Thursday, September 26, 2013

omba vs. papi

so i think i've told you about omba, he is our go-to man for flight permits and stuff. he is very calm, sounds like barry white, drives a prado and has a bluetooth thing in his ear. the way he drives (like 10km/hr and never uses his horn) is sortof like the way he negotiates. very passive. he needs a little papi in him, don't back down!
so low and behold our plane is finally in range. we're launching our project at a big workshop with all the ministers, i'm shaking hands, posing for photos in my awesome congolese outfit to which everyone says with a kind of sleezy tone "you need a congolese man to go with that."  
omba's man at the airport says a cessna has just landed at n'dolo.
but i can't go, i need to stay here! so i send my photographer edouard who is only really here to get footage and photos of the plane (not sapeurs and wrestlers, those are side projects). so i send edouard to go without me. we do a quick check of what he needs, copy of passport, spare batteries, photo/video permit...and bribe money. as they get into the prado i call out "receipts for everything!"
6 hours later, i see a visibly distraught omba, the sweaty pilot and engineer in their blue overalls with south african flags on it, edouard was dropped off at home. the plane was supposed to be back in Brazzaville tonight, why is the pilot here, what happened?
ohhhh juste des petit soucis...
so, as it turns out, upon arrival at the airport, they paid their respects to the airport chief, or whatever it is called, who scrutinized the photo/video permit, which i should add was officially solicited months earlier from the DRC government to the tune of 400$. "apparently" we failed to "activate" said permit, kindof like i didn't activate wi-fi on my phone and ran up my roaming bill? this comes at a cost..200$. 
i ask Omba, why 200$? 
"well it is 160$ but they did not have change." 
This is where i shake my head, papi would have never let this happen. 
but at least you have a receipt? 
the receipt is for 160$. 
someone is eating that 40$ and it's not me.
anyway, the airport chief guy then waved towards the runway, giving his green light. a cessna sits near a hangar
edouard and his much lighter wallet go enthusiastically onto the runway and started taking pictures - not of the plane just yet, just the scenery, when he was immediately siezed by police, miliary. because that cessna is not our cessna, that is the president's cessna! your cessna has not landed yet, it is up there in the sky!
but edouard shows the photos, he was first taking the runway, the scene, he happens to have a piece of the propellor of the president's plane.
that's too much. drats. 
edouard deletes the photos. it's not enough. 
the airport chief arrives, in a huff, and says, this is your problem you will have to pay a fee.
100$....80$....ok 50$ , smallest bill he has and they have no small change - did papi teach you nothing??
this time no receipt.  

there she is!

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