f you haven’t been to Bangui yet, you haven’t seen many people it is possible to fit into a five seater taxi. In Bangui that number is somewhere between fifteen and twenty. At least seven people in the car, three in the trunk, one in each window and as many as possible on the roof. A few times I even saw people standing on top of the engine, leaving the driver to look through legs of the passengers. Having seen prictures like there before arriving I would expect the cities to crowded and chaotic too, but the streets were actually not full of traffic, maybe there are just really few cars in this country.
The quiet City center of Bangui
The local police didn’t care about seatbelts, but they were pretty serious about taking pictures. Taking a selfie in public can put you in jail, and apparently having facial hair too. A Russian couchsurfer who came before me spent three nights in a cell because his beard looked terrorist-like according to the police. The city felt completely safe to walk around though, and with all the blue helmet soldiers around I think it was too.
Most of the city center is unpaved. There are not many beautiful buildings, monuments or things to see, so I had it all covered within a couple of hours walk. I asked if some local fishermen would take me on a five minute pirogue trip on the river for a dollar, but apparently they misunderstood as they took me for half an hour and demanded ten dollars instead.
Every night I went to different bars with my couchsurfing host Desire, and every night he had stories about life in Central African Republic. These evenings, drinking the local brew Mocaf was my favorite time in the capital as the city itself did not have much to offer.
In Bangui they also have the cheaper soda versions of Bangui Fanta, Bangui Cola and Bangui up!