i've decided that i've had it with kinshasa hotel life. you pay more than $100/day for the non-stop people games, the unclean laundry, the "madame! madame!," the pets and brown water, the expensive restaurant, etc, etc.
our previous apartment rental here ended in disaster..why not just stay with someone? who lives here? like normally? so i put an ad in the british embassy bulletin. and a bunch of people wrote me back! so i went apartment hunting!
buuuut it's kindof different. first of all, no street signs. when you talk to someone, you have to know all these place markers, it's like, do you know the restaurant where they serve elephant? the burned down fire department? what about the zambian ambassador's house? the urban planning ministry (haha, fooled you that doesn't exist).
so, first you have to find the place (though i found out the nice people who come and pick you up!).
then you need to know if it has power? water? toilet? these things are especially important if the apartment is on the 26th floor (yes there is such a thing!!).
i ran the gamut, visiting houses of interns, NGO do-gooders, christian do-gooders, and well, i decided to live with the italian guy (raybans, italian soccer jersey, pencil thin goah-tee) and his octogenarian parents and 2 hyper poodles. it's 5000 sq. ft? they have a pool. and own the best italian restaurant in town ("don't go to napolitano - it's owned-ah by portguese-ah!!") and live right across from the presidential palace. so close you need to get a military camouflage dude to move a cone when you come home. for 1/5th the price of a hotel. and well, if i need to get around, i can hire my taxi guy (we fired all our work chauffeurs because they steal gas. lots of it.). i'll hire my taxi guy full time! so full time that he'll sleep outside in his rav-4, next to the military dudes. that's livin' the life-ah!