Saturday, April 18, 2009

Colonel Ebeya

In Perfect Circle I mention the relationship between towns an villages on the banks of the Zaire River. In the novel I write about Shawaiti, a village and the Colonel Ebeya. Shawaiti is fictional, but the Colonel Ebeya isn't.

From Kinshasa to Kisangani there’s 800 miles of Zaire river. The Colonel Ebeya is a barge train that runs between both cities, a trip that can take anywhere from 20 to 40 days. The Ebeya stops at many places in between. Villagers paddle their canoes to the Ebeya to trade city goods and medicines for "jungle meat" (monkeys, pangolins, etc).

The DRC. Is a difficult country to visit. Besides shufta (bandits) there are lots of soldiers and policemen out on the prowl. They get paid very little and infrequently, therefore, tourists provide a second income.

Unless you speak good French, Lingala, Kikongo, Tshiluba, Mongo, Lunda or any other of the DRC languages, be ready to dole out backsheesh (bribes) regularly.

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