From Lambarnene we went NE to a place called Ndjole to get the train. That didn't work out since it wasn't working, so the next day, the 8th, we went in a shared pick-up to Franceville and spent the night there.
We were there (at bus stop - see previous day entry) at 7:35 a.m. We got yogurt and bananas, and settled in to wait - hopefully not too long. A man arrived who used the area in front of the food market where we were waiting, and opened up his little short order breakfast "cafe" - tea, coffee, bread, omelettes, and pancakes. Mari ordered an omelette. It looked so good I did the same. By the time mine was ready a man and woman had come and were seated next to Mari. they spoke English and Mari mentioned we were trying to get to Franceville. They pointed to a nice, orange extended cab pick up truck and said they were going to Franceville and could take us - 15,000 cfa each. That was twice what the bus would be, but it was there, now!, and a good vehicle that should make the drive (reputedly a very bad dirt road) without breaking down. The man said we'd be in
Franceville by 5 pm. We agreed and in 15 minutes we were off. It was a not 5pm, but a little past 7pm by the time we arrived; there had been several delays for road construction, a minor rear ending, a stop to help a truck get back on the road, and several stops to buy local produce at houses along the way. The man took us first to a very nice hotel way out of town with nothing closeby (friends of theirs owned it). We explained that we needed to be near shops, places to eat, etc., and showed them the name of a budget hotel listed in the LP, the Bien Bien by poto poto roundabout. They clearly didn't think it was acceptable, but at last agreed to take us there - there were no taxis by the hotel after all, so they really had no choice. They got to the roundabout, got out, got our packs out, and without a word drove off. We gathered they didn't approve. Oh well. The Bien Bien was a bar only now, and the area was a bit "iffy", nonetheless, we
looked and asked around and, as always, there were people who stepped in to help us. They directed us to a place just down the block a bit - the M_____. It also had a bar in front, but behind the bar the owner, a young man named "Brandon" he said, had a basic but adequate room. The light in the bathroom was out. He said he'd bring a bulb. It had AC and the noise from the bar was muffled enough (we thought) that we could sleep. It was 20,000 cfa. Probably too much, but no other options, so we said ok. The bathroom light didn't just need a bulb - the whole fixture was gone! Ha Ha! Nor was there water other than a bit in the "shower" wand - not enough for a shower, but at least a bit to kind of flush the toilet ... sort of! Nonetheless, it was fine for the night and the next morning we planned to leave early for Leconi and the Congo border in any case.