Sunday, May 07, 2017

Livin It Up at the Hotel Rwanda

Matt was leaving today so we had one more monster breakfast.

I asked a bit more about his day to day life. He said his place has 4 rooms and that rent is 36 dollars a month. The bathroom and kitchen are in a detached building of some sort. He said it's a two hour journey to the nearest native English speaker. It's funny because I thought I was some sort of trailblazing hero when I was working in Japan. Teaching in Africa makes that sound like a vacation.

I guess when they do digging for construction projects they still find bodies from the genocide. Man oh man. I'm sort of dreading going to the genocide memorial. Not entirely sure if I want to go at all.

Breakfast of champions.

I hadn't really taken the time to check out the hotel's exterior so we strolled around a bit after breakfast.

That's some real African patio furniture right there.

It being the rainy season I didn't get to take advantage of the pool. It looked nice though.

We still had time for a little bit of sightseeing before Matt had to depart. The Hotel Rwanda was walking distance from my hotel so we popped over for a look. The hotel from the movie is actually called the Hôtel des Mille Collines which is a French reference to Rwanda being call the Land of a Thousand Hills.

Genocide memorial. This is a random genocide related Rwanda fact. So I've mentioned that it's super clean and orderly definitely in Kigali but also Rwanda as a whole. Another thing that's different here is there aren't gross feral dogs and cats all over the damn place like there were in Senegal/Gambia. Well I think part of the reason why is that during the genocide there were so many bodies laying around everywhere that street animals developed a taste for human flesh and were all shot.

I liked this place a lot. I'm not sure which hotel, mine or here, I would say was nicer. My hotel is brand new so it's not really a fair comparison. This one though felt a lot classier and probably had more of a vacation clientele. I definitely prefer the atmosphere here. My hotel was always full of suits like a convention center. Kigali Marriott is a lot like the hotel I stayed at in Brussels. There it was European Union bureaucrats having meetings and here it's African Union bureaucrats having meetings.

Took this last opportunity to ask Matt more about his life here. Some random tidbits:

Some of his kids have lines burned into their foreheads from a now illegal traditional form of medicine where you touch a hot iron to someone's face to cure disease.

His village trades potatoes with a nearby one for sugarcane.

He said in some remote part of Rwanda the locals thought that white people couldn't walk because they only ever saw them in cars.

Matt did his weekly ritual to buy data for his phone. There are people everywhere selling these little prepaid phone card things. You can tell them from their brightly colored red or yellow vests. Many of the motorcycle taxi guys seem to be doing this job simultaneously. So he buys a 1 gig card for 1,000 Rwandan Francs which is like $1.20. That data is dead either after he uses it all or a week passes.

You scratch off your secret code like a lottery ticket.

I'm amazed that I haven't been ill on this trip yet. Last night we had Turkish takeout and today for lunch we had Chinese food. You'd have a good chance of getting sick eating like this in the US. The Chinese food was excellent though. Again, better than in St. Louis. St. Louis really really sucks at Chinese food.

Thought it was funny that bottles of Fanta were in the "made in Rwanda" section.

We found of bottles of yesterday's banana wine at the store so I snagged a few of those beauties. Peanuts are another local product that I really like here. I don't know if they are fresher or they roast them differently or what but they are really good. 

Well Matt left and I was back to adventuring solo. I decided to take it easy tonight.

This picture of the rich Marriotts was sort of a jarring thing to see in an African hotel.

Had a beer at the hotel bar and called it a night.

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