Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Paying Your Bills in Africa

The satellite cable went out a few days ago. Nothing seemed to be wrong with the connection, and everyone else on the compound has their TV working. After calling, it seems we were shut off because we didn't pay our bill. We never received a bill. Of course not, there is no mail here. There are no bills, you need to go to the office and pay your bills directly. Fortunately, they sent a guy over to pick up 6 months worth of cash. Of course we had to pay a set-up fee again. 3rd world infrastructure combined with 1st world fee structure.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Presidential Election in Gabon

I arrived in the end of August, just prior to the presidential election.

The former president died in June 2009. He was in power for 42 years. His son, Ali Bongo, was favored to succeed him (and he did). There were several opposition parties, although a visitor would not notice because there were posters for Ali Bongo everywhere (i.e. every lampost on the blvd) and I only saw one billboard for an opponent.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Local Friend & Our First Run-in with the Gendarme

We often visit a near-by boulangerie for coffee and our weekly bread (the only place to get bread products is at a bakery).  We made friends with one of the waiters, Dexter, who is very pleasant and is trying to learn English.  He goes to Omar Bongo University and he has been teaching us a lot about the local perspective (plus, we now get fresh bread without having to wait in line).

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Taking the Ferry Across the Bay to Point Denis

Libreville is located in an estuary, at one side of the mouth to a river that spills into the ocean. Across the bay, the other side of the mouth, is Point Denis. A thin strip of land that sticks out from the continent and essentially protects Libreville from the ocean. The bay (and Libreville) is on the inside of the peninsula and the Atlantic is on the outside.