After leaving Lubumbashi one quickly arrives at yet another toll booth. 50$US again (!) for a short piece of horribly potholed tarmac. This time I stop the car a long end before the booth and walk to get my ticket. There is a big "queue" (read: a pile of people). I just stuck my arm trough the window without letting them see myself and give the equivalent amount for locals (1$US). They give me back a receipt and presto. Another 49$ saved!
The road starts out good
But the asphalt soon stops and makes way for a graded dirt road. It is in pretty good condition.
We make good progress until we hit the end of a traffic jam. A seemingly endless series of big lorries stand still on the entire width of the road. We stop and are greeted with demands for "cadeaux", "un jus", etc... Mind you, these are not officials, they are just the truckdrivers.
Josephine stays in the car while I walk to the front of the queue (a kilomter or so). In the valley there is a huge mud pit that just about swallowed an articulated lorry. This obviously happened quite some time ago. Next to it is another lorry stuck, leaning dangerously. Next to that one is yet another stuck lorry. And another, ... There are 5 lorries next to eachother. All stuck. This is now blocking the entire road. 20 man are digging away but when they see me they instantly stop and start shouting at me
"Hé le Blanc!"
"Mundele!' = mzungu
"Le Blanc, Il va payer!" = The white guy, he is going to pay (if I want to pass)
"Donner moi de l'argent" = Give me money
There were about a 100 people on the side of road watching the spectacle and they started laughing at me and shouting all sorts of nasty things.
This entire situation felt very treatening and I just wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. While walking back to Josephine some more friendly people talked to me. Apparantly they had been there for 4 days now without any movement. But they said small 4x4's could get past.
Not without hesitation we started negotiating our way trough the parked trucks and around the mudpit. You could see that the crowd was just waiting for us to get stuck.
Fortunately we got trough.
Sorry, no pictures of this mess. The enviroment was just to hostile to start flashing expensive cameras.