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The day I got stuck in the Congo and called Car Talk

Fortunately, Click and Clack knew the difference between the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, and a carburetor.

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(The Monitor’s Africa correspondent recently had car trouble in the jungles of eastern Congo, and spent the night swatting mosquitoes in a mud hut in the Walungu district. He was tired at the time, but believes he may have called the NPR talk show, Car Talk, for advice. Here’s a transcript of what may or may not have been said.)

TOM: Hello, you’re talking to Car Talk. Who’s on the phone?

ME: Yeah, this is Scott, calling from Congo.

RAY: Hello, Scott!

TOM: Is that the Republic of Congo, with the capital in Brazzaville or the Democratic Republic of Congo, with the capital in Kinshasa?

RAY: Look who paid attention in geography class!

TOM: At least someone in our family did. (Laughter.)

ME: Yeah, Tom, it’s Congo-Kinshasa, although I’m way over on the other side of the country near Lake Kivu.

TOM: Oh, that’s beautiful country out there. How’s the weather right now?

ME: Well, it’s been raining off and on all day, as it has been since we got here.

RAY: Well, Scott, I hate to tell you this, but we have gorgeous New England autumn weather here in Cambridge, cool and crisp. The wife and I just got back from a lovely drive up in New Hampshire. Leaves were gorgeous.

TOM: Yeah, Ray, the leaves in your yard are gorgeous, too. Maybe you coulda stayed home and picked up a rake.

RAY: Ouch! (Laughter.)

TOM: So, Scott, what can we do for you?


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