Thursday, October 9, 2008

4 Days In, 4 Lifetimes Away

It seems hard to believe that we only arrived here on Monday. “Here” being Congo, because it’s even more unreal to think that we’ve really only been in Kisangani for a little over 2 days. How quickly things come rushing back to you -- the smells, the sounds.

I’ve become so nonchalant; today there was screaming in the streets! Whistling, yelling, and Adam sat up suddenly, wondering what was going on.

“Bah,” said I, “it’s just a parade going by or some excitement over a football match.”

And, believe it or not, there were people protesting in the streets! Against the UN! They’re accusing them of “selling our country to the rebels.” If they only realized it was their own leaders. Well, in some part.

This hotel - Le Chalet - is extraordinarily nice. I’ve already started feeling at home here, though I’m really very eager to get to Aketi and see the chimps and settle in.

Tomorrow’s ride stands to be a real challenge, and a real adventure. It has been raining for 2 days straight, so the roads are bound to be mud-filled. It might take us three days instead of two, since we’re only intending to go 120km of the 500km total tomorrow, stopping right before the first “swamp” -- or, super thin but deep watery place that a boat takes us across. According to different sources, this boat is either $5 for a motorcycle and $1 for a person, or $10 per bike.

See, this is the “game” -- And isn’t it fun?

Daniel took us today to buy helmets for the ride, which was a great gesture. He surprised us today by telling us his actual age - 68 - surprisingly mostly because he is SO spry! You’d never imagine he was that old!

But I do take a great comfort in feeling like he is treating us like he is an excited father -- eager to share, but also to protect.

I’m channeling my parents in imagining how happy they will be to know that I have my very own helmet! Thick and red - just like my own head!

I now know that a good portion of my tiredness and malaise yesterday was due to certain womanly and monthly-elements, which will definitely make the ride tomorrow more “interesting” for lack of a better adjective!

But I’m excited nonetheless. Cleve and I have decided to do faecal FTA swabs and GPS coords for each chimp Adam & I pass tomorrow. He said the last time he came through it was like “chimp highway” -- so we shall see. It’ll be a great indicator of where these kids are coming from.

Cross your fingers for a weekend with no rain! Fat chance ;)

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