Shortly after 5am with a glimps of daylight appearing over the African sky Lipstick was put back into driving mode by packing away Cushions and changing seats from Sleep to Sit position.
By that time some 20trucks behind Lipstick and some 10 trucks in front of Lipstick also started to warm up their engines and team Lipstick proceeded to thank the army and soldiers for the nice stay over by taking down their names and phone numbers and handing over some foldable Congolese money in memory of most probably the first overlanders staying over in this village…..
Off on the pot hole road again for another 40km ( 2 hours) before the team reached Kinkala and a solid tar road leading to Brazzaville. A quick stop over to buy some bread and shortly after Kinkala team Lipstick had a nice breakfast in the bush although unshaven , dirty and still somehow tired from sleeping in the car.
Brazzaville was reache by 11.30 and Lipstick headed straight to the border control in the harbour where the team wanted to meet up with the brother of the Chief in Command at Mindouili.
On arrival the team could not trust their eyes but there he was – the blue ubiformed man in charge of custom who waited outside the office to be greet team Lipstick . His brother must have given him a good description of how Lipstick looks and he immediately assisted us to clear the carnet de passage and handed the team over to a Fixer who speeded them through passport control and within 30 minutes of arrival carnet and passport was stamped and signed . Team Lipstick salutes the commander in Mindouli and his brother in Brazzaville!
Now the fixers task was to get the team on a boat and Lipstick followed him down to the harbour were hundreds of people were obviously waiting to go on a ferry or getting off. This was now African Chaos at its best.
First a quote needed to be obtained from the crane operators who would lift Lipstick onto the barge and then a barge operator needed to be found. By that time it became clear that the fixer’s main task for the day was to suck as much money out of the team as possible.
The team decided to go back to the Custom’s chief to ask for his advise regarding car lifting and barge and to the teams surprise he called a taxi and a friend of his and tTeam Lipstick proceeded to see a barge operator in Brazzaville to get some professional advise.
An hour later agreement was reached that Lipstick could be lifted from the harbour onto a barge in Brazzaville by 8.30am the following day so back with the taxi to the customs office again thanking the custom chief director for his help and then Lipstick took off out of the port in search for a place to stay in Brazaville…
So there they were – properly stamped out of the country , the carnet de passage showing Lipstick to be out of the Congo but still driving through the streets of Brazzaville and finding a nice B & B called Villa Momama where the team could rest for the night and at least have a shower and shave.
A well known stopover for overlanders is the Hippocamp in Brazaville but unfortunately this was fully occupied but the team proceeded to have dinner there.
One other overlander was found to stay over at the Hippocamp and on the way there to have some dinner a local traffic police cop chased Lipstick on his motorbike.
International drivers Licence was handed over and the officer explained that Lipstick drove the wrong way around a traffic circle… even the explanation that this might have been caused by the Garmin navigator and the fact that Lipsticks steering wheel is on the wrong side could not convince the officer.
Sir in contravention of the traffic rules I need to give you a ticket for 25000 Caf (R500) which you need to pay within 24 hours at the police station.
This might well have been another invitation to contribute to the cops’s next Christmas party but knowing that a crane and barge would take Lipstick the next day across the Congo River the ticket was taken with serious questions of where the police station would be and whether one can pay by credit card , cash or cheque.
This was too much for the officer and after proceeding to hand over the ticket he took off on his bike leaving the team with the first ticket of the trip but also with NO more international drivers licence for Willy….
Rather then to waste time to chase the bike or going to the police station the next morning the team decided it would be best to in future show coloure copies of the international drivers licence to who ever wants to see it..
Arriving at the Hippocamp the team met another overlander – named Angus from Ireland – with whom the team exchanged experiences as Angus was on his way up from South Africa towards Gibraltar whereas Lipstick was on the way South.
After some Redwine and Whiskey Angus had to waive the white flag following various attempts on beating Willy at Nkongi chess and overall it was indeed great to chat to another enthusiastic man trying to find out more about roads , lives and cultures on the West African shore lines….