Today we are leaving the Central African Republic. My memories are not that good in general, about this country. Is it because a lot of policemen tried to cheat us? Is it because a lot of other travellers warned us about thieves, robberies and other dangerous things? We were lucky again.
On our way to the border, on the lower wet parts of the dirt road, we had to drive through swarms of black butterflies. Hundreds I killed, splashed on my goggles. Sometimes I had to hold my hand before my mouth and nose. Otherwise I couldn't breath. Luckily those butterflies are soft and sting less.
We still didn't hear a thing about those two crazy American bikers. Are they still waiting for their money to be transferred in Bangui? I drove uncontrolled through a small water hole and fall down. Again. That shit African red clay is very slippery. I'm still not used at it.
Very fast the formalities done at the CAR border in Mobaye. Fast, because we payed 2000 CFA (US$ 8) for a stamp in our carnet without arguing. A stamp is supposed to be for free. The ferry, for crossing the Ubangui, was another rip off (20 US$). But the only other choice was to drive a few hundreds kilometres back or to hire a pirogue.
On the other side of the river were some Zaire officials waiting for us. We had a hassle about our International Certificate of Vaccination. Two hours of arguing about a missing meningitis stamp. We had to pay or we had to go back, to get in Bangui a vaccination. For money they would risk a meningitis epidemic. But there was no sign of meningitis at all, so it was all about the money. We didn't pay and therefore we were a little afraid for the search through our luggage. But the customs took their job very easy. At the end it was only time we lost.
From the border to Gbadolite we could enjoy a tarmac road. Gbadolite, the place were the president of Zaire, Mobutu, was born. One of the few towns with a (one) tarmac road. And street lights. It was three months ago that I saw street lights and I was so surprised, that I drove the Mobutu avenue a few times up and down in the dark.
All modern buildings along this road gave the impression of a ghost town. Empty banks and shops. No people on the street. And no petrol available at the modern petrol station, nearly at the end of the Mobutu avenue and the beginning of an incredible dirt road. Even the manager of the petrol station couldn't help us. So we had to go to the market to buy some petrol, just behind the pompous Mobutu avenue. Back to the real Africa. Later, a man told us that the supermarket and the shops of Gbadolite were only open when the president visited his enormous villa in his home town.
In the hostel, they wouldn't allow us to share one room with one bed. Two boys in one bed was strongly interdit. At the end we paid only for one room, one night. We are used to those tricks now.
Tomorrow we can say goodbye to the tarmac and hello to the unknown heart of Africa.