We all had a good rest and were up at 5.30am to finish off on some cleaning up. Some of the team had laundry done. After two very tough days, it was great to have a relatively slow start after a breakfast of omelettes and good old bully beef on bread with coffee and tea followed by a farewell to Father Roman and his team. We had to fuel up and eventually got out of Nia Nia at 8.50am.
We rode on a good dirt road all the way to Kisangani stopping three times along the way. It was great driving through the forest kilometre after kilometre with villages dotted along the way.
The last stop was at a little village called 122 which is the distance to Kisangani! We stopped for cold drinks and sat at a little shop taking in the local village vibe for a while.
Then back on the road and after 100km with 23km to go, we were met by Robert and Shabir from DCMS, who are one of our contractors and partners in Kibali, and the taxi men in NVEP t-shirts along with lots of cheering and loud music.
The taxi men lead us into town and to our hotel amongst much fanfare and hooting, arriving around 3pm. The hotel Riviera is pure luxury compared to where we have stayed since leaving Kibali.
After a very tasty lunch of Lebanese cuisine we had a shower and the team started working through the bikes which had taken quite a hammering over the past three day. Mark spent the time catching up on his day job. The bikes were washed, topped up with oil and the filters washed and oiled. Some of the bikes needed Mikes magic touch to solve circuitry and starter faults. Mike had been jump starting Charles’ bike since he earned the name Charlie Brown yesterday - that problem is now fixed.
We then all jumped into Shabir's and his brothers’ car and drove down to the Congo River to view the Wagenya Fishermen. The Wagenya tribe have been fishing the Congo rapids since time immemorial and still fish with the same traditional baskets made out of vines and material that grows naturally in the forest.
Back to the Riviera and, after putting the bikes back together the team assembled in the bar for refreshments whilst waiting for Cyrille and Raph to rock up with the ’all too precious’ spares, having spent a night out in the jungle. The vehicle they were travelling in is still out there. Pacific, another Congolese partner of ours, worked out a plan to rescue them but our land cruisers are still stuck behind a number of trucks that are completely bogged down and there is no way round!
Tomorrow is a 335km day similar to today but with some bad tar portions and potholes.
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