It is a reasonably sized town on the river Congo, north of the capital Kinshasa. I didnt really know what to expect of it so I was sort of surprised by the city-like athmosphere of the place. But I should have thought it was not that run down since there was a large commercial flight going there from Kinshasa. OK, the check-in experience for this internal flight was one of the most chaotic things I have ever seen to take place in an air-port but still they did give us ham and cheese sandwiches at two times during the flight.
Even compared to Kinshasa here in Mbandaka is very, very hot AND humid. Something like Boston in August.
On Tuesday, when I arrived, I met the team who have been preparing the boats, provisions and all, and who on Sunday, if all goes on schedule, will take me and Sally Coxe from the Bonobo Conservation Initiative to the remote site of Kokolopori. The journey, according to the guy who is in charge of navigating the boat up the river, will take us 6 days at best. Non-stop. I was told I will be notified of the rest-room arrangements once we start the journey.I cant wait.
Life here pretty much is going peacefully and slowly. Gone is the hassle of Kampala and Kinshasa. People are going around their business, whatever that may be, and for a visitor like myself it is surpisingly easy to blend in. At least, even in the market area, I am not assaulted by scores of eager to sell their stuff vendors. It is very laid back here. Especially so in the evenings when the main pass time seems to be drinking beer in local bars
OK I was gonna write some more but a guy just walked in to tell me I am using too much fuel so may be I can call it a day. Not in these same words but I managed to get the point even in Lingala.