Thursday, 13 February 2014

Congo Brazzaville and Democratic Republic of Congo .

Africa-Congo Republic-Brazzaville  Arriving at  the airport I had to go through a number of immigration officers as they were all looking for bribes in one form or another and more paperwork.It did not make any difference that my visa was in order, they still needed more . Got though this in the end. Brazzaville is a picturesque city that has seen better days. Charles de Gaulle lived here during the 2nd World War. You can still see the streets that are lined with trees. Very easy to get around. The President was going to and from the airport so once that happened all traffic in the centre was stopped for hours until he made it to the airport in his state car followed by two ambulances and many other cars. Brazzaville was pleasant enough and I visited the Memorial of Brazza as on the postcard. Spend a few days here and enjoyed the buzz of the place. 

The main post office had a large Philatelic Display. Very surprising and a good selection of stamps. It was quite large, but dark and no one there except me. But the staff were very friendly and a nice clean postmark too. 

Africa-Congo Democratic Republic of -Kinshasa  I arrived in Kinshasa across the great Congo River. You can see Kinshasa from Brazzaville . Kinshasa had a surprising amount of high rise buildings. It was not easy crossing the river and to get out through immigration on the Congo side. My passport was taken from me for about 1 hour while I waited to see what boat I was on for the 30 minute crossing. Then to board they call out your name and you get your passport back. On the way to all of this you pass many officials who wish to find out where you are going and who you are. So in the end you just say you are on business. Telling them you are a tourist tends to get a strange look and more questions. Kinshasa has very wide boulevard which is amazing to see, how busy it all is. When here I also went out to the Bonobo sanctuary. The museum had just reopened and you could see where the previous president lived Mobutu. It was a excellent museum to visit. The above mausoleum I did not manage to visit . The soldiers wanted 100 USD to visit as a bribe .   

Prior to arriving in Democratic Republic of Congo ( DRC for short) my Lonely Planet Guide said there was no Post office in Kinshasa and to use DHL. Well there is indeed a Post office in Kinshasa. The first job is to find a postcard. I did find one but the street seller wanted 5 USD, but when I said I did not really want a postcard the price came down to a more reasonable 2 USD. The Post office is very large and has seen better days. The stamp sellers where at a kitchen table inside the post office in the sorting section. There you could see piles of mail just sitting there in bags. Looks like it was there for ages. The stamp sellers only had these stamps. There was not enough space on the card , so I had to place the stamps as you see them .I do also find it amazing they still sell Zaire stamps overprinted with Republic Dem of Congo. Here the stamps show Joseph Kabila. the current President of DRC.  I later went into a new part of the post office . The area you can send money from like Western Union. There the counter had more stamps , but they made it clear they were just for collectors and were not for use on the mail. There was no new  issues and all looked like stamps that had no connection with DRC.  Well this is one of my favourite postcards in my collection. Also to do with the stamps and being told the Post office did not exist and that if you  could mail a Postcard it would never see the light of day.. Well how wrong they all were.. Not a easy country to visit or to get a Postcard from. 

4 comments:

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  2. Wow.. what an amazing story. Glad to read and see that you managed to get a postcard mailed from DR Congo. Cheers from Penang island, SL Liew :)

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  3. David , these are great stories, I can't wait for the book. Postcards from DR Congo are sure hard to come by . That overprinted Zaire stamp for DR Congo is a great one. It is from a 2000 set of 9. It SC # 1547. Both the Scott Catalogue and Postbeeld FreeStampCatalogue call them Overprinted Not-released / Uinissued Stamps. That's all well and good, but somewhere along the way, someone released them for sale. And you are the lucky one to have one on a postcard.

    The Scott Publishing Company would possibly like to know of and perhaps see a scan of that stamp on postcard , so they might perhaps update their records. Just a thought.
    Either way, it is a really good collectable, a real keeper.
    Take care.

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  4. Thank you Glenn for the information . It is so helpful to know the history of those stamps.

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