18/9/89

Porridge for breakfast then lazing round was very much how much of the morning was spent.

Linda and I left the hotel at about 10:30 and went to find the Post Office. We met Skip and Snake¹ there and after we had posted our mail we all went in search of the ice-cream parlour. We found it after ½ an hour and it was closed! So we had a drink at a nearby pub then walked back to the camp.

We spent the afternoon lazing around and in the evening, we negotiated the sale of a painting² for $US10 from a native salesman.

¹ Snake had been so named because he had been hallucinating one evening after smoking some particularly potent ganga and had seen a snake coming out of the truck!

² The painting was a river scene painted in enamel on a flour-bag.

17/9/89

DAY TWENTY-SEVEN We got up at 9:00 and had porridge for breakfast then I gave the chainsaw a clean and sharpen.

We sat in the bar for an hour and a half, then a guy called Phillipe arrived to measure us all up for shorts, shirts, trousers etc all to be made out of flour bags.

After lunch we set off with a guide to go and see Stanley Falls. We walked down to the river and all piled into two “pirogues” or dug-out canoes which took us across the swiftly-flowing water. We walked about ½ a mile up to the place where Stanley said the immortal words: “Dr Livingstone, I presume?”¹ The falls themselves are more of a big set of rapids upon which the natives have built a series of gantries to suspend huge cane traps in the rushing water to catch fish. There was a big crowd of natives there, fishing with nets and lines, washing clothes, or just sitting in the shade. There was a horde of kids running round asking us for things and saying “good-a-morning”, even though it was mid afternoon.

Fish traps at Stanley Falls (Photo: supplied)

We spent half an hour at the falls then walked back to the pirogues via the river-side village. The dug-outs took us back across the river and we walked back into town. We had a drink at a hotel while we were pestered by souvenir salesmen then walked back to the Olympia.

¹According to legend, when the explorer Henry Morten Stanley, who had been dispatched from England to find Dr David Livingstone, came across the missing doctor, these were his first words to him. In fact, the meeting took place on the shore of Lake Tanganika, not here at Stanley Falls.

16/9/89

DAY TWENTY-SIX We got up at about 9:30 and had breakfast of omelettes and tea in the open-air restaurant. The morning was spent sitting round waiting for some Bernie to change money for us.

After a yummy tea of burgers, a group of us went to a local night club where we did some serious boogying to the beat of African music. 

16/9/89

DAY TWENTY-SIX We got up at about 9:30 and had breakfast of omelettes and tea in the open-air restaurant. The morning was spent sitting round waiting for some Bernie to change money for us.

After a yummy tea of burgers, a group of us went to a local night club where we did some serious boogying to the beat of African music.

15/9/89

DAY TWENTY-FIVE Another long, hot day of driving brought us, finally, to Kisangani on the banks of the Zaire River. The sun had been beating down on us all day but as we neared the river, the air became cool and moist and then, suddenly, we emerged from the jungle to see the great river before us, shining in the late afternoon sun as it rolled past the town.

We drove in to the Olympia Hotel where we indulged in cold beer, a cooked meal of pork, chips and cabbage, as well as showers and toilets.

The cool of the late evening gave way to a hot, muggy night but we slept well.