Day 35 - Off to Rwanda

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Africa » Rwanda » Ville de Kigali
August 29th 2018
Published: August 29th 2018
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Get a sleep in this morning as we don’t have to leave until 1200. Late breakfast and we get a late check out - 1100. Meet a couple who had wanted to go to the shops to but some Safari desert boots thatbthe guide and some of the drivers were wearing. Had been given instructions on where to go, hir an Uber and it should be easy. I made the mistake of asking when they were going. Oops. WW4. End result was they spoke to the concierge, and came back. All sorted they said, the bus is coming 20 minutes early as it goes past the shopping centre and they can drop in and get the boots. Hmm, was that a question or a statement. Chris gets the hackles up a little and asks a few pointed questions. We finally get an “is that ok with you”. Eventually agree as we didn’t have anything to do anyway, just the principle of asking rather than stating.....

We check out, get the bill, and I recoil a little. Didn’t think I had drunk over USD$130 yesterday. Ask for more details, turns out the drinks that our Guide had bought were racked up against our room. Not his mistake, the hotels. Once I saw the original bills, signed by me and or Moses, it was clear where the issue was. The APT rep arrived and it was all sorted. Until they produce another bill in my name with 3 lunch bills for other rooms. Seems the early starters hadn’t paid their bills. The rep said to make sure it wasn’t against me and we paid and got out. Chatted with the kids while they were in the shower, then got in the bus to go shopping then the airport.

Arrived at the mall. Entering the car park was a security clearance, open doors, check inside, etc. then in we go to park. The shoe man and the driver get out. So do I as I was looking for a souvenir that we had seen somewhere else but didn’t buy it at the time. Last chance shopping. Get to the entrance of the mall. We have to go a security scanner - airport style. I ask why. Our driver says ever since the terroist attack at another mall in Nairobi, the are very security conscious. No problems here.

Shoe shop found, I wander into the Carrefour supermarket on the off chance Of finding what I want. Wander a bit, then ask a worker if they had what I was after. He takes me around the corner, bingo bango, there it is. Go to the register, pay the money. Ask our driver what the price is in dollars. He says under $10. The one I had seen but didn’t buy was $16. Bigger bonus. Shoe man has his purchase. Only mutter is they have dots like brogues, but for $22 he isn’t complaining, well, only that he couldn’t pay in USD. Turns out he wanted to spend his cash. I offer to exchange if for him as I can use it in Rwanda. Happy again.

Off we go and everyone is happy now. Get onto a nice freeway, then turn off into a messy piece of main road with cars, trucks and buses everywhere. Roadside stalls in the mud and exhaust fumes. Eventually get to the airport. The entry is like a border crossing. Gates everywhere. We are told to get out and walk through security and meet him on the other side. Muttering from some, but we just go. Easy pass, evidently they x Ray the vehicle so the less in the car, the better. We meet our driver on the other side and drive to the car park. Get trolleys, then realise that the other 3 use a different terminal to ours. Hugs, handshakes and kisses and we go our separate ways. Phew, just us now. Aah the serenity.....

Join the queue to get in the terminal. All bags, big and small have to be scanned, as do we. In with no problems. Find the check in counter. We are next in line, there is a dude on the ground shuffling stuff between bags - bits everywhere. The lady calls us into that aisle and we check in with no issue. Even ask and get the exit row. While this is happening, Chris offers to help the bag man. He is trying to Stuff way too much into a hard shell case. Chris kneels on the lid while he stuffs bits into the sides and tries to lock it. Eventually it clicks in place, he weighs it and gets the tick. Now he is onto the second bag. We leave him to his own devices for this one.

Now we sit for about 2 hours. Interesting airport. Right out of the 60’s. Climbing the stairs to level 1, I grab the handrail. Oops, it collapses. No one looking so all good. Find the gate. Wander a bit not much to see so we park ourselves down and do notes and stuff.

Next thing we hear is the voice of one of the noisy crew. They are flying emirates so are using the same terminal as us. They had gone to the Nairobi national park early this morning with 4 others to try and find Rhino. They were bubbling so I guessed they had seen some. Not just some, 4 white rhino and 2 black rhino. Good on them, but bugger not having seen a black rhino in the park rather than the enclosed place we saw the other evening. Oh well, we got to sleep in.....

Chatted for a while, then I noticed our gate had a sign up. The gate was open, so we slipped away after farewells and went though our 3rd security in the airport. Not sure how my fillings look after all the scanning but at this one everyone had to take their shoes off. Through and sit some more. Our driver had told us that the president was coming in today after visiting the USofA, to meet with Theresa May (British PM). Sitting there when I see a procession of jeeps with flashing light, a plane then more jeeps and 2 fire trucks with flashing lights. Remember the president comment. Must be his plane being escorted to the far side of the airport.

Then we are called. Walk down a few boarding gates and out to the tarmac to our plane. Can see the presidential plane with lots of cars and people around it. Never mind, on we get and away to our next adventure - gorillas.....🦍

Good fligot, a feed that was reasonable and arrive to a wet Kigali. Off the plane to a bus and into the terminal. In the customs queue with a guy handing out entry forms to be filled in. The system is down. Ok, ever tried filling a form in standing without anything to rest it on and still move forward in a line. Never mind, they are the ones who have to read it. Get through ok, get bags and out looking for our pickup. Luckily the APT sign is very noticeable. Our man is there and greets us. Down the under cover walkway and told to wait while he gets the car. Comes around in a flash Toyota Land Cruiser - comfort style this time.

Bags in and away we go. They drive on the wrong side of the road here so I am in the drivers seat...... Welcomes us to the hilly capital of Rwanda. Sure enough, up and down we go. Eventually get to our hotel. Looks pretty flash. More Security scanning of us and bags then in to check in. We are to meet the APT rep very soon. We go with the bags to our room then come back down. Meet Robert, the rep who fills us in on the itinerary and fields lots of our questions. Sounding good so far, even alter the itinerary so we can fill in time on the last day before we catch our late flight out. They depart and we go back to the room to get organised.

Decide on an early dinner. Find the restaurant where they are having a buffet style dinner. Ok, can’t be bothered going anywhere else. Turns out the buffet is like a Korean BBQ where you get the raw bits and give to the cooks and they stir fry it on the spot. Rice, and other bits are in hot serving things and dinner is served. Very nice, quiet wine and back to the room for an early night (lost an hour in time zone changes so even more important). Up to the hills tomorrow before the trek on Friday........


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