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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

I Praise the Cleanliness of Rwanda

 (Continued from In Which We Are Nearly Trampled by an Elephant at Midnight.)

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So we had that late-night incident with the forest elephant, and I tossed and turned until morning (or would have, had there been any room to). It had occurred to me that I’d been eating pineapple, and at bedtime I got lazy and relieved my bladder at the edge of the campsite. What if the elephant smelled pineapple in my pee??

I became increasingly convinced of my guilt as the day went on and we packed up and set out for Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. (Immigration control was more tedious than we expected, but then that is the definition of bureaucracy.)

 

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At the hostel we set up our tents on a terrace overlooking the city. Photo by Kate.

 

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Apart from a bit of ongoing car trouble, our evening in Kigali was very enjoyable. The hostel is wonderful (lovely breakfast included—awesome homefries not pictured), and we had filling burritos at a Chipotle-esque place down the street. Then we took two taxis downtown for some proper exploring.

 

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We should’ve bought this sparkling grape juice to see if it lives up to the name.

 

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We were content just to take a photo of this mosque; we did a proper tour of the mosque in Kampala, so I’ve got really good pics and video to show you later on.

 

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Photo by Kate.

 

After awhile of wandering the residential back-streets, where children ran up to us and grabbed our hands to make sure we were real—everywhere we went kids would gleefully shout “mzungu!”, which means “white person” by way of “ghost”—we stopped for juice at a random restaurant on the main drag. I said, “Guys, I have to tell you something. I think it’s my fault we almost got trampled by an elephant.”

I told them my theory about the pineapple pee, and they said I was being ridiculous. (Whew!)

 

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I was comfortable with the vibe in downtown Kigali; apart from the kiddos, I don’t remember anyone looking at us as if we were remarkable. We even met a guy who tried to sell us sunglasses at nine o’clock at night.

 

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Trash fire just beyond the hostel terrace. Boo.

 

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“When the king takes your wife, he gives you a piece of land.” Here Colin is pretending to be the king and I’m walking backwards after my audience with him. You can’t turn your back on the king! (Photo by Spencer.)

 

The next day we headed south to Nyanza, former seat of the Rwandan kings. There’s a reconstructed palace compound, which is well worth a visit—we had a very friendly and knowledgeable tour guide, and the cattle herder sang a beautiful pastoral song as we toured the farmyard—and a newer and much grander palace on a hill is now the site of the Rwesero Art Museum. Lots of interesting contemporary art—sculpture, especially—but the children’s room was our favorite.

 

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Next post: Lake Kivu, then back to Kigali to visit the Genocide Museum.

 

1 Comment to I Praise the Cleanliness of Rwanda

  1. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    December 17, 2013 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    What a great view at that hostel!

    I need the Nyanza photos from Spencer!

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.