Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Traffic Jams and. . . THE Police

-FYI, all pictures taken today were with the iPhone... 
Was not recommended to take the big camera out today-

Today was very. . . Congo.

After a quick breakfast of wonderful homemade granola (go Jocelyn go) we picked up Lisa Lind and our hired chauffeur Pepé to set out to spend a full day out in Kinshasa.

Our first stop was supposed to be at the fabric corner but first, we got pulled over by 3 policemen...

I have heard about these events... And have come to understand that they are so much fun!...
Said no one ever.

...Roll down window...
Loud noises! Loud noises! -all of this in french and lingala- of which I could hardly understand, but I got the gist of it. Our driver, Pepé 'failed to let the Police stop him and direct him through the intersection'... or so they say. 
Pretty much it was just the fact that there was 4 mundele -white folk- in the car and they wanted to see what they could get from us.

Loud noises! Loud noises! Pepé gets out to talk to another officer but then the 3 others bombard the open door once Pepé gets back in. EEEeeep!

Loud noises! Loud noises!
Ruth starts crying LOUDLY (convenient?). . . it is hot, the men are loud. . . but Ruth unbeknown to her, she made the situation all the better. Causing the Police to repeat their questions and ask "what" over and over, while Nick continues to say "my daugher is hot, my daugher is upset, I cannot hear you over my daughter".

After around what feels like hours, the main Officer that has remained by the window, finally starts to lose his ferocity and begins to smile while the boys continue to make the light of the situation.
Then it came down to a cash offer... the officer bartered for cash and was given 2000 francs (about 2$) and just walked away...
No documents were handed over, no one got hurt (besides stressing out Ruth), and we were free to go.
That was interesting.

Ok, back to what was supposed to be our outing.
We then took a short -uneventful- drive to where there is about a dozen ladies milling about with their fabrics on a rack ready to give you the best pattern.
We weaved out way through the different ladies and found us some pretty neat patterns =D. Jocelyn has a tailor that she uses to make all sorts of local gear and will get one made up for me! 

Hello fabric... Hello cute baby :P

The middle square of fabric is mine

Then Jocelyn took us to the 'Ivory Market', where local trinkets, paintings, carvings, jewellery is sold. Picked up some bracelets and Jocelyn was able to wheel me some wicked gear. But like Perú, lots of the same stuff at every stall. It's just the pushy salesmen that differ lol.

Left to Right: 
Heavy wooden spoon/fork, shallow heavy bowl, coasters (the last two items all painted the same)
By now, we are thirsty and hungry. So 'Pataché' was the restaurant of choice, but not what I was expecting.
First of all, we found underground parking. FREE underground parking. WOW! Wish Canada could score that deal lol.
When we walked into Pataché, it was as if we had stepped into a North American bubble. Marble floors, white leather chairs, and at the entrance was a rack full of pastries, ICE CREAM, desserts and chocolate.

The picture below has two well destinguished chefs, (the one on the right -I think- is world recognized for his work), and the man in the red is co-owner of the restaurant. 
(Jo and Nick met him at his grocery store and had said he was going to open a restaurant, and it just happened that he was here the same day)

He SPOILED US! (for those of you who know my "Fugi" past, it felt like that, but with out the booze hahaha)

Crème Brûlée

The "Leafy" looking this is chocolate, painted to look like a blade of grass... lattice made of chocolate

Pepé holding one of the best desserts! Cheesecake in a chocolate cupcake cup
Overall, we had a fabulous experience at Pataché! Now that bellies are full and Ruth is asleep, we made our way to the Supermarket.

And I really didn't realized how western this place was until I was there. Ya, you could pretty much buy anything. Not the RIGHT kind of everything, but enough. LOL

Eggs, not in the fridge, but on a shelf. Fresh, FRESH FRESH!!
RAW sugar, cheap lol

?????????????? wtf really....ok.

Meat, and more meat.
By the time shopping was done and we made it home, most of us were pretty sweaty and needed some space and quiet. HA. Not to mention Ruth needed a WELL deserved nap. And this was only at 2pm!
I went with Lisa to check out other parts of the city and other shopping centres for a bit. Then had a very much needed dip in the pool

Here are some interesting things I have learned/seen so far (and I am about to go back in to Jo's past blogs to see what she has written about her early observations)

- The Police might seem threatening, they might be corrupt and some what dishonest, but they aren't there to hurt you
- If you tip every one who you have dealt with (and this is by no means tipping lots, I mean like 500-1000 francs which is 50 to 1 dollar) you will most always be treated well (which then they will remember you) or get out of sticky police situations LOL
- Lube oil is sold in water jugs on a rack by the road
- Police with machine guns sit in front of the gas station
- EVERYONE has a guard -sentinel- in front of their place. So a lot of the work force in Kinshasa is being a guard
- Once in the countryside (a not so modern society), woman have to wear a dress/skirt unless they want to be labeled as a prostitute. 
- Fried bananas taste AMAZING
- Don't eat the waffles that you see people carrying around on their head at the markets (so says Nick)
- And it might be wise to hire a local driver (like Pepé) to take you places or help you get items in the city since they wont get screwed over as much as us white folk will. Obviously.

I have way more, but I will write more later. Hahaha

Serenity, really really really likes plastic bags
This evening was pretty awesome. We dropped Ruth off at Lisa's and the 3 of us went to a local favourite restaurant.
Ordered fried chicken, rice and FRIED BANANAS! Lol even got spoiled with a small singer and guitar player who came around to every table to play a few songs =D

Day 3 was a success and I was very much pleased to be able to see and be (somewhat) apart of some daily dealings here in Kinshasa. 
Lives are lived a lot different than other places I have visited, and I would LOVE to spend more time with Nick and Jocelyn to see the world that is Kinshasa. 
As an outsider, I am only scratching the surface of how they do it, but Nick and Jocelyn are doing SO WELL here!
They have so many families and many local people around to support them in their every day lives that I can see why they like it here. Not to mention the amazing work that they are doing.

Every place can be a sh*t hole, just look at peoples opinions of Ft McMurray. . . It is what you make of it.
Kinshasa might be a crazy place for us Westerners, but if you are from the right mold like us Bradfields, this is a place like any other that we can find amazing people and amazing places.

But maybe speak French before you get here. . . Ha. I am such a bad Canadian.


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