Saturday, June 21, 2008

Post from Kigali I : Arrived....

One delayed Kenya Airways flight from Nairobi plus one delayed Novotel hotel pickup and yes, I have finally arrived. Funny how somethings don't change regardless of the city you are in! Found this MTN (yes they are here too!) internet cafe and am doing my first blog from Kigali! Excited. Exciting.

Haven't found my feet or my rhythm yet - this could be due to the two icy cold beers I had in-lieu of lunch. As a general rule there are two things I do 'religiously' in each city I have the opportunity to visit - sample the local beer(s) and sample the local night life. Do note, I am referring to places, not people! Have found the best reggae music and even Jamaican food in places I didn't even begin to think I would. And don't get me wrong, even if those two things from 'back a yard' are absent, the discovery about other cultures and cuisines is one that I always seek to embrace. We are not so different after all and our diversities are often times more linked than we seem to think.

Haven't seen much of the city yet though fully intend to put on my walking shoes and go exploring tomorrow and so will hopefully use that to update my blog over the next couple of days. Three things have struck me so far:
  • The cleanliness of the city. As much as I love Accra, I will be the first to admit it's not the cleanest city by any stretch (or stench) of the imagination! Kigali on the other hand seems refreshingly and almost blindingly clean. This could also be linked to the sign at the airport that clearly states ' use of non-biodegradable polythene plastic is strictly prohibited'. You have to actually unpack anything you have in plastic bags at the airport and deposit in the bins provided. This includes those of you who love to wrap your suitcases in what I like to term 'travel saran wrap'. A lot more countries need to adopt that rule!
  • The hills! They are every where you look. Beautiful. Green. Alive. Growing up in Jamaica I am used to seeing hills and mountains regardless of where you are - city, countryside, even by the ocean! A co-worker that is based here explained that directions and communities were also based on these geographical features. They are really breath taking - must post pictures soon!
  • Traffic - or the lack of it - both human and vehicular. From what I understand even though Rwanda is densely populated (total population close to 9 million), Kigali itself is just about one million. For a Saturday it seems very easy and relaxed.
So, here I am. Immersed. Also in the book by Dallaire which I finally started. Won't have time to see gorillas or any such thing, but will definitely try and get a feel of and for this city.



Nana Yaw Asiedu said...

Thanks, Denise, for this lovely picture. The plastic bag issue must be taken up by us all, no?

And pretty please do write about les milles collines again!

Denise said...

Hi Nana Yaw - yes, fully agreed about the plastic bags. We can post the sign right beside the one at the airport that speaks about pedophiles not being welcome.

I haven't been to the Milles Collines - but yes, would like to go.

Nana Yaw Asiedu said...

Oh, did not mean the hotel. Just the thousands of hills you talked about. ;-)

Denise said...

Hmmm, guess I need to learn French. Needless to say I just had an a-ha moment ;-)