This day started up in the air on an eight-hour plane ride from Amsterdam to Nairobi but before we could get on the plane we had to go through security at the gate. The line was moving fine until it suddenly stopped and we were asked to back away. The security troops marched in and gathered around the x-ray camera. In the end a woman who didn’t take her laptop out of her bag caused the delay.
On the plane I was sitting next to what I think was an English man. He was tall, not very talkative, and seemed nervous. However, he was less nervous after he had two small bottles of gin from the first beverage cart after those two more gin and tonics with dinner. Not bad except that meant he was falling asleep on my shoulder and his legs were in my small amount of space. Thankfully I was in the isle seat. For me the flight was long, restless, and I didn’t get much sleep. The nice thing about the plane trip was that I read half of my book and I met a preacher who was going to Kigali. He had been going to Rwanda since the genocide.
The next flight was from Nairobi to Kigali with a stop in Burundi. This flight wasn’t bad because it was pretty empty. I had the 3 seats to myself so I could stretch out and sleep. There was a screaming baby that woke me up few times but I at least got to sleep. We dropped people off in Burundi, which is south of Rwanda and finally were on the last leg of our trip to Kigali.
At the airport we got picked up and headed to the hotel about a 10-minute drive away. My first impression of the city was that only the main roads are paved and there was a lot of dust. The houses were made of corrugated metal roofs and brick walls with open-air windows. There are houses up and down all the sides of the hills. People were walking the streets everywhere. However, they were nicely dressed in suits, dresses, and clothes like you would see in the US.
The hotel was nice and it is clean by Africa standards. I am very happy here and feel lucky to be staying here. After we took a little nap the group who were there (five of us) went to lunch at a restaurant. It was a buffet with a wide spread of vegetables, rice, sauces, plantains, and potatoes. The food was good but it is for sure trial and error to see what I liked. We finished our lunch and were waiting around when the bus pulled up with the rest of the group members. There were there to eat lunch and we had to wait until they finished before we could leave. When you are severely jet lagged it is very hard to be patient and wait an hour and a half just sitting there.
After everyone finished we returned to the hotel where Maurine, out Rwandan guide took us to the market. At the market your senses are overwhelmed from the colors you see the sounds you hear and the smells. The smells at first kind of turn your stomach but after you think about it they are all natural, the fish, the flowers, the raw meat, the BO, the fresh fruits. Each direction you are bombarded with a new smell.
As we kept walking Maurine took us to her house where she lives with her sister, her nieces and nephews. They were all very cute and polite. We sat in their living room and talked until it was time to go to dinner. The house was very nice, had electricity, and had a LG flat screen TV. Maurine served us water and Rwandan porridge, which was kind of sweet like oatmeal but much thinner. You actually drank it like coffee. It was nice sitting there but again we were severely jet lagged and in need of sleep.
When it was dinnertime we walked up the street to meet the bus and went to another restaurant to eat. At dinner it was another buffet with the same type of food. We did branch out and get to drink Primas (Rwandan beer) and Banana wine. The beer was good and the banana wine was a bit too sweet for me. In addition to being sweet it had an alcohol content of 14% so I only had a small glass.
Finally after dinner we went back to the hotel, showered, and slept. It felt wonderful to sleep. I am going to have to get used to brushing my teeth with bottled water though.