If it wasn’t already obvious, I had a bit of a problem getting my entry stamp into Gabon, despite having a valid visa.
40 minutes after leaving Mbiè, the last town on the boarder of Congo, I reached Lèconi, just inside the boarder Gabon.
The situation unfolded in a small white, decomposing, immigration shack, basked in soft, tranquil moonlight.
Think the Beach with Leonardo Dicapero.
Mobys porcelain playing in the background.
“In my dreams, I’m dying all the tiiiiiiime”
For the full experience, listen to Porcelain, if you continue reading.
I arrived in a Toyota truck, filled to the hilt with green bananas, pineapples and four goats taped inside burlap sacks, screaming like babies playing near a deep fryer.
Did these screaming goats fuck me?
I think yes.
Yes, for sure yes.
Inside the shack sat my new nemesis, from here on, to be known only as, Underling Brian.
Underling Brian was sitting in the shack watching some sexy french soap opera.
As soon as I walked inside, the small screen showed two naked whites about to hump.
Suffice to say, it was a weird atmosphere immediately.
“Monsieur, I said
“I need an entrée stamp on page quatorzece, s’il vous plaît?”
He glanced at me and said, “no.”
Excuse? I said.
My full attention shifting from the guy who looked like Loch from Lost about to show a ginger debutante his, Dharma Initiative.
“frontière fermé” he said, twisting both hands like he was playing an imaginary game of fooseball.
Now, before you read on it’s important to note:
I hate Borders.
The expensive express option.
The finger printing.
The baggage searches.
And here in Africa- The dress code.
There’s something intrinsically unnatural about the whole: Apply to walk the earth, scheme.
Like putting aspartame in apple juice.
And, just gross.
The thing with these boarders is, they’re a fiction.
They don’t actually exist.
It’s a fiction however, that works only if all other fictions participate.
Tonight the Congo fiction played its part, I have a red marker in my passport denoting my passage, now what?
To leave a fiction you must enter a fiction.
Gabon was refusing to enter me haha, so I was forced to be nowhere.
I like nowhere, just fine.
If, that is, nowhere was an option.
The slippery thing about this entry exit business is that, if I exit a country on the 10th, I should be entering a country on the 10th.
Especially if the countries boarder one another.
If not, there’s guaranteed suspicion among all the other fictions.
Something I learned first hand after visiting Ecuador for the afternoon from Màncora Peru.
I thought it would be fun to go to Ecuador for lunch, and get a stamp in my passport.
Turns out, going over the Ecuador fiction for a half day gets my car tossed every time I drive across the American fiction.
Same day stamp?
“Get the dogs Larry, we’re checking this hippies tires”
“CHECKING JERRY GARCIA ON TWO”
It was even confirmed as SWAT tossed my amigo Connors car.
“It’s because of the Ecuador stamp isn’t it?” I asked, leading the witness.
“I can’t say, but unofficially yes, it’s a flag”
So, this little Gabonese passport disruption could have long term, inconvenient consequences.
Thus Justifying my contempt for all border politics.
I hate them all.
May everyone who works to enforce a boarder find Jesus, or Allah, or inner enlightenment.
You’re better off being homeless mystics, than enforcing weaponized bureaucracy.
“You can’t close the border! It’s not allowed!” I said fervently.
“Oui”, he said calmly, “c’est Gabon.”
Then he wrote on a piece of paper 18:00h, and said “fermé”
“Just because you write it on paper doesn’t make it real” I yelled, “You’re not Gabon!”
Now switching to my extensive french vocabulary and annunciation.
“Monsieur! Na pas possible! Illegal Monsieur! Frontiers n’a pas fermé!
“NA PAS Gabon”
See, it’s this kind of communication prowess that demands respect from a night shift boarder security underling, like Brian.
He sat there smirking, perfuming himself with my viscous anger.
This was his freak show and I was dancing like a juggilo.
“If I drive back to Brazzaville” I was yelling, “then fly into Libreville TONIGHT, immigration won’t let me enter because because, because Gabons closed!?
Now, totally manic with anger.
“The airport closes in Libreville?!”
I realized I replaced his French porn movie.
I was the french porn.
I decided to channel my inner Michael Fassbender, again.
I made a fake phone call, to the entire Government of Canada at 9 o’clock at night, where I left a fake message to someone important, who would definitely give a shit about what I was dealing with and get back to me after she talked to the President of Gabon.
“Oh hi Sarah, it’s Bobby I’m having a problem here in Lèconi, yeah they close the border at 6pm now, yes, very bizarre. … can you call president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, thanks Sarah.
Improvised Actor level:
I don’t know if it worked or not, but Underling Brian called his Chief, shortly after my performance.
Soon me, the banana goat driver, Underling Brian’s Underling, Underling Brian and his Chief, let’s call him Overlord Doug, were all talking at once, at the phone, being held over Underlings Brian’s head.
The chief hung up.
“CHIEF? CHEF! CHI … ALLO? CHIEEEF! ALLO. ALLO CHIEF!”
The underling sounded like a teenager asking his mom to play fortnight”
Unnecessarily whiny, garnished with “you better let me play fortnight bitch!”
Dance for ME Jugglio.
The air was ripe with satisfaction, pungent even, sensed by no doubt by Underling Brian’s underling.
He demanded to see inside my bag.
“Open Open!” He chanted.
“You open it!” I said
Inside my brain, I was seething.
I just packed my bag so goood, everything was perfect.
A model of absolute packing perfection.
“Open!” He said again, this time with a gentle kick at my bag.
I decided to make this bag search the longest, most annoying, defeating procedure Underling Brian’s underling, ever sat through.
“These are my shorts from Kinshasa, I said unfolding them.
I’m not a fan of football, but these for some reason, I really like these!
Ok Ok, Underling Brians underling said, already fidgeting impatiently.
“This is my art bag, I said announcing it and its use before opening it.
Like a show and tell, but from hell.
Once I got to explaining where I bought my razor blades and the halarious story of how I reacted when I learned that razor blades are called Gillette in French.
Underling Brian’s underling walked outside.
I closed my bag, affirming an important lesson.
Patience trumps Anger. Always.
Put another way, better to be patient than angry.
Overlord Doug called back.
“Let him go to a hotel in Leconi, but he must come back in the morning to get the entrer stamp.”
I guess borders don’t close after all, Underling Bitch.
Meanwhile, I’m so hungry.
I’ve been taking Bilazheha meds to kill a parisite I potentially picked up while swimming across the white Nile river, in Ginja, Uganda.
Basically nuking my stomach.
Not eating the whole day made the stomach ache even worse.
But that’s all over now.
I’m finally in Leconi.
In a hotel.
Eating a vegetarian ham omelette.
Tomorrow I’m off to Franceville.
You can turn Moby off now, if you want to.
Fun fact 001:
I once swam from Ko phi phi Don to Ko phi phi Leh, the island where they filmed the Beach.
Ahh Thailand, the Good ol’ days.