Sunday, May 29, 2011

Welcome to Chad

N’Djamena, Chad
22 May 2011

We arrived in N’Djamena mid-day Sunday to discover that my friend had his luggage lost for the 5th time with South African Airways (it finally arrived 6 days later).  The town doesn’t feel too big and most of the buildings are owned by the government and many have multi-colored uniformed Soldiers carrying guns outside.  It doesn’t seem like there is a set uniform for the military or police as everyone looks different, with random colors and patterns (even US military patterns).

Most of the roads are paved in the city and the most popular mode of transportation are the mototaxis and scooters.  I haven’t seen any Dala-Dalas or Car Rapides (mini-buses) and the only form of mass transportation I have seen are the old Toyota FJ-40 trucks from Cameroon marked “Goods Only” that are usually packed to the roof with baggage with another 20-30 people on top.  Traffic circles are a little unusual here with people in the circle required to yield to others entering which often jams up the intersection.  Solar-powered traffic lights are popping up in town and surprisingly the masses on the road obey the red lights.

I have been warned about taking pictures in Chad.  It used to be illegal and now a special photography permit is required.  I am not sure where to get it and am sure I would still get hassled even if I had one.  Sometimes its just better to not attract any attention.

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