None of the jobs came through.
It’s a disappointment. On the other hand, it removes a lot of uncertainty. There’s one other job still out there, but it can’t happen until December at the earliest. So, we have another season in Fladungen – and we know this, which allows us to make plans.
And I have work, at least for the moment. I’m writing this in Kinshasa, Congo. I’ll be in the Congo until October 5, looking at agricultural supply chains. So there’s that.
So. Down to the Congo we go, once more! How was it?
Frankfurt: as per, I took a cheap hotel in Frankfurt, stayed overnight, and caught an early train to the airport: checkin at 6 am, off the ground at 7:30.
Frankfurt has grown on me over time. It's not Manhattan, but it's got all sorts of different people wandering around. My hotel was in a Middle Eastern neighborhood; a big playground right by the door was full of kids, while guys in leather jackets were drinking beers on the sidewalk. For me, this seemed homey and familiar. Also, I found a comic book shop (the smell of the comic book shop is good for everything) and then ate cheap Thai food. So.
Flight: Brussels - Douala (Cameroon) - Kinshasa. There were about 60 Peace Corps volunteers aboard for Cameroon. We chatted. Such enthusiasm! It's hard not to love the Peace Corps.
Airport: Still not so great. Congo hasn't caught on to the "make the airport nice, it's everyone's first impression!" thing. The plane-to-gate bus had one door dangling loose; the baggage area was full of touts. (Some of these guys are really good. One came up to me and said "Monsieur! Your car is here, sir!" with such an air of authority that I almost followed him.)
Road from the airport: Four accidents, including one that looked lethal. True fact: the leading cause of death for foreigners in Africa? Traffic.
Hotel: The Memling, which is overall much better than the Grand, insofar as it isn't in a visible and obvious state of decrepitude. It's hair-raising expensive, though: $5 for a bottle of water, $7 for a coffee, $30 for the breakfast buffet. Also, there are signs in the elevators warning us to be careful with our personal goods, and you need to get a key from the desk to unlock the minibar. (Oh, and I have to go out into the corridor to log on to the wifi. But that's probably good for me.) On the plus side, the Memling is very centrally located -- you can walk (during the day; not advisable after dark) to various restaurants and a well-equipped supermarket.
Work: cautious optimism. The team is a mixture of old friends and new faces who seem competent and personable. We've set up a lot of meetings already. The DRC is a challenging work environment, but... let's see how it goes.