We have been here in Pointe Noire, Congo for over a week now. Just what are we doing here you might ask? Well, we are playing the waiting game. We are waiting for our visas to Angola, the link in the chain that currently separates us here in Central Africa with our rendezvous the south. We knew that getting visas for Angola was going to be tricky but I do not think anyone knew just how difficult it would be.
We have heard horror stories of overlanders before us being forced to backtrack hundreds of kilometers because they were unable to obtain visas for Angola, and others who simply gave up and found another way around, usually by sea. Without a doubt, securing visas for Angola has been one of the most difficult exercises in bureaucratic navigation and patience to date. We do have a great contact here in the Congo who has been helping us out tremendously with the visas, but even with his help, the whole process is far from transparent and totally frustrating. Right now we are basically trapped with very few options other than to sit and wait it out.
Luckily, we have been “marooned” in a place where we are being treated extremely well. The owner of a really cool beachfront bar and restaurant here in town, Patrick, has let us pitch our tents near the volleyball court of La Pyramide, so we have been camping on beachfront property most of the time. Before that, Christo and the South African telecom workers put us up in style for a few days at their house here in town. There have also been a steady stream of patrons at La Pyramide, curious and excited about what we are doing, who have taken us under their wings in various capacities, feeding us, letting us do laundry at their homes, letting us jump on the internet, and including us in the fascinating ex-pat community here in Pointe Noire. If it were not for people like Patrick and Sabine at La Pyramide, Elin, Nathalie and Didier Bardin, Asmah and Christophe, and Christophe the commercial diver, our wait for the elusive Angolan visas would be a lot more painful.