Sorry it’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted. We went to Connecticut for a wedding, and were gone for a couple of weeks. It was a nice trip! But quite a journey.
Flights out of Brazzaville are incredibly expensive. In fact, flights around the entire continent are expensive. An Air France ticket from Brazzaville to Paris, Paris to NYC was $2500 per person. Brussels Air, however, flies out of Kinshasa to NYC, via Brussels, for only $1,000. So, we gave it a try. First, we took a commercial boat from the Brazzaville beach port to the Kinshasa port. The embassy does have its own boat, but it doesn’t operate in the dry season, and it had only just started raining. Something about the river being too shallow (although, really, it was not shallow where we crossed).
After the super fun boat ride, we took an embassy car to the Kinshasa airport. On the hour-long drive, I saw more people than I’ve ever seen in my life. Kinshasa made Brazzaville seem quaint and pleasant. It must be overwhelming to live there. I was overwhelmed just driving through. The international terminal at the airport was actually quite nice. There was a small cafe with good food and snacks. The airplane took off on time, and Brussels Air is not terrible!
We had a long layover in Brussels (about 5 hours), enough time to go past security and meet a friend for breakfast. After a pleasant breakfast of cappuccinos and croissants, we got on our flight to JFK. From JFK, we took the Air Train to the car rental place. We then drove our rental car to Brooklyn to see friends and get Korean BBQ for dinner (an absolute must). After dinner, we drove 2.5 hours to Ben’s parents’ house. Phew! On the way back, the Kinshasa port closes at 4pm, and our flight landed at 6pm, so we had to stay the night in Kinshasa. We stayed at a really fancy hotel, which was lovely. We ate dinner at the hotel, where cheeseburgers are $22 and a bottle of water is $6. Kinshasa, apparently, is insanely expensive. I’m sure there are cheaper (and tastier) places than our fancy hotel restaurant, but we were too exhausted to venture out.
We obviously didn’t see much of Kinshasa, but my favorite thing we did see was the traffic robots. The arms move up and down and the body twists around. There are several in the city. They were pretty awesome.