Lucy’s Travel Diary
Leaving the bustling city of Abidjan behind, the Blue Train continued its journey through the diverse landscapes of Africa. I had just begun to settle back into my cozy seat, reminiscing about the vibrant sights of Ivory Coast, when Abeni, the knowledgeable and friendly conductor, appeared once again.
As I turned to greet her, she wore an intrigued expression on her face. “Lucy, I have a surprise for you. We’re about to make an unexpected stop in the Republic of Congo.”
My curiosity piqued, I quickly grabbed my travel diary, ready to jot down the new experiences that awaited me in Congo. The lush scenery outside my window transformed from the savanna into a dense tropical forest, and the train began to slow down.
I asked Abeni,
‘What brings us to the Republic of Congo? Is there something special to see here?’
With a knowing smile, she replied,
‘We’ve made this stop to provide travellers with a glimpse of the natural beauty of this nation. The Republic of Congo is known for its pristine rainforests and abundant wildlife, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts.’
As the train came to a halt, I eagerly disembarked, eager to explore the verdant surroundings. Abeni joined me, leading the way into the dense jungle. The air was filled with the sounds of exotic birds and the rustling of leaves as we ventured deeper into the forest.
We didn’t have to walk far before we encountered one of the most incredible sights – a cute, yet weird-looking animal. I had never seen anything like it before!
‘The Republic of Congo is one of the best places in the world to witness all kinds of animals. This region is home to a diverse range of wildlife, and one of them is the Aardvark.’
I couldn’t believe my luck, witnessing such a remarkable sight right in the heart of Africa. I stayed silent, not wanting to disturb the Aardvark, and carefully observed its sniffing for food.
It kind of reminded me of an opossum but had rabbit-like ears and a long snout, similar to a pig.
‘The name Aardvark is Afrikaans and comes from earlier Afrikaans ‘erdvark’ and means ‘earth pig’ or ‘ground pig’, because of its burrowing habits. The Aardvark is not closely related to a pig though. This one here must be really hungry, as usually they are nocturnal.’
Abeni explained and smiled.
I quickly took a photo with my phone, and hurried after the group which was already heading back to the train.
Later, as the train rolled on, the vibrant city of Kinshasa came into view. I was excited to explore this dynamic city, and Abeni had promised to be my guide once again.
As we disembarked and headed into the heart of Kinshasa, Abeni told me:
‘Welcome to Kinshasa, located on the banks of the Congo River. A bustling metropolis with a unique blend of cultures and a rich history! Did you know that Robots monitor the traffic of this city?’
I stopped walking and turned to her with questionmarks in my eyes:
‘By 2015, five robots were operating in the city. The traffic lights had been integrated into the system of these robots, with the red light on their front and back, and the green lights on their arms. These robots even have TV cameras to record violations of traffic rules.’
‘I suppose they are immune to bribery, huh?’
This made Abeni laugh again,
‘Exactly! Unlike humans.’
Abeni shared some more fascinating stories about the city’s history, its vibrant arts scene, and the warmth of its people. One of the highlights of our visit was a trip to the Marché de la Liberté, a bustling market where local artisans displayed their craftwork.
Amidst the lively atmosphere, we stumbled upon a group of local children who were performing a traditional dance. Their infectious enthusiasm and rhythmic movements had everyone gathered around, clapping and dancing along. It was a moment of pure joy, and I couldn’t help but join in the celebration.
Our day in Kinshasa was filled with laughter, music, and the warmth of the local people. As we boarded the Blue Train once more, I felt a deep sense of gratitude for the unexpected friendships and adventures that this journey had brought into my life.