sunday, July 15, 2012

Kinshasa to Johannesburg

On the way to the airport, we passed one of many Army tents housing soldiers.
They are there to surround the neighborhood of a leading political  opponent in house arrest. 

Notice how close this rail car is to the homes.  The track is just a few feet away.

Again, you can see the track right next to dwellings.
This is what it looks like in between train passings.
They sell wares ON the tracks and quickly pull them off when the train comes.
It seems impossible for this highway to be paved before the deadline Kabila has set.

Sharing the road or even passing one of these hauls of super-big logs is scary.

A pretty but rare pink Congolese dress,
This picture also demonstrates the miles & miles of dust we saw.
Some of the people tried to cover their faces, but most just breathed it in.
The current construction is in the middle of the two-way traffic.
We could NOT figure out why these two guys were blowing TOWARD the passing cars.
Most of the hard labor is done by the Congolese.  The Chinese supervise.
The Chinese got the bid to do this highway with the promise that Congolese would get top jobs
They lied.
Both funerals & weddings are often set up right along the highway.
You can see the casket in the far left.
A large, modern looking Muslim mosque.
First view of the airport since the night we arrived in February.
We were waiting out in the truck for Thierry to complete the "formalities" (It took over an hour)
Some guys spread a blanket just in front of our truck to sell cigarettes & drinks.
As a result, we saw more smokers in one day than all five months.
Here is a carefully taken picture of a couple soldiers.
A Muslim man who bought a cigarette, was arguing with them about something.
Entrance to the airport.  In daylight, it is not ominous.
But, on the night we arrived at 9pm, it was dark, dirty & scary. 
This nicely dressed lady came to buy a soft drink.
It never fails.  I can ALWAYS give you a "Pajama of the Week".
This man's outfit was quite fancy...silky and embossed.
As I gazed out the airplane window, my mind went back many years to a school play.
My daughter, Janice, was in 1st grade and they put on Rudyard Kipling's "The Elephant's Child"
I saw a river below and smiled as I thought of her singing this song...
♫ The Limpopo River, the Limpopo River,
It flows through Africa.
It's greasy and green and not very clean.
The wide, wide Limpopo" ♫
As I looked back at the airline magazine in my hand & turned the page, this is what I saw...
Soon after landing, I spotted my first African elephant... OK, it was in the terminal, but how cute is it!

The lights of city were still visible as the sunrise began our first day in Johannesburg.
We had no idea of the great adventures, wonderful people and fun we would have in the days ahead!
(to be continued...)


  1. It's just amazing that a silly little song I learned years ago would #1, be remembered by most of the family and 2, actually have a physical connection in your life today! I still like singing it! And may I just tell you I almost choked on my dinner when I read that the airport lady called you old! Hilarious! I love you so very much old Mom!

  2. OK we arleady know you don't take much advice from anyone but I think it's hysterical that you still make attempts to get pictures that you #1 could get you in trouble or #2 have been told not to do. I guess I don't have to look far to see where my stubborn ways come from. I'm glad that you get time to enjoy Africa even while having dental work done. I can't wait to see more of your vacation and hear more of your interesting stories. Speaking of you realize you have a child turning 50 soon and it's not me!!! That is the definition of old!

  3. 50 is the new 30. For men. I have already told Juli this but unfortunately, her age has caused to already forget. Anyway, I too am excited to see more.