The Great Congolese Caper - Day 7 - Kinshasa

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Kinshasa - Day 6

Getting down to it! Today I’m nervous again, but that hasn’t changed much from day 1 here, or day -2 for that matter.

Last night started out rough. Mireille was restless. She didn’t fall out of bed, but was up like 3 times up until about 1:00 AM. She didn’t cry or anything, but she got out of bed and asked me to hold her. After rocking her to sleep the other two times, I convinced her to just sleep in my bed with me the last time. That ended up working very well. She settled down and was completely out in short order. Her only requirement seemed to be that she had one foot touching me somewhere. That forced me to settle down and not be so uptight and nervous as well, so we both got a good night’s sleep.

At 7:00 we woke up and did our ritual. On a side note, and with the bad habit discussion from a couple of days ago in mind, I’ve been giving Mireille fruit snacks on a somewhat regular basis. If it were up to her, she would eat fruit snacks and bananas and drink only orange Fanta. Bad parenting aside, the way she eats fruit snacks is hilarious. She shoves all but one of the snacks into her mouth as quickly as she can chew and swallow them. Then for the last snack, she takes the tiniest of bites and makes it last for 10 minutes or more. She REALLY likes them.

Today was a Papa John day. Nothing special - we just wanted to get some souvenirs for taking home. Papa John came in cowboy regalia today. He was happy from having made up with his girlfriend the day before. She loves him again. There’s plenty more to this story, but for the rated R version, you will most certainly have to buy me a beer or two!

The first place we went was to a closed market that Papa John called the handicapped market. I figured it was just a translation mistake, but when we got there it was indeed the handicapped market. All of the people there were disabled in some way, and the goods were made by the handicapped. I ended up purchasing a nativity, which I hope makes it home without breaking (it didn’t), and a black doll with cool hair for Mireille, though she doesn’t like it, so I’m taking it home in hopes that someday she will like, or at least appreciate dolls.

The next market we went to was the more traditional type. The vendors were pushy and it was close. All of the stuff there was more or less the same as what was at the handicapped market. I ended up buying some musical instrument, which I can’t remember the name of, a beer truck for the bar, and some Congolese paintings that I thought were cool. I’m sure Jenny will have other opinions, but it seemed like a good way to spend a little money.

I asked Papa John to then take me somewhere to buy some soccer jerseys for the boys. He drove through the commercial part of town to a corner, pulled to the side of the road, talked to a guy, and within a minute there was another guy asking for the boy’s ages. He told the guy, who went away and came back with two jerseys and shorts. They don’t really look big enough, but they are definitely cool. As soon as we got them, Mireille demanded that I put not one, but both of the jerseys and both of the shorts on her! I convinced her to take them off before we got to our next destination, however.

We then headed over to the other side of the river where the fishing village was, which was interesting. We stopped at a restaurant on the river where Papa John had made up with his girlfriend the day prior. We ordered a couple of beers and a Fanta. He insists that the next time I come here we rent a boat and go out on the river where there are tiger fish, crocodiles, hippos, and all sorts of things that can kill you. Sounds like a fun trip, but at $400 for the day, it seems like I might need to recruit a friend to help me defray costs.

On the way back to the hotel we stopped and got some pilee pilee, a pepper spread that we’ve eaten a couple of times down here. It is very hot and delicious, so I wanted to take some home for any of my hot food eating friends, which I must admit I don’t have that many of - maybe Tim Ziegler will partake with me while I make him watch the hour or more of video and photos I’ve taken of Congo and Mireille!

Back at the hotel, the neighbor Andrew was waiting around in the courtyard until his driver came to take him to the airport. I invited him in for a couple of beers and we chatted for quite awhile. We hung out for a couple of hours, when he ultimately had to leave for the airport for his long journey home.

Andrew left, Mireille got CRANKY, but it turns out we didn’t really eat any lunch, and that girl does not miss too many meals. So I managed to cook a meal while holding her on my hip, no small task. Once she had eaten she was sweet and happy again, after a nice poop of course. She even sang to her mom on the phone a little bit. She loves cell phones. She holds things up to her ear and says “hallo,” which she did while Jenny was on the phone.

After supper, I cleaned up, put Mireille down a little early since she had a negligible nap at lunchtime, then packed my bags, which are considerably lighter than when I came here. Tomorrow is a long day prior to finally disembarking for my flight back to the US via Paris.

As I sit here, mentally preparing and unloading for the emotions of tomorrow, I’m watching Cine + Star, a French language station. I’m watching some movie - not sure what it is, but this one, and the other French movie I watched this past week both had gratuitous boob scenes, which is making me appreciate French cinema more than I ever could have guessed.

Written by Brandon Grady
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