Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Congo River

One of the best parts about living here is being able to go out on the Congo River. The embassy has several boats and the river is a great escape from the craziness of the city. On weekends, many people from the embassies will go out to a nearby sandbar, set up tents/umbrellas, hang out, picnic and swim. And yes, I said swim.

While it does get pretty hot out on the sandbar, I am still a firm undecided on the whole swimming-in-the-Congo-River-thing. I have been told it is safe because, not only is the sandbar upstream from the city, but the river's strong current also apparently prevents parasites (especially the swim-up-your-pee-pee kind). But even though I have seen and heard of many people who have safely gone swimming without incident, I can't help but think of several good reasons that back up why I should stay on dry land. One of those reasons would be a show I saw on National Geographic before coming here. It involved the Congo River and massive flesh eatin' fish. Even though they probably aren't near the sandbar, I'm sure there are a couple overachieving ones who wouldn't be opposed to finding and eating me (a la 'Shark Week'). Other reasons (at least in my mind - whether or not they are actually true) include crocodiles, snakes, worms, the whole living in "the petri dish of Africa" and "where diseases are born" concept, and getting an accidental mouthful of microbey water...among other things.

Though, regardless of reasons, I still might have to swim in the Congo River at least once before we leave, just so I can say it was done. But since we have about 2o months to go, I still have plenty of time to procrastinate and change my mind.

Local boats near the yacht club...

Had this shirt made by a Congolese tailor with local fabric...will not be too sad if this is left here:)