Archive for the ‘Democ. Rep. of Congo’ Category

The river that connects Siem Riep to Phnom Penh is one of the few – possibly the only – that seasonally changes direction, depending on which end of it is being rained on at any given moment. Or so Lonely Planet told me the time. Jumping between the two cities that afternoon – now years   Read More …

[Journal Extract, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2011] In Dispatches, Michael Herr titles his first chapter ‘Inhale’, and his last ‘Exhale’. I’ve been thinking about that writing tactic a lot lately. The notion that this – all of it – is like some coiled spring or compression/decompression cycle. That it can only be made sense of   Read More …

26 December: Epulu Ranger Station, Democratic Republic of Congo.  But for the early arrival of the pygmies from yesterday, the morning would have started unremarkably. Yesterday’s thunderstorm delayed the trade in Ituri forest crafts, but this morning, they arrived with scores of necklaces made from forest nuts, small seeds and bark rope. Plus a musical instrument   Read More …

Returning is only over when you are back at a place you recognise as home, waking up in a bed that remembers how you like to spread out at night, for more than a week. By that yardstick, I’ll be home on Wednesday and you will get delicious audiovisual treatery soon after. For now, though, a brief storytelling interlude via some quick stats written on the dirtiest back pages of my journal.

Up at 04h30. In Entebbe airport by 06h00. On a plane by 08h30 and starting the long trek home. It’s all so managed. So clean. In your seat. Eat your meal. Listen to music or fall asleep for distraction. I feel awry in the whitespace. My clothes are filthy, and probably smell a little.

It’s undeveloped, and it has crap roads – these things are true. But it is also full of really friendly people, to whom we have not had to pay a single bribe, who have really gone out of their way to show us a great time.

I’ve been holding my breath a lot the last fortnight or so. Catching myself needing to stop, unclench and breathe a little easier, over and over again. The invitation letter I need for my visa came through today. The fixer is confirmed. A thousand ephemeral shards of some implausible dream have suddenly spliced themselves together   Read More …

Two years and some some change ago, on a dark rooftop in Addis Ababa, I recall having my thousandth Ethiopian espresso with Jonathan, a friend and adventuresome soul who had come to join me for my days in the country on my slow road north to Cairo. I can’t recall much about the setting, besides   Read More …

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