Monday, April 5, 2010

Here's how Sunday evening went...

Last night, our car fell into an enormous ditch.

Due to ongoing construction, another attractive aspect of Kinshasa are the mammoth ditches that line the roads here. When you want to turn off a main street onto a side street it is very important to verify that the street is whole before you turn so you won't end up driving into a cosmic crevasse. Like we did. Last night.

Yesterday, we were on our way to experience "the best chicken in Kinshasa" for dinner with some friends. The restaurant, Mamma Colonel's, is located further away from where we normally circulate and would probably be considered more of a "local establishment". Many people have told us about this place and how great it is. So, off we went.

After navigating the dark and jolting streets and the crowds of people, we found the street to the restaurant. We also found a sizeable ditch. Now, usually, when there are ditches blocking access to side streets, the construction crews will create little concrete gangplanks for your car to cross over on. Such was the case last night.

Or so we thought. In the dark, it appeared to be a solid crossover. In reality, it was not. It seems some person decided to replace half the side of the bridge with cardboardy wood instead of concrete. Covered in dirt, it was impossible to tell the difference in the dark. And so, when we drove over, our right front wheel broke through and our car plummeted partway into the trash filled ravine. Not good.

After a few wtf-filled seconds, we jumped out to survey our predicament. The front right side of the car was completely in the ditch and the remaining three wheels were up in the air. Not good.

Luckily, there were about a quadrillion Congolese people on the streets and about 405 of them came running over to help us out. It is pretty unbelievable. One time, Henry got a flat tire and he had about 20 people at his car wanting to fix it for him. But, back to the car-in-ditch situation. Thankfully, the people were able to help us out pretty easily and lifted the car out of the trench and back on the street. Extremely grateful, we paid them for their efforts and went on our merry way. Even more lucky, it seems that there was no serious damage done to the car. We had the car checked out today and it seems the side runner board took all of the impact. And that was easy to fix. Go Nissan.

So we made it to Mamma Colonel's after only a slight hiccup. The grilled chicken was good. The atmosphere was fun. We had a guy with a fake eye serenade us during dinner. On his playlist? La Bamba. And a song about how war and nutron bombs are bad. That definitely made up for falling in the ditch.

So another fun night in Kinshasa. Where things, like roads, should not be taken for granted.

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