The trip to Kinshasa, DRC took about 24 hours including airport layovers and minor schedule changes. It was relatively easy except for the fact that I could not sleep, despite have a reclining seat, pillow and blanket. Night one, the man in front of me snored so loudly, if I could have slept in the awkward position, the noise would have raised me and others from the dead! My new favorite airline is Air France. Without exception, the flight attendants and airport reps were superbly polite, cheerful and engaging. I had a ball watching the gentleman sitting next to me, flirt actively with the flight attendant who played along and then...cut him off with a grin and wave. He was laughing like crazy and prefers Brussels Air but thought aloud that he might have to make a change in carriers.
Today, Monday, was my first work day and I had 12 members of radio companies in attendance. We were to begin at 9 a.m. but actually started around 9:30. We worked on DRC time and, as it turned out, had plenty of time to exchange information, learn about strategic and operational planning and why business and journalistic standards are so critical to maintain and embrace. I was terrifically impressed with the participants' openness, willingness to share, and question some of the information I was sharing with them.
Because the day was a long one, I didn't have time to go out and see anything. I did take a couple of photos at the hotel. Brazzaville, the capitol of the Congo, and Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are the two closest capitols in the world. Each is on one side of the Congo River and one can see Brazzaville and its iconic bridge from the hotel, where I am housed.
The bridge photo was taken inside of a lounge so it is difficult to see clearly...beautiful and in some ways, reminds me of the Mackinaw Bridge. The hotel is very modern and had I known where I was staying in advance, I would have brought swim and gym gear. Had a great dinner tonight with a woman from the CDC in Atlanta and I should have photos of our dinner...yup, interesting. The huge cactus is from the front garden and you can see the name of the hotel. I am at the Kempinski Hotel Fleuve Congo and it is a high rise building which one cannot see in this photo.
Please be patient....I have not been on this blog in three years and am finding that the blog template and photo uploading has been changed. So learning...again!