Kigali

Trip Start Jun 08, 2005
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Trip End Aug 18, 2005


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Flag of Rwanda  ,
Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Welcome to the Rwanda section - if you want to read about a particular place click the links, otherwise read on below:

~ Lake Kivu
~ Gorillas [Ruhengeri]
~ Genocide Memorials
~ Rwanda Summary


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Day the Twenty-ninth - in which we blag passage to Rwanda and I unwisely lose my rag at the border.

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Well, that was a close one.
Stef's alarm went off at 4.30am. Or so we thought. A whispered conversation ensued in which we determined that Ugandan time isn't GMT +2, but GMT +3, same as Kenya. So it was 5.30am and we needed to get up. Phew. My alarm wasn't due for another hour.

The 6am taxi took us to the Jaguar bus depot where we managed to get two tickets to Kigali with the money we had. Unfortunately the seats were at the back, but beggars can't be choosers right?




Our bumpy journey was shared with the usual array of characters - today these included an old mzee with a walking stick that kept getting in everyone's way, and a mother with a gaggle of kids, one of which was ill. Poor little bugger didn't look well at all.

The Rwandan border was pretty strict, with all bags unloaded and checked. After queuing in the hot midday sun for our visas, I wasn't in the best of moods. The official lady wanted to go through everything in my bag, and since stuff is all packed in a certain order, I knew it wasn't going to go back in afterward. I muttered, "Fucking hell" as stuff was emptied out onto the dusty ground, which wasn't a wise move, since the word 'fuck' is recognised even if English isn't spoken. I didn't get in any trouble, but still, one of our fellow passengers was all, "Eh, don't say that!" and it wasn't good. Ah well.
After establishing that we didn't possess any weapons or drugs or small furry mammals, we were able to pack our bags again.

The visas themselves were free, though Stef's Swedish passport did cause confusion and the guy initially asked him for $60. While waiting for the bag search to finish we sat with a drink and changed some money.

And then we were off again, into Rwanda. Through Uganda in less than 24 hours. Shame really as what we have seen of Uganda seems really nice. With hindsight we maybe should have spent the 'Kenya' time in Uganda.

South-western Uganda and northern Rwanda were both pretty arid, though lakes were dotted around.




We passed herders with Ankole cows which have absolutely massive horns on them.




Amusement was caused when the mzee came to get off and couldn't find his bag. I had watched him get on, so I thought I knew which bag was his. It took a while, people were helping him, and I think he was hard of hearing, but eventually I pointed it out. Everyone thought it was funny, since the whole exchange took place in Swahili and it was a muzungu that sorted it.

We got into Kigali at 6.30pm, initially getting off the bus but then getting back on when the taxi was too much. We got another taxi from the station to our chosen hostel, Auberge la Caverne. We spent more than we would usually - though I suspect this will be the norm here as Rwanda seems more expensive - and got a huge room with a bath. Yes, a bath! I could hardly contain my glee.
We both had baths - the water turning a horrid colour, dirty urchins that we are. Stef is feeling a little crappy, as he has for the last few days. After my bath I walked over to the bed where Stef was lying with his hands behind his head. I noticed something in his armpit, turned out to be a tick. So maybe that's what is making him sick. Out came the Nivea - applied liberally over the tick causes it to suffocate and drop off. Much better than attempting to pick it off.

With not enough Rwandan francs for dinner we had to eat at the hotel and put in on a 'tab'. The floor was so clean that it was slippy, so I spent the evening doing that jerky thing when you catch yourself as you suddenly loose traction. Quote of the day is definitely, "Would you like your Fanta hot or cold?" as asked by the waiter. Hot Fanta? Mmmm.
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Where I stayed
Auberge la Caverne Hostel

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