1. First off, you have lived in N'Djamena for nearly a year? Is it fair to call the city, "the worst place you've ever experienced."?
Me: “No, not the worst and not fair. It’s certainly tough. I’ve compared it to Mogadishu in Somalia but at least here in Chad there is peace and people can go about their daily business without the threat of being blown up”
2. Do you the Pekin Hotel? If so, is that a Chinese-run bed-and-breakfast?
“I think it’s near the airport. There are several Chinese hotels – Shanghai, Chez Wou, Dong Fang. Some have massage parlours”
3. Do you know if hippopotami live in the River Chari?
“Yes they do”
4. Do you know if smugglers often wade the river to deliver electronics and other goods into Chad?
“No I don’t but it wouldn’t surprise me”
5. We have a photo of a wall scarred by bullet holes, are they from 2008 rebel attack? Is that the national museum with the bones of a dinosaur visible through a perforated wall?
“The bullet holes could have been from any of the rebel attacks or battles over the last thirty years. It’s an elephant skeleton, not a dinosaur”
6. Does downtown N'Djamena' commercial life consist of two banks, a French bakery, Air France and Ethiopian Airways ticket offices, and a handful of ex-pat friendly restaurants?
“No a little more than that – an internet service provider office, internet café, petrol station, a supermarket, a nightclub and a photo shop, but not much”
7. Do you know if the street lights are powered with batteries in N'Djamena?
“Some of the new street lights and traffic lights are powered by solar panels which I guess contain batteries”