Figuratively speaking, last weekend was my first time in Rwanda; considering that I had only ever been there (multiple times) for “business”. This time, I boarded the bus that took me to Kigali with nothing else on my mind than to enjoy myself… The best part is that I was with 4 of my boys… Best (though short) break ever!
So below are the most notable points of my 3 day Rwandan experience…
It’s flippin expensive!
All the other times I had been to Kigali before, I had been rolling on my parents’ or taxpayers’ (don’t shoot me!) money – meaning that I cared less about my spending patterns. I never actually realised how expensive the city is until last weekend. The cheapest meal (drinks not included) I think we had (excluding breakfasts) cost 3000 FRW – and it wasn’t even in a posh place (I didn’t set foot in a Bourbon) – which is equivalent to 7,800 FBU, and that’s quite high! Overall, I survived a Friday night, a Saturday and a Sunday morning on a budget of about 100,000 FRW (260,000 FBU), return bus ticket included – although using the term “survived” may not be appropriate, as I indulged myself in few luxuries like renting a car for two days (30,000 FRW, fuel included), and the 3D and 5D Cinema experiences (9,500 FRW, just for the tickets). Please note that I shared my 15,000 FRW (without breakfast) room with a friend, that I did not do any shopping and that I did not engage in any (excessive) consumption of alcohol activity.
Rwandan men are not afraid of expressing their feelings…
I’ve been hearing people claim that Rwandans cannot freely express themselves, so how can you explain to me that on the night we got there, we witnessed two (apparently mature) guys kissing in the middle of a busy street? I promise you, I am not lying! I have witnesses! It was somewhere in Remera. I’m not speaking of long passionate kisses, just random multiple pecks on the lips… Like the guys were speaking and just out of nowhere they would just *smack*… My friends and I were like O_O … Or maybe it’s a Rwandan thing for men to occasionally kiss on the lips? No? Just asking!
I also noted that men here are quite comfortable dancing by themselves or in groups of just men… although it’s quite, erm, weird (to say the least) when some random dude dances while sending strange looks and grins in your direction *shivers down the spine*. Please note that I’m one of those very few guys who do not consider a woman rubbing her behind against a man’s crotch as dancing. Therefore I have nothing against guys going out dancing and just hanging in a little group by themselves (as long as the dancing does not involved touching each other “suggestively”)
Too many beautiful women than the mind can bear!
I refuse to swallow my pride and say that Rwanda has more beautiful women than Burundi… My buddy and I actually managed to convince ourselves that Burundi’s beautiful women prefer to stay indoors… Rwanda’s beautiful women just happen to go out a lot. Voilà!
For real though, if you happen to be in Kigali and you’re bored – and you’re an amateur of “fine art” – just grab a seat at a Café in one of the shopping Centres and just let your eyes keep you busy. Don’t be afraid to be caught “staring”, Rwandans do that a lot! #DoAsRwandansDo
Oh, did I mention the whole purpose of the trip was to celebrate (I may be using the wrong term) the end of my buddy’s bachelorhood?
Rwandans are not very helpful…
This statement does not apply to my Rwandan friends who did their best to make sure I was enjoying my stay (a big shout out to @Ellisbht and @Fiona_Kamikazi). I’m strictly speaking about those who will undress you with their staring eyes (speaking for a friend), and those who won’t move a finger to help you… There are these guys we asked for directions; they stared at us then kept going their own ways… like WT*?! And quite frankly I’ve met nicer and more polite Customer care (insert waiters and waitresses in here) agents… Good thing my buddies are experts at coming up with answers that leave you confused and apologising. My favourite one went like this:
(At a Rwandair ticketing office: My friend is deciding whether or not to pay the charge to change his flight)
-Beautiful Rwandair ticketing agent: So are you or are you not going to pay?!
–The B Man: (with a very calm voice) isn’t it a shame that the words that come out of your mouth aren’t as beautiful as you are?
Kigali is elite-friendly!
As I sipped on my (expensive) milkshake, after awesome 3D and 5D movie experiences, I remembered my ‘Just another bunch of elites’ post and realised that ‘super cities’ aren’t totally bad idea after all. I found it hard to believe I was just a few hours away from Burundi, thanks to the first World experiences I was enjoying. I realised that structures and facilities like the Kigali City Tower mall give elites, expats and foreign investors a sense of comfort and security that keeps them and their money inland, meaning that they are more likely to invest in other development projects! Thank you Kigali for opening my eyes!
… Speaking of milkshakes and malls, I burst out laughing when 5 waiters invaded us with 5 different menus when we arrived at KCT food court; and in my opinion, Bourbon and this other place in Kacyiru (I don’t remember the name; I’ve only been there once some time ago) serve the best milkshakes in town.
Voilà… and I didn’t even speak of the time we got stopped by the police for driving a car with a broken headlight (we hadn’t noticed)… or how we got lost… or about the Museums and memorial we didn’t visit simply because we didn’t have enough time… You’re going to have to discover them yourself!