Darkness Calling

/ Sunday, 4 May 2014 / AngolaDemocratic Republic of Congo


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After over a year of trying, I’m finally in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Hooray! 180 days of multiple entry visa came through as I hoped and I quickly left Luanda to start the journey of who knows what’s to come. Forces were holding me back – Let’s get to it.

The day the visa came was a good day. After a few days of calling the embassy where they wouldn’t pick up, or just said “tomorrow, tomorrow” I received confirmation that they would see me on the Friday afternoon at 3pm. Instead, I went down on a hunch at 1:30pm and banged on the gate of the door. The security guard was quite pushy in telling me that I was not welcome as they were closed for the day. I said, no way sir – I’ve got an appointment for 3. Instead he just opened the gate and shut it on me. I stood outside along with someone representing the Ecuador embassy wondering just what would happen next. 15 minutes later, the man who took my application came out and was walking to his car. I got his attention, told him that I was there, to which he replied they were closed for the day. Not another 3 days waiting in Luanda! I was itching to get moving. He smiled and went back into the embassy and returned 5 minutes later with the passport. Grinning, I shook his hand and pedaled away.

Racing back to the International School where I was staying with great momentum I received a call that my laptop that has been on repair was in Luanda and being delivered to me at that very moment – the day couldn’t have gotten better! Taking delivery and thanking the person for all the help they gave me (they were very instrumental in the DRC Visa as well) I raced upstairs to start packing, turn on the new computer and transfer data over to it eager to be able to use a machine that handle the abuse I could throw at it. When I powered it on, something looked strange. The POST boot up logo was larger than I thought, and as my encrypted drive booted up to the way it was in November I noticed a few artifacts in the screen’s desktop background. Something’s awfully large… Till when I realized that the company who held my unit ransom for over half a year didn’t repair it properly. They replaced the screen with an inferior 1368×768 screen instead of the 1920×1080 HD panel that came with the unit. Nor did they replace the battery, as it was obviously damaged when the mainboard fried. Dammit! After all of that! Now faced with carrying two laptops I became frustrated at how badly a company could screw up a repair and blasted messages on various forums, social media networks, and to their MD.  They now admit to the fault, but have put the honus back on me to get the unit to them to repair. Once this post is finished I’m going to write a choice letter outlining their options (they pick it up at their cost, or they pick it up at their cost) before I go nuclear around the internet with the whole story. But it’s just technology – and another 3lbs in my pannier. Whatever – got a new country to visit.

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Luanda is on fire right now with construction. With an estimated 8 million people and growing there are developments _everywhere_

I left Luanda on a Sunday knowing that traffic would be lighter and wanted just to get outside the city perimeter before the end of the day to have a fresh full day of minimal traffic. It worked, but riding in the dead heat of the day after sitting on my behind for 2 weeks obviously tweaked my body a bit. It seems I’ve pulled my left ham string – starting with a dull ache now moving to a noticeable limp when I walk. Strangely enough, when cycling I forget about it. The Calf muscle fired up 3 days after that and everything seems very tight. My solution is Ibuprofen and Naproxen. Lots of it.

It sure was nice heading north from Luanda on brand new Chinese roads, still not entirely finished assembling the guardrails or painting the lines. Gradual Grades and smooth surfaces to ride on. I was making good distance one day, stopping at 4pm to have a few beers when upon returning to the bicycle my GPS wouldn’t power back on. Stuck at the Garmin logo I figured it was just on the fritz and later during a strange stealth camping setup I pulled the history off the unit and attempted to power it up again – no dice. This time I renamed some of the maps to see if that was the problem – still nothing. I opted to read a book instead and go back to it the next day, as sometimes when the unit has gone on a vacation in the past it seems to gather its senses a few hours later. It poured rain that night for hours, thoroughly soaking my clothes I had left out to dry, water poured into my tent, and everything became sand and muddy – so much for being clean. My body has also since arriving in Angola started rejecting Cycling Shorts and liners – something to do with the humidity and having the jewels jammed up together in one place for 8 hours a day. Huge rashes exist on both inner legs from ‘taint’ to midway down my thighs. It’s also bloody painful, and I’m pouring baby powder and Zambuk lotion on it multiple times throughout the day, with it eventually turning into a gloppy chunky mess that I have to pick out at the end of the night. There ain’t no showering, but at least I smell baby fresh going commando. Yeesh.

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Towards the end of the Chinese road I met a fellow (Angolan) who was working for the Chinese company as a road inspector. He invited me to his work camp as all the other expats had left on vacation for a few weeks, giving me his private self contained room. Muchly appreciated as I had a nice bed to sleep on, a washing machine to throw my dirty clothes in, a proper shower, and importantly, time to plug things into the wall and try to sort out the GPS issue. Eventually I did it. With creative hacking of the firmware loaded on the device, I managed to pull a copy of it onto my system, tweak the firmware into tricking the device that it set to be upgraded, initiated a low level format of the device, manually recreated the folder structure, and hand edited the configuration to look as if it was a brand new unit with no riding done it. Amazingly, it booted. One hour of work, and I’m in a much better state. The day it was down was interesting – head swimming with thoughts on just how exactly was I going to navigate my way through DRC if there was no map – quickly resolved by the “duh” moment of – Just find a map dude! Other thoughts involved wondering how I was going to record and document my travels for future travellers, and also retagging my photos.. There’s an app for my Android phone that records GPX movements, but I’m unsure of how much battery juice it uses, and would be testing it blindly.. Wanting to keep things simple I tried it for that one day, and in the future will retry again so that when the GPS does finally die I’ll have a backup ready and waiting. Technology.

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I went anyways

Gathering advice from the Road Inspector on what was coming he I made it 80km to my junction point of the final stretch to the DRC – a town called Noqui which straddles the great Congo River. I’d been eyeing this route for near 2 months, with all my mapping and planning software telling me that it was a decent route to take, yet when I arrived at the junction, staying at a gas station with probably one of the most uncomfortable awkward moments of Africa as the gas attendant kept coming by bringing strings of ladies and making some pretty erotic motions telling me to pick one for the night – the ladies purring, clucking and smooching at me to pick them. Playing dumb and not understanding Portuguese worked well in my favour and I found myself talking to the security guard for the rest of the night – him also leaving me his baton (he said he’d just use his gun instead of the night) incase the ladies came back for trouble. The Security guard warned me that I should not take the road whatsoever to Noqui, and instead pass through nearby Mbanza-Congo, where the road remained tar, and then switch over to Noqui. Looking at my map it seemed it was going to double my distance (160km vs. 300km) – I figured it would take one and a half days on my planned route.

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Again in the morning I was told sternly ‘Estrada Mal!’ as I left by multiple people in the area. I chalked it up to adventure, a bit of stubbornness, and wanting to end my time in Angola, as 7 weeks was enough – and I had bigger fish to fry. All went well for the first 2km, before it turned to a rather nasty dirt track, ruts in the road, steep descents, and mud remaining from the rainy season that is just ending here. It was scenic however, and I was content with having some solitude for the next few days, where cellular service was non existent, and giving me a little taste of what was to come in the next few weeks. Riding slowly by myself, thinking in deep thought I came within 5 metres of a huge tree falling on me and my bike while riding. Coming down with a thump in front of me, I realized there were boys in the bushes cutting down trees and taking the wood for burning. They were just as shocked to see me appear, and offered apologies as I waited while they hacked all the trees branches off so I could cross this narrow pathway.

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Ridiculously scenic jungle riding with not a person in sight. Good or bad, depending on which way you look at it..

More descents and the sun was coming out of its clouds by 10am I was exhausted, not having anything to eat for breakfast but 500ml of coffee. I found a river with the clearest water I’ve seen in weeks and took advantage of it for bathing, boiling another cup of coffee, and what seems like my Angolan Staple: Spaghetti and (ugh) Sardines. Back on the bike I decided to look at the odometer – I’d only covered 17km in 3 hours! OK, 143 to go – slowly slowly, nothing good ever happens fast, whatever you want to say.

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2 hours later I was slogging through nasty muddy puddles, bicycle getting stuck and jamming the brakes just like they did upon entry into Angola, and I searched on the sides of the shoulders for small foot paths. Sometimes they were there, sometimes not, most of the time it involved one foot in the puddles, one foot on the path, or just running the bicycle through the puddle and walking the bike through the puddles. I had to raise my front panniers up to the top part of the rack, as after 5 years of hardcore usage they are now springing holes and allowing water in. At one point in time I went through a puddle, fell over sideways, and the bag containing all my electronics submerged, along with the pannier containing all my clean clothes was penetrated as well! Since my food pannier is thin I have to keep the clothing pannier open and use one of its buckles to keep my trunk bag level, and this only caused a huge problem destroying any semblance of clean clothes for the near future. My feet were (and still are ) trench footed and grandma wrinkled from wearing soggy socks for 3 days, My shirts that I’ve been carefully trying to keep in good condition have all ripped, and the soles of my boots separating from the main leather. From the water the stickers that I was so proud of applying to the frame upon entry to each country now are starting to pull a “Back to the Future” moment, slowly turning white – Tanzania is fully gone, Burundi as well, and Malawi and Mozambique are halfway done. Hoping this doesn’t cause frustration among people assuming that I did it on purpose when they analyze my bicycle.

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Sadly some countries have just disappeared..

It’s pretty much definite I’m going to need to change the chain, and front and rear chain rings shortly. Also redo the bearings of the pedals, regrease my bottom bracket, and give some tender love to the Bicycle. It’s making grinding sounds frequently, just not able to put up with what it’s been thrown into. Correction – It’s handling it, but for how much more longer. The kickstand does well at holding the bicycle up, but getting it to retract is a tug of war game, and it’s going to snap eventually just like the last one did in Namibia.

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Not appearing on a map, but obviously well used, these foot paths can lead you into a beautiful space or a problem zone. But for the most part – trust the footpaths.

So it’s 2pm on that road, I’ve covered 30km in 5.5 hours, my leg is aching, my clothes are soaked, the sun is beating on me, left thumb is oozing puss (never underestimate the sharpness of a serrated Spyderco Knife Blade) and I’m in terrible shape. Running out of water fast, I note that my final remaining 1.5 litre bottle has been popped with a hole in it from the riding, and has now been mixing the clean water with the muddy goop I’ve been riding through. I drink it anyways, no choice whatsoever – as the next village is who knows how far away. Wicked 16% grades sapping my energy as I’m starting to regret this 160km shortcut when it starts – Blam, the headache at the top of the head, followed by chills. I know this feeling, I’ve felt it before, all to well, actually 5 times to be exact. Dave, you are so screwed – You’ve got Malaria and you’ve let your health down so much here it comes hard and fast. Guess who took his last Malaria tablets 2 weeks before and was going to pick them up at the border before entering into the DRC – this guy. Similar story to last time in Zambia where the immigration officer manhandled my drugs and lost one of the pills.

30 minutes later I’m lying on the ground in pain, unable to ride any further. Yelling out loud – please help me was definitely the low moment that I’ve experienced in Angola, to which of course no one came. I was panicking, I was out of water, I couldn’t even boil water as I was out of fuel in the bottle that held the pump, as somewhere in the 32km I had travelled my reserve bottle flew out and was lost. This wasn’t how things were supposed to go and for the first time in I don’t know how many years I lied down and bawled my eyes out. There was no traffic whatsoever nor was there any clear sighting of villages, just jungle and rolling hills in the distance. Lying there for about 30 minutes with my eyes closed and fever coming hard and fast I just wanted to sleep forever, real dark thoughts entering into my head, a voice nagging me that said “you were warned and now you’re going to suffer”. Refusing to let it beat me I started walking with the bicycle up the hills, not making much distance at all, but moving, tunnel vision fully set in, and on the state of delirium – putting on music sounded like demented circus music and static (some of you who know me well may think that’s what I listen to in the first place, but this was different, honest) and wasn’t helping keep my mind off things. I spent the time focusing on what to say in Portuguese if I did encounter someone, needing to get to a hospital, or take a ride to Noqui – even at that stage planning on offering the $180 USD in my pocket just to get me out of the mess.  Sometimes things don’t always come out the way you wish for and I found myself giving up after 48km (44km and 4km backtracking looking for the fuel bottle), pitching my tent, skipping dinner because there was no fuel left to cook pasta and going on a wild psychedelic ride involving wild horses coming to step on me, my jaw in a vice smashing into pieces along with a pulsing alarm sound. I don’t actually know if I slept.

The next morning I awoke heavy headed, grabbed a bunch of anti inflammatory tablets, and forced myself to ride until I met people – there was no way I was going to have Angola the last place I was ever seen functioning, and weaved and swerved on the road which had better riding conditions due to the nighttime packing of the sand from the dew until I reached a village. First thing I saw – A Hospital! Dropping my bike and staggering to the entrance a crowd appeared and noticed that something was terribly wrong. Water appeared, I found myself lying on a bed and attempting to explain what was wrong. A test confirmed the results – It was Malaria, by this time a full on commotion had appeared outside the one roomed hospital. A spoonful was jammed into my mouth, with a small amount of liquid on it that tasted like bitter aluminum, and burned while going down my throat. Pure Quinine said the nurse, followed by package of Fansidar anti malarial tablets – taking the first 2 immediately and then told to take the next two the following day. No charge, and after 3 hours of lying down, they released me and bid me a bonne journee. I’m sure I could have stayed for a few days, but with the crowd constantly peering in the windows, and the fact that the weather was actually optimal for riding on the crap roads I decided to make a go out of it – slapping more painkillers into my mouth, this time freshly loaded up with another 8 litres of water and moved on. I hazily made it through 70km that day – Don’t tell me what happened through out it, I don’t know. All I do know is waking up to again yet another rainstorm, this time making huge puddles beside my tent, soaking the insides of my open bags, and loosening the mud in my tire valves causing a flat in the rear tire.

It doesn’t help that my tire pump has been on the fritz for the past possibly 6 months, only pumping when it feels like it, and on an extreme angle. I guess that extreme angle has bent the valves so much that on any bit of external pressure they release immediately. I noticed this after replacing the first tube with another one, only to have it happen a short 2km down the road. Crowd surrounding me again as the the other tube I had had a hole in it needed repairing and didn’t stick, finally with me opting to replace the one last brand new tube I had that was given to me by someone in Luanda. It had a presta valve – but my pump works all the same. And it did! By tearing the valve right off and ruining the tube completely upon inflation! Feeling terrible, stressed out, baking in the sun, I yelled one of those famous 4 letter words and flung the tube into the jungle to which a half dozen kids went chasing after it as a prize. I patched one of the tubes up and tightened the valve with the leftovers of an old Slime Applicator tool and went off again – this time frustrated that near 3 hours was wasted with dealing with pointless flats. I wanted to get to the border early in time for crossing into DRC so that it didn’t turn into a shitshow at night trying to find a hotel or place to stay in a city of 1 million people.

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Stopped by police and military along the way on some of the final checkpoints, I left carting away a military ration box as a gift from the commander. Inside the box was quite interesting – 2 juice boxes, 4 packets of sugar, 4 small packets of Jam, two cans of “stew”, 25g of dark chocolate, water tablets, and some crackers. So that’s what the military eats – not so much when they are out protecting their borders or whatever interests they have. Glad to have some proper nutrients in my body I slammed the majority of the box into my stomach and rode onto the return of the tar road, noting the fluorescent green mountains to my left as I entered a steep descent to Noqui, Congo River off in the distance – then it was backup another 200 metres to the border – to which I arrived at 3:15. Sun sets at 6pm, Was I ready for this? Usually it takes 1 to 2 hours to cross the border for me in countries like this, but I’m at the whim of whoever is behind the desk on either side and how much trouble they want to give me.

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Ever wonder what the Angolan Military eats? Well wonder no more. Sugar, Sugar, Sugar, Coffee, Chocolate, Beans, and sugar.

Angola – difficult. Again came up the issue of my strange permitted Visa that states I am working in the country. They needed to “make a call” but couldn’t get ahold of who they wanted to get ahold of in this small one roomed border office with no power, no computers, not even forms to fill out. Finally it came – We need some money so we can go and make a call from DRC and Photocopy your passport, and also release yourself from this work permit. My response was, no problem! I didn’t want to enter DRC today anyways since its afternoon – I’ll just go outside and pitch my tent and sleep here for the night. Power can come tomorrow!

It wasn’t 1/3 into putting together my tent pole unit that my passport appeared with an exit stamp on it, and I was on sent on my way into the next phase – The DRC. Any other cyclist I know who has crossed in has horror stories outlining entry and exit procedures and I wasn’t quite sure what I was ready for. Still flying high from the Malaria Drugs, my body screaming “Just exactly who do you think you are crossing into this place, for what?” I was taken into a small room where a well dressed older man sat under a flickering light bulb. It was then I noticed he had only stubs for fingers and struggled with opening my passport, or using a pen, picking up paper, or whatever. I explained to him politely my mission of entering the country and where I intended to go en francais and he seemed to perk up a bit when I spoke quite fluently. He had to make a call as well – this time it went through for 15 seconds then abruptly cut out. Asking me politely where would I like to have the stamp placed and on what page (that’s a first! Most of the time the border guards just pick a random page and wreck it for full page visas for other countries) and sent me over for verification that I had proper shots. I have everything I needed to enter the country (Yellow Fever is Mandatory, they recommend all the other nasties like Hepatitis A, B, Typhoid, Diphtheria , etc.) and I had went back to the man who stamped my passport. Where is it I asked? “Around the corner, with those men” he said in a rush, keeping his head down…

I guess that was where the fun was going to stop, the searching, the bribing, and random paperwork – and I was right. Ushered into an office where two men sat leisurely staring at me it seemed oddly familiar to my last Zambian entrance.. “Carnet de passage?” they asked – I laughed and said “Non, C’est une velo” knowing damn well that wasn’t necessary for a bicycle. They both nearly fell out of their chairs when they realized it was a bicycle, talking to each other and started asking me questions as to the journey. Even better, they sent someone hanging around outside to go and pick up a sprite and a few oranges for me so that we could talk in comfort! 30 minutes later we had exchanged names, email addresses, telephone numbers and I was leaving at 4:45pm to make the 7km into the town of Matadi hoping to find a place before nightfall. A quick stop to exchange money at the money changers (I had $180, I received a wad the size of an encyclopedia in Congolese Francs in return) followed by the 3rd oldest trick in the book – requesting that I give back some as I gave them damaged bills (I mark all my bills with a smiley face before crossing a border for this). It was the equivalent of $20 they wanted back – and it wasn’t worth my time to piss around arguing with a mob watching every move as I pulled the money out of various pockets and replaced it shortly after. $20 gone and I was riding the ups and downs into the city. I really had no plan on where I was staying as I’d been feeling so crap the days prior and started looking on the GPS, noticing that there was a Convent listed for $5 a night camping. I tried to find it, and of course it didn’t appear where my map said it would, so queried a man at the side of the road for directions. 2nd wrong move of the day – He took me to a hotel where they said it was full, followed by to his friends “guesthouse”. The guesthouse with no water, no fan, loud music bumping, and an awful smell cost me $30, an obvious partnership to fleece the newcomer out of money. It was dark, I was tired, I paid it. I had a good sleep – so it couldn’t have been that bad.

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Descent towards the Congo River, final 3km of Angola.

Now I find myself in the DRC Congo, sad that I’m out of Angola. Angola stands out as a very special country to me. From the first minute of entering it had a breath of freshness to it, even though within the first 10km I was slogging through rivers, crossing on dugout canoes and plucking mud from every crevice of my body and the bicycle. By far it stands out as the most scenic country I’ve visited (next to Canada of course, but I’m biased, and well, Canada is bloody huge) and contained a mixture of the most challenging moments I’ve ever had on a bicycle but at the same time the friendliest welcome by the locals, even though for the first bit I hadn’t the foggiest idea of what they were saying. By the end my Portuguese was good enough to converse past the basic formalities and had quite a good time. People went out of their way to make sure I was safe, many offered gifts of food, lodging in hotels, some even found me after seeing me on TV and invited me to their place. Not once did I ever feel threatened or frustrated at how the locals were treating me – and not once was there any subtle hint of racism, catcalling of my skin colour, just plain acceptance of that I was who I was. Angola is set to enter the SADC in 2017 along to join with other Southern African countries in a sort of a union/trade agreement, and there is talk to remove the strict visa restrictions in the coming months/year – which will open a floodgate to new visitors whether their be tourists or workers.

There’s already a tonne of expatriates living in Luanda, slowly milking the resources dry, while causing costs of living to skyrocket with big companies just throwing money to make their workers happy. Paired with near 40 years of war this country is in its young teen years only 12 years out of the nastiest and most arms used war since World War II. They’ve got the potential, just need to get their shit together dealing with education from the primary level up, agriculture farming – to curb the insanity on pricing as 90% of the products or more are imported. Beer and Cigarettes are cheap – that’s a given, the country would revolt if the lesser privileged people couldn’t get completely blitzed every night – but other products are completely unattainable for a regular person. Rent as I mentioned in a previous post is insane in bigger cities, often not coming with running water or sanitation. If it does – it’s in the thousands of dollars – with the highest I found being $45,000 USD per month. Food costs – How does a $14 dollar head of lettuce sound on your plate? Or $91 for a kilogram of pistachios? $5 for half a dozen eggs? A cucumber for $6? Don’t forget about desert – Ice Cream is apparently going for $41 a litre due to some recent taxing changes. It’s not just food that’s high priced. Mobile Telephony and internet is ridiculously high for what it gives you. I spent over $120 in Telecommunication costs alone, and wasn’t only24x7 whatsoever – for 2 weeks I didn’t even have service! Frustrating memories of standing with a dozen people in a 10 ft. square in a village all raising our phones in the air craning our neck to see if we were able to get signal .  Bicycle Parts were another shock – $99 for a pair of cheap Chinese brand gloves – $40 for a spare tube and $60 for a cheap KMC Chain. Outrageous prices for sure, but this will change when the bigger companies from the South move in. Angola is ready for further change – and it’s going to be great to watch for a country that deserves every bit of it. I may just say that it’s been the best one yet..

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This was an $8 sandwich. It was a freebie by someone running a gas station. I would never have thought I’d eat one of these things, nor shelled out pocket money at this price..

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Is there even any nutrition in this $14 head of lettuce?

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My first encounter with Military helping me out. This was thrown at me overhand while riding along with soldiers pointing fingers to their mouth so I didn’t alert their commander. It was a nice gesture. This would cost $7

Now where I’m at in DRC. Matadi is the only ocean port in the entire country, first discovered in 1485 by a Portuguese explorer which then turned into a staging ground for explorers throughout hundreds of years, finally erupting into some real nasty colonial land grabbing, resource raping, turning this country into unrest for nearly 100 years. The history of how badly the people have been treated here is stunning – countries from all sides have done their best to try to break it up, and on the inside rebel groups pillaging the communities, deadly viruses decimating villages, along with some of the most hostile geography Africa has to offer is going to make this country a real challenge for me – in fact this is the one I’ve been worried about for a while. From what I know, the planned route I am taking back down to Zambia has a decent road for 1000km – after that, it just stops. No nothing. I don’t know anyone on a bicycle who has ever made it, the one I thought who had ended up taking a train halfway through, and pictures of an over lander in a heavily armored 4×4 took near a month to pass through the route on what would have taken 3 days on normal roads. I’m in for a big one I think. But as has been more h case in the past, I’m likely to have a surprise from my preconceptions from what the country actually is. Internet access might fizzle out again, but I’ll do my best to write a report along the way.. Side note – I left the place for $30 USD, found a cheaper place and gave a little love to my bicycle. I paid one of the hotel workers $3 to clean the bicycle.. If I was to do it I would have skipped a spot – this guy spent near 4 hours going at everything and it looks just like from the factory. I’m ready Congo..

 

Elevation Chart

 

 

Totals

Distance Travelled: 283.72 km
Distance Ascended: 3,375 m
Distance Descended: 3,697 m
Energy Consumed: 14,941 calories
Overall Cost: $46.36
    Food: $10.32
    Drink: $5.27
    Lodging: $30.77
    Transport: $0.00
    Entertainment: $0.00
    Equipment: $0.00
    Misc: $0.00
 
Longest Day: 2014-04-29 – 106.40 km
Most Climbed: 2014-05-02 – 1027.00 m
Most Energy Burned: 2014-04-29 – 5440.00 calories
Most Expensive Day: 2014-05-03 – $ 34.07

Click to show Daily Statistics

Date
Location
Distance (km)
Cost ()
Map
2014-05-03 Matadi, CD 59.23 $34.07 Map
2014-05-02 Middle of Nowhere, AO 70.09 $9.22 Map
2014-05-01 Nkembo Balu Village, AO 48.00 $3.07 Map
2014-04-29 Nzeto, AO 106.40 $0.00 Map

Maps and Elevation Chart



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8 comments

  1. Mario Preston
    May 5th, 2014

    Wow!Wow!Wow!


  2. Kerry
    July 13th, 2014

    wow Dave, stay safe!


  3. September 18th, 2014

    Another really good read Dave….hope you get your bike fixed up for the tough haul ahead. Did you eat that can of fruit…looks a little rusty.


  4. October 3rd, 2014

    Dave!

    So, I met you actually in Dodoma, Tanzania at a YMCA hostel about two years ago, in June of 2012. I actually posted your blog on mine when I was living over there with a picture. I remember you telling me about your blog and for some reason today it came back to me and I decided to check it out and see what you had been up to over the past couple of years and where your journey has taken you. Absolutely crazy, but I enjoyed reading this post and glad to see you’re doing well and alive (malaria is a doozy).

    Any who, just thought I’d pop in randomly. Glad to see you’re still on the road and on your adventure.

    Take care


  5. Pete from France
    October 20th, 2014

    Hello Dave,

    Been a while since I left a comment.

    I hope you look after yourself, I don’ t do social media , so I probably miss a lot of information that you write on your social network.

    How about smoking? Gave it up definitely now?

    As said, take care of yourself.

    Pete from France


    • November 3rd, 2014

      Hi Peter, Not much has happened. I’ll write a proper one very shortly to update what’s going on. I am in Zambia right now and just getting back on my feet walking. Smoking? 75 days so far. Always a challenge..


      • Pete from France
        November 21st, 2014

        75 days…, three months by now. I quit a year ago, and now I don’ t miss it.
        So just stick to it and think about those lungs recovering!
        Stay safe!

        Pete France


  6. frank54
    November 7th, 2014

    180 days is up. Looks like he’s dead. RIP


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