Getting to Leconi, a little town, in the little country of Gabon, was supremely challenging.
Mainly because north Congo is, y’know jungle.
Roads here, are a luxury, per se.
The vibe in the Ocean du Nord bus station, on the outskirts of Brazzaville, was very, “What the fuck is a white guy doing here!?
My bus was supposed to leave at 7.
It left at 10.
After watching the Bus bouncer, ticket agent interact with everyone on the bus before boarding, I ascertained the would be passengers assumed their five children would be riding for free.
The agent argued with almost every adult passenger, ensuring the bus would resemble an actual organized bus and not a inner city elementary at recess.
Could mean anything?
no bro, you check y o u r s e l f.
As fate or irony would have it, however, I had the pleasure of sitting beside 3 kids crammed into 2 seats, for 9 hours.
At one point I got to be a bed for the sick one.
Mr Faulkner, my Junior high guidance counsellor.
Q: What do you wanna be when you grow up?
A: A bed for sick African children.
The road was intermittent with Long stretches of clay improvisations. When the road did appear the transition was so abrupt that on two occasions It snapped my sleeping head forward hard enough to loudly crack my teeth together.
Tonguing around my mouth for sandy bits of teeth as a waking chore?
Worse than recycling.
But eventually, the bus arrived in Ewo. Conveniently there was a hotel just across the street.
I call this Hotel, No Electricity or Water After Ten.
It’s a one star.
In the morning, after my refreshing red water shower, I decided to purge roughly 6 pounds of comics, clothes and my beloved Night Fury mini fanny, from my rotund backpack.
I walked to the taxi station, giving away my Congo Comics and drawing pens to various kids dressed in school uniforms, along the way.
A hard thing to do, trust.
But I can’t read french, so.
Just imagine what these stories would be like!?
After negotiating a transportation price with a gaggle of tired looking scooter chauffeurs, for close to an hour, it became clear that getting to Lèconi, in Gabon from Ewo, in the Republic of Congo, was going to be expensive.
Because there isn’t a road, per se.
After my two baguette breakfast, I found a driver in a Muslim market who would take me for fifteen thousand francs (30$).
Let’s roll Davi.
But first we had to stop at a mud shack guarded by three men.
Because of the gas shortage in northern Congo, these men were charged with guarding the few barrels they had stashed away in the hut, thus becoming the local gas station.
I call this station, Bucks Secret.
Funnels and liter water bottles, baby.
Three water bottles worth later and we were on our way.
Except, there is no road, Marty.
And Davi is a mad man.
We were driving in rally pursuit mode on thin sandy tracks, apprehension became zen as I became, the little blue scooter.
Punctuated of course with slow bumpy expeditions into unkempt jungle foliage.
Ocassionally meeting crews of ten or fifteen men, machetes and back hoes in hand reshaping the jungle so that it was slightly more accessible, while justifiably extorting small coin from every person funnelled through their creation.
Think Robin Hood, but less banditry.
“Here’s 300 Francs guys, by the way, let me see that cool machete.”
Soon I realized that Davi was using my presence on his scooter as a lure to try and fuck all the local village women.
He’d ride in. Stop. Call out to a girl.
Soon the bike would be sourrounded by 30 people, Davi would get numbers then we’d dip.
This happened on four occasions.
Very pimp that Davi.
I managed to capture one such occasion in my video.
In one village, while Davi worked his, look at me I’m driving the mondèlè, magic with hot new moms.
I was chill’n with the youth, as I do.
These kids all had the dopest sling shots, except here in french Congo they called “lanceur”.
I tried several.
These awesome kids were keeping me in rich supply of seeds shaped like chocolate mini eggs, helping me to eventually find my, Excalibur.
The lanceur of Armstrong.
“Combien?” I asked, to the crowd of kids who just saw me hit a distant yellow water jug THREE TIMES IN A ROW.
Swear to god.
“Mille franc” Ron, a mature kid with a dope scar on his forehead, said.
“Whose lanceur est it?” I asked.
Everyone pointed to a small, quiet boy, who smiled at me shyly with very little eye contact.
I opened my wallet and gave him a thousand francs.
These kids went bananas!
They all rushed the shy kid, picked him up like he just found an oasis in Timbuktu.
Almost immediately they were chanting “Mille franc Mille Franc Mille franc!”
Then the crowd overflowed and these happy joyful children doggy piled the shy boy still holding the blue note, chanting Mille Franc.
Two dollars people.
This kid is a legend, and it cost me two dollars.
Plus I have a sweet lanceur
The commotion distracted Davi from his objective, which is to be the Congolese Ganges Khan.
We dipped, yet again.
After another hour or so we arrived at last, in Okoyo.
My Khan left while I waited on the patio of the police station for the fabled taxi that wouldn’t arrive.
After a few hours of waiting, I hailed another scooter to take me to Mbie.
Cost: 10,000 francs.
Experience: I’ll answer my question, with a rhetorical question.
Ever ride into liquid sunlight?
Into a sun that seemed to radiate from below the horizon?
On an empty road.
Flashes of lightning strobing panoramic left, where the sky is folding itself into a deep, foreboding purple soup?
It was ok.
Once I arrived in Mbie, it was another dark police station, immigration office hybrid for me.
It was here where I offically exited the The Republic of Congo.
The “Chief” told me a familiar tale of “no clean water for him and his men.”
“Could you give something?” He asked.
“Combien?” I asked quietly.
“Two thousand?” He said.
“Oh, yeah, I can give you and your guys a duce, no problem” I said relieved he didn’t ask me for 5, or 10 thousand, or more!
In which case I would have had to say “no” enter ensuing awkwardness, punuated with me walking a now dark road looking for a scooter to take me to the border of Leconi.
But! Two thousand bought me good company and police help in looking for a vehicle to take me to Lèconi!YUS!
After refusing to pay 40,000 to go 54 kilometres, to a shady cop who approached me in a very, steam bath in Caesars Rome, kind of way.
That is to say, speaking quietly and shifty.
Because he knew, if my new pal the Chief herd him, he’d have to divide his spoils by at least half.
But, a banana and goat transporter just pulled up to the gate, he said he’d drop me in Lèconi for 10,000 francs.
Off we went into the night.
Congo behind me.
F O R E V E R.
At least in its current expression.
Now I was in Gabon.
And things were going to take one more twist before I could successfully get to Leconi.
Read more about that in: