We made it! We arrived in Brazzaville almost three weeks ago. The day after we arrived, a Chinese fishing trawler off the coast somehow managed to sever the undersea fiber optic cable, which cut the internet out across the entire country. After a couple of days of severe internet withdrawal, the mobile carriers started streaming internet in from Kinshasa, across the river, and I was able to at least check my email. Thank you, mobile carriers! On good days, when I imagine the weather set the perfect conditions for beaming internet across a giant river, we were even able to FaceTime with family.
Last night, it appears as if the internet was turned back on. I’m not holding my breath, but it’s fairly fast, and Lily is even streaming an episode of a kid’s show on my ipad right now. Ah, technology.
The first couple of weeks here has been about as good as one could have hoped for. We have wonderful sponsors, who have taken us out shopping, and out to dinner, and to the Radisson’s fancy pool, etc. Ben seems to be enjoying his new job. Lily seems to be doing pretty well. I’m still adjusting to not having a job.
Not working definitely has it’s advantages. I’ve been able to exercise every day. I’ve been able to take naps (as long as Lily takes one, too…she’s starting to give them up). I’ve been able to cook some really delicious, somewhat time-intensive meals. I’ve also been able to read quite a bit. I just paid for Kindle Unlimited, so I am very excited about all of the books I’ll be reading in the future. And, of course, I just started French lessons, so hopefully I’ll be able to converse in French in a few months. The disadvantages of not working: like every new stay-at-home mom has experienced, I feel a little useless, and very disconnected from the world. I don’t have coworkers that I’m forced to socialize with every day. I have Lily, and Congolese taxi drivers, and the store cashiers. It’s not the same.
Initial impressions of Brazzaville are very favorable. There are bakeries here with the most delicious croissants and baguettes and cappuccinos. There are enormous grocery stores with pretty much anything we could want or need. There are open air vegetable/fruit markets with beautiful produce. The avocados here are the size of softballs. The embassy has some pool passes for the Radisson pool to share among the employees, so chances are good that we’ll be able to go every weekend. The Radisson Blu is fairly new, and was built right on the Congo River, in the center of town. It’s beautiful. Since our car is still on a boat on its way here, we take taxis everywhere. The taxis are plentiful and about $1.50, flat-rate, anywhere in town. You can’t walk a block without a taxi honking at you, asking if you want a ride. That honking gets a little annoying when you’re just going for a walk or jog! Lastly, the weather over the last two weeks has been really nice and cool. It’s cloudy, with the sun coming out for a bit before sunset, but only about 75-80 degrees. This weekend was quite cold, and many locals were wearing sweaters, scarves, hats, jackets. It was about 70 degrees.
The river view (Kinshasa across the way):
The city is full of flowering plants and palm trees.