I took horrible pictures in Kinshasa. Why? It's actually illegal to take photographs of the scenes around you. If you are caught, the police and snatch up your camera and take you in to the police station! For that reason, you'll see that I had to take photos from behind our driver's tinted windows and that there is a bad reflection at times. My dad and I both love taking pictures, so being in a city with so much character and exoticism truly was torture for us. What pictures we could have gotten had we been allowed to shoot freely! Anyway, here are some bad pictures just to give you an idea of what Kinshasa is like. Please keep in mind that The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the poorest countries in the world, and that Kinshasa is a city of over 10 million people. The government is corrupt and police loaded down with machine guns can pretty much be seen on the road every other minute as driving. As a fellow guest at Sunny Days said, "The more AK-47s you see around a country, the more unstable the country is." You'll notice we didn't take any pictures of the police or military. They're quite scary!
Traffic in Kinshasa is HORRENDOUS. If there is a traffic jam at an intersection, instead of waiting for it to clear, people just drive around it. People regularly run lights, and there are pedestrians and vendors walking down and across the street constantly.
Everywhere you look, there are people carrying things on their heads. Our favorites were the people who carried 2-foot-tall stacks of egg cartons on their heads. AMAZING BALANCE.
How did this American school bus get to Kinshasa?! It was being used as a taxi, and it was stuffed to the gills with passengers both sitting and standing in the aisles.
You can't see them all because our car was moving and I wasn't fast enough, but this was a pack of about 30 motorcycles taxi. Sometimes they carry several people at once, and it's not uncommon to see children or babies riding.
A crew was in the process of picking up this trash, but STILL. I have never seen so much litter lying around as there is in Kinshasa. It's very sad to see the streets and canals/creeks leading to the Congo River filled with trash.
A random street scene
Coconut for sale!
Baguettes for sale!
A beautiful and typical Congolese scene: mother with baby attached with fabric to her back. Godson was used to being carried like this, and for that reason, he loves being carried in the Ergo carrier I bought.
It's difficult to tell, but this dump truck's entire load was covered with people hitching a ride!
Unfinished construction--a common sight
That's all for today. Maybe I'll post more Kinshasa pictures later.