Day 264: Visas and Viruses

21.09.09:

Okay. Today was my DAY OF ACTION. I headed down to the Angolan embassy first thing in the morning, armed with my passport my old visa, my letter of invitation, my onward flight ticket (don’t worry – it’s just for show), photos, photocopies, vaccination certificate and a nice, shiny new $100 bill.

There was no rhyme or reason as to who was ‘served’ first, so I just stood in the middle of the room full of people looking a little lost until somebody came to help me. They looked at my stuff and said that I needed a letter from my Embassy saying that I wasn’t an escaped serial killer or something. So I jumped a ‘taxi’ (a private car, but there are no real taxis in Kinshasa, so that makes every car that isn’t a 4×4 a taxi) to the Embassy and asked Parul very nicely to sort me out with a letter of introduction, which she did. I said my thanks and headed back to the Angolan embassy. Eventually, somebody came and rescued me again from the crowd. I was taken into the back room, handed over everything and crossed my fingers. They told me to come back in the next day.

I headed over to see Alex at his workplace. He does logistics for Medicins Sans Frontiers (MSF) and had agreed to help me fix my virus-ridden laptop.

Luckily, VERY luckily, I had backed up all my files onto a separate hard-drive the night before I left for Brazzaville, so once the decision was made to wipe my entire hard-drive, all I needed was a new copy of Windows, Office and Adobe Premiere. My little laptop (still going strong!!) hasn’t an internal DVD drive but Alex dug out an old external drive from some dusty cupboard somewhere in MSF HQ.

Are you sure you want to delete this partition?

Yes.

After a few hours, Little Lappy was almost back in business. I just needed a few more drivers and a copy of Office that wasn’t in French.

Hurrah for Alex!

Alex and Laure were going out for dinner with friends so I headed back to Michael’s and (predictably) rifled through some more DVDs. It was like a Blockbusters specially built for me but only with films that I always meant – one day – to get around to watching. Which is pretty amazing considering (as Danny Alexander will no doubt testify) that when I visit a real Blockbusters, I’ll have annoyingly already seen every film they have.

Hurrah for Michael!

Graham Hughes

Graham Hughes is a British adventurer, presenter, filmmaker and author. He is the only person to have travelled to every country in the world without flying. From 2014 to 2017 he lived off-grid on a private island that he won in a game show, before returning to the UK to campaign for a better future for the generations to come.

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