Days five and six - Rwanda to Kenya
01.02.2011 - 02.02.2011 28 °C
Day five, 1 February 2011 (CB)
The party last night turned out to be very interesting. The vet who was part of a program that is called mountain gorillas vetinary project (MGVP) threw a huge party at a local pizza bar. We walked in to a bar that was full of Rwandan men and a few expats. It was a full house, open bar. Our sort of party!
Being the scared tourists that we are we started talking to some other expats. It was very interesting to hear their stories and reasons for ‘going native’. Many have come for limited periods of time on projects and then developed interest and stayed on. Some are linked to a charity called Bridge to Rwanda which helps arrange for people to come and work. There was a range from an art teacher, a deaf school teacher to a girl that works in a women’s cooperative making jewelry.
The people of Rwanda love to dance. Everyone gets up and dances, and if you are sitting on seat minding your own business, you still get dragged up to dance (CB). One of the locals got up and started doing a Michael Jackson impression then he went on lip sinking and dancing to what is I assume local hit songs. We left about 9.30 as the second half of the party began – we decided that we’d be best to leave before it got too wild.
We both had a sleep in till 7am and had breaky. The instigators of the party dragged themselves into the breakfast in various states of repair. We met an interesting gentleman from America who trains animals for movies for a living. He said that he has worked on some big films like ‘pirates of the Caribbean’’ and had even done a movie on the gold coast!
We caught up with Joe, the tour guide, and headed back to Kigali. The weather was wet and roads slippery and vision limited. Wendy elected to sit in the back and not watch. We got there in one piece.
In Kigali we visited the genocide memorial. In a similar vain to previous monuments to tragedy, you walked away aware and saddened of what humans can become, but impressed that the population has moved forward so quickly and remain so happy despite the history and poverty present. It really puts things in perspective.
It is a public holiday here so all restaurants are closed. Joe drove around trying to find somewhere to eat. In the end we gave up and came to airport early. So now we are sitting in the departure lounge, very early and killing time. I started looking through the photos and remembering the gorillas. It will be very hard to cull the photos and write the tags. But between us we have taken already over 300 since we began. Thank goodness for digital.
Wendy just went to get some souvenirs and got some wooden spoons with ‘’cow horn’’ handles and got felt up by security, despite she was only carrying a paper bag and three coins.
We’re now planning for the next stage, ’Tanzania on foot’. Safari, and two bloody tall mountains. A few days in Nairobi before, so will be able to re-gather and do some washing in preparation!
Bring on Nairobi!
hmmm not sure he would have said that if he knew what we were to encounter on our arrival. We cleared immigration (photo and finger prints taken!) and ran down the stairs to see our bags going around the carousel, found the yellow cab desk pretty easily and set the price to the hotel. As we headed off it all seemed ok, until the driver stared zooming along the highway at what I’d say was 150km, then bumped the car into park. This was after he had cleaned the windscreen – but had to wipe away the water that was coming through the massive crack in the windscreen. Similar to Jakarta there are people that walk between the traffic selling stuff (you know, monopoly, bananas… machetes) – we were at first concerned that the driver had locked the car doors- we were now grateful. He kept speeding along, inn and around cars, up back streets and eventually we made it to the hotel – somewhat frazzled. C told me a bit later that he’d omitted to tell me that the speedo wasn’t working, the petrol light was on and his lights weren’t working!!!!
After a bit of debate with the hotel, we got into our room which is Spartan, but good enough. We went off to find a meal and got stuck with a restaurant at the Fairview which was nice but not cheap. We did some washing and caught up with what was happening in the world.
Hope everyone is ok with the cyclone!
Day Six 2 February 2011
Wow. There are so many things we take for granted. We were up at about 7 and found a great breaky on offer in the hotel. We then got some info from a travel agent down the road and decided that we’d make our way to an elephant orphanage and giraffe sanctuary. We negotiated a price with a taxi driver (much, much better than yesterday!) and agreed a price to drive us to the two places. He ended up being great. When we got to the orphanage we realised that there was no way we’d have been able to find it on our own. It was brilliant.
They bought a group of 8 baby elephants into a roped off area and they proceeded to drink milk from a bottle, then ran a muck in the mud. We watched their shenanigans for about an hour then got the driver to take us to see the giraffes. It’s funny that you get bits of info from some people (the reception people told us that we could walk between the two) that is totally incorrect. It took about 20 mins to get to the giraffes… but it was well worth it. There was a raised structure in which we stood and hand fed the giraffes. It was great – we patted them like we do the dog – we had food so we were popular! We also saw some leopard tortoise there which were probably very old.
We then went to a local department store and C found a new universal charger for his camera battery and we loaded up with some supplies.
After a short stop in the hotel (catching M&D on skype) we had our first real adventure – we walked about three blocks to a coffee house. It was perfectly fine.. it’s strange that you feel so unsafe until you conquer the fear. We hole up in our safe hotel so we maintain the bubble, but it also prevents us from experiencing the actual place we’re in. I hope that by the end of this trip we’ll be a bit braver.
Tomorrow we’re off to do a long walk in the national park and then the national museum. C managed to get the reception to help us book a table at carnivore tomorrow night.