Tuesday, June 9, 2009

What's a little caning among friends?

Whew. We are back in Mbale after some few days on the road. In addition to all them wild animals (which Luke is going to cover, don't worry), we also took advantage of being near the border to pop into Rwanda for a few days. Very worth it, and a nice country from what little we saw. Although, to be fair, we had gotten pretty mixed messages from some Ugandan friends before heading in.

The rastas told us it was awesome. Clean, fun and lots of Americans. The good people of Kigali love to party, so live it up. Sounded promising.

A somewhat more respectable friend told us to be careful. We countered that the security situation was supposed to be greatly improved and nothing to worry about. So he clarified that it is the political situation that is a little tense. His advice, which may be good general advice for life: "Don't excercise your freedom of speech too much, or you may be thouroughly caned." Interesting.

(I can't even taste the air a little.)

We didn't get caned. Not even once. Kigali is a very nice city, clean and orderly. A little like Montevideo, in that it's a bit more European and generaly smaller than you would have expected. And it's the anti-kampala in a lot of ways, mostly related to noise, traffic and air quality. And at least in the city, we didn't run into too many problems related to our not speaking a word of French.

(Zhis street is zo pretty)

Other than it just being an awesome place, we found ourselves leaving with a tragic lack of absurd stories. The last day we were there, we went up to check out Lake Kivu in the northwest, along the border with the Congo. In fact, we almost wandered into the DRC by mistake, but managed to piece together the razor fences, automatic weapons and stern faces before getting too close to turn back. The lake was pretty first-rate though, clear blue waters with some crazy volcanos in the background.


Yesterday we did an epic (in other words, exceedingly unpleasant) series of bus journeys to get back home, leaving Kigali bright and early at 5:30am, getting to Kampala at around 4:30pm in time to catch the last bus to Mbale, then sitting in traffic in Kampala for two or three hours, breathing the sweet aroma of diesel fumes and leaded gasoline. Oh Kigali, I hardly knew ye. We got home at 11:30pm, dusty, hungry and smelling like hot garbage. Anybody want to come visit?

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