Guest post by Ben
Quick trip to Pointe Noire
I had the chance to take a quick work trip to the economic capital of the Republic of Congo (ROC), Pointe Noire. The trip itself was interesting as it was my first time traveling on a commercial Congolese airline. My trip on TransAir Congo was warm, slightly musky and predictably late arriving at its destinations. The following photo of the emergency floor lighting on the plan is representative of the age and cleanliness of the aircraft. Luckily, the flight time was approximately an hour each way.
The Pointe Noire trip was an 18 hr work trip. I toured the only deep water port in central Africa which imports nearly 80% of the ROC’s trade. The port has three main terminals that focus on oil, shipping containers and wood. Smaller terminals focus on fishing, naval operations and a commercial fleet. The port is undergoing a major expansion but it looks like any major port. Seeing it up close makes you feel like you are on a movie set. The following photos show the contrast between the new port and an old lighthouse that has seen better days.
The rest of the day was filled with meetings with American companies. The meetings were useful more but were generally uneventful. I took the opportunity before dinner to check the historic train station and to catch the sunset. If you look, you may see some surfers in the photo below.
I had a great dinner at a famous Pontenegrin called restaurant Gaspard. I had a huge fish and some other local dishes made with parts of the cassava plant. It was just good, standard, Congolese food. Nothing fancy. Just good.
I caught the first flight back to Brazzaville the following day. I’d like to get back to Pointe Noire with Hilary and Lily and explore the surrounding area. There is a buzz to the place that is more Miami or New Orleans than sleepy beach town. It’s definitely more laid back than Brazza. More soon.