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  • Day38


    February 8, 2016 in Rwanda ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    We're in Rwanda! Kigali to be exact! We treated ourselves - I'm writing this blog while laying in bed, eating my first chocolate bar since I've arrived, and drinking from our mini wine bottle. Simple pleasures.

    To save on the details, we took a boda-boda for 10 minutes, a minibus for 2.5 hours, another minibus for 3 hours, a shared taxi for 30 minutes to the border, and this same shared taxi for another 2.5 hours. And done!

    As you'll notice in the photos, the first bus stop we were dropped at this morning was very official. Obviously they pack the minibuses very well - 12 official seats, with up to 23 people in them at any given time.

    Timing was flawless though, we'd get off and there was another bus leaving... And we scored big time with the last shared taxi! For the same price as what our book was telling us it would cost for a ride to Kigali after crossing the border, this taxi picked us up in Kabale, brought us to the border, where we all crossed by foot, then picked us up and we drove into Kigali. And this time, unlike the one on the island, Jack and I shared the back row of the car with one person, one seat per person! Luxury!

    The border was hilarious. A wooden gate lifted by a person to let the car in, which pulled over to the side to let us out. We all go in line at the exiting Uganda office, where we filled out an exit card, got a stamp, and were told to go on. We had our east Africa visa so no charge for us. We then walk about 6 minutes on a dirt road surrounded by construction trucks over to the Gatuna Immigration office. We hand over our passports, simple questions, thumb print and photo and that's it. We walk back to the car, they looked through our bags really quickly, and off we go to Kigali!

    We've been told by many travellers that Kigali was something special! It was organized, and clean, and welcoming. I was expecting to be wow'd. Meh. It was hot, we decided to walk up to town from the bus station, which even the book says you need "gorilla legs" if you decide to walk it instead of taking public transportation. I do not have gorilla legs. But we made it! One soaked freshly washed t-shirt later we were at the top of the hill! We asked about 5 different people where this central roundabout was called Place de l'unité Nationale. We were pointed in all kinds of directions. Turns out, if Rwandans don't know where something is, they point somewhere anyway.

    A 3km walk took 2 hours. And at this point, with all the transportation, my last meal was an egg and chapati at 10am. It's now 5pm and we've just dropped our bags off at our room. I'm hungry! FYI our lonely planet map blows for this town, nothing makes sense on it. Restaurants aren't where they should be. Roads entirely are missing or just wrong... It was so frustrating.

    The town appears at times just as disorganized and chaotic as any other city we've seen, and at other times there's street names displayed, actual roundabouts, street lighting, well manicured landscaping along the streets all making it appear organized.

    Our home for the night - a nuns convent! We're room A1, that means the very first room after passing the group of nuns sitting at a table reviewing the Bible together. How perfect! It's the cheapest place in town, and quite the ambiance! Once we got back to our room in the evening after diner, we could hear their choir practising, seranating us!

    I got to call my mom from a coffee shop today, best Wi-Fi we've had yet! Felt nice to hear her voice. Jack was asking me the other day if I missed anything from home, I told her I didn't miss anything at all, just people. My friends, my family, being surrounded by people I love and I know love me... A month into this trip, and I don't miss any foods, or my bed, or my shower or clothes, just my people.
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