Thursday, March 31, 2011

Kisantu

A couple weekends ago we went to Kisantu with some friends. Kisantu is a botanical garden about 2.5 hours away from Kinshasa. The drive out is always interesting and somewhat death-defying. In Congo, there is no such thing as "your side of the road" and there is many a near head-on collision, usually involving some sort of sharp turn, high speeds, a steep incline, and a large dump truck filled with produce, goats, and people. But oh well to that, road safety is overrated.

We had a really nice and relaxing afternoon at Kisantu. As a person who is usually slightly unimpressed with plant life (It's not like I'm anti-garden but, to me, one plant is pretty much the same as another), I have to say, Kisantu is very pretty and it is a great place to walk around. Fun Sunday field trip in the Congo.

Gardens...
Leaves, Congo style.
Sophie is completely oblivious to the large crocodile right next to her. So much for doggy sense. She would last 4 minutes in the wild.

Bonehead is still unaware of any potential threat to her wiggly puppy bod. And it's not like the fence is all that secure. In fact, given the right motivation, I am pretty sure a crocodile could figure out how to break through to the waiting snack on the other side. Time to move on.

"If not for the small hassle of the little wire fence, that skinny little noodle dog would be mine" - The croc

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sophie

Sophie likes to fall asleep with her tongue sticking out. This has nothing to do with Congo but I find it completely hilarious. What a little doofus.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sunday coup/attack/terror/who knows what it was

Back in Congo after a long hiatus (will explain later) and was greeted back by a s0-called attempted coup.

Last Sunday, a group of armed men tried to attack the Presidential residence, otherwise known as one of our neighbors. Not surprisingly, automatic gunfire is never something you want to hear in the DRC. Nor do you necessarily want to see the Republican Guard soldiers outside your door carrying RPGs and hunkered down behind their bunkers with their guns ready to go and tanks patrolling the streets. Who knew their tanks were even functional? Turns out, yep, they sure are.

As for us, we were told by the embassy to stay indoors and in our safe room (every embassy house has a reinforced safe room in case of emergency). To be completely honest, this did not alter our Sunday afternoon plan all that much. Original plan: stay inside and mend recent jet-lag by watching latest Weeds season. After-attack-plan: stay inside and mend recent jet-lag by watching latest Weeds season with embassy radio on for updates. We did pack a "go" bag just in case we needed to, you know, go in a hurry, but that is probably something we should always have more or less ready. It is Congo after all.

According to BBC:
An "unidentified group of armed men" attacked the residence of President Joseph Kabila in the capital, Kinshasa, a government spokesman said, describing the raid as an attempted coup.

And CNN:
(CNN) -- Armed men on Sunday attempted to attack the residence of Joseph Kabila, president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, but were repelled by troops at a checkpoint before reaching the palace, the country's communications minister said.

Six of the gunmen were killed and an unknown number of others were captured, Lambert Mende told CNN.

Sophie thinks the coup was lame.