As 2021 is ending I was starting to remember what happened this year in travel terms.
This year was my first year in the last 20 years when I did not board an airplane or left the country.
You can imagine what a change considering that my record is of 54 flights in a year.
Going through my archive of photographs I found some past trips I never mentioned on the blog.
It was April 2016 and the destination was Kinshasa, the capital of Democratic Republic of Congo.
How to get there:
Going to Kinshasa was quite easy as they have a good connection with Istanbul.
So my route was Cluj-Bucharest-Istanbul-Kinshasa.
The start of the trip was not so great.
I remember that I was going there with my project manager who called me when I was in Istanbul that he missed his flight from Paris to Istanbul. I do not speak french, just understand it and my PM, a native french speaker was supposed to be my guide.
Then from some weird reason the flight from Istanbul to Kinshasa got delayed for several hours.
I arrived alone around 23 hour in Kinshasa. Visa formalities took forever so ended up entering the country around 1 a.m. At least I discovered that I underestimated my ability to speak French when it is really needed 🙂
Usually when things go wrong they tend to go all the way and of course they did.
I had to search for my luggage and found it sitting alone next to a wall outside the arrival area.
The pick-up car of course understood incorrectly the arrival time, they were expecting me the next day !
In the end, after having a three way conversation in French through my PM that was still in Paris, we managed to get a car from the client to pick me up. It was already 3 a.m. in the morning when they arrived, just in time because the guards at the airport were trying to explain to me that I have to leave the airport because they are closing 🙂
Around 5 a.m. I finally arrived to my room at Pullman Grand Hotel de Kinshasa and got to enjoy the view of the Congo river from my window.
I also had a nice view of the bridge between Kinshasa and Brazzaville, the capital of the other Congo (Republic of the Congo).
The room was a bit over the top in decorations. Not my style but seems that is a trend.
The food was good at the hotel where I had most of the dinners.
If you do not mind the mosquitos and took your Malarone pill for the day, the hotel restaurant terrace was really nice.
During the day I went to several restaurants around the office with quite nice food or had some food at the office from the local cantina. Going to a restaurant was a hussle due to the weather. You do not feel like walking outside when is 80% humidity and 45 degrees Celsius, a bit too much for me.
Local beer was actually nice. I liked the very creative label.
The city was busy as any other capital, hot and humid but surprisingly crowded.
I really liked the National football arena. Looks like football is very very popular in DRC.
And finally the building of the Central Bank where I had my office for the time of my stay in Kinshasa.