If you have received a link to this blog consider yourself lucky. You’ve stumbled upon an unauthorized blog providing our description of time spent in Kigali, Rwanda and Africa.
There will be no names or references mentioned to avoid potential conflicts.
For starters, flying to Rwanda was ridiculous. I had to buy two separate tickets that ran through Amsterdam twice. As big of a fan of the Amsterdam airport as I am, not to mention how much I enjoy accumulating frequent flying miles, the airline wouldn’t let me stay there instead of going from Amsterdam to London and back to Amsterdam. Their reasoning was staying there would invalidate my ticket and I would be required to purchase another. Ingenious. Not only were they against me saving them a bit of cash by not having to haul me and my luggage around, but they seemed intent on forgetting “the customer is always right.”
Once I arrived in Amsterdam I even talked to the transfer desk and if I held my luggage in Amsterdam and I stayed it would have run an additional 250 Euros for a “holding fee.”
Once in London I had to rush through customs and pick up my bag only to check in again to fly back to Amsterdam. The guy who checked my passport inspected it and my itinerary with a raised eyebrow. At least he agreed with me that the airline I was flying on was operated by monkeys.
As expected, the time spent flying from the U.S. to Kigali was tiring. It has been a few years since I went abroad, but I felt prepared for the trip and what I was going to see once on the ground. What I was not prepared for was the foreigners I sat next to on the plane. Sure, when I get on a plane leaving L.A. I don’t hear much English, but I usually don’t get the smells I fell victim to while crossing the pond.
Meeting up with my colleagues in London was a breath of fresh air. Considering they hadn’t showered since the day before that isn’t saying much.
I will say that arriving in Kenya’s airport was pretty neat. It was about 6am and the sun was rising up through the clouds. The ball of orange and red looked remarkable through the blue clouds in the sky. Definitely the highlight of the day.
The Kenya airport was less than desirable. Without air conditioning and running water in the bathroom we realized we had left anything remotely close to what we had previously experienced on our trip. Baby wipes might be one of the greatest inventions ever. Second only to air conditioning, though.
Our layover in Kenya was approximately six hours and it became apparent that travelers through the Kenyan airport like their cigarettes and alcohol. Nearly every shop had the same front and the same items. I almost jumped on the opportunity to buy a wooden giraffe for slightly more than $3. African chotchkies are legit. We exchanged a few dollars at the airport and I found it funny that it an Alan Keyes look-a-like was on one of their bills.
After napping and running into a few Americans we departed for Rwanda. The plane ride was short and we were actually served a decent meal, which was a pleasant surprise. Upon our arrival we were picked up by our contact who was waiting for us.
As for our time here, I’ll leave that for another post in the very near future. We’ll provide some more backstory, as well.
I’ll leave you with a great 80’s hit…