I have officially been in Rwanda for about nine hours now. At least I think I have been…my sense of time is definitely out of whack. It is 5:33am here and I am obviously not sleeping, thank you air travel.
The flights were not terrible. However,two eight hour flights back to back is definitely not something I would like to do again. I flew from Austin to Chicago, Chicago to Brussels and Brussels to Kigali. Flight #1 took off a bit late so I thought I was going to miss flight #2. Flight #2 ended up being delayed an hour and 45 minutes which was longer that the anticipated hour and a half layover in Brussels. They ended up holding the flight for us to make sure we got on so the hour and a half break from flying was more like a seven minute jog. I did make a friend on my second flight though which was really nice because I had someone to talk to.
Rwanda is beautiful so far. We are staying in a little hotel across from the SIT center. I have only seen things in the dark so far but it has been very beautiful and very different from what I am used to. We arrived around 8:30 or so, got our bags, went to the hotel and then freshened up and went to dinner right down the road. Dinner was pretty tasty, nothing too different yet. We ate rice, veggies, beans, noodles, grilled banana and fried fish.
Walking outside at night was so peaceful feeling. It was 77 when we arrived and not humid at all! Where we are in Kigali was so quiet and calm. The road between our hotel and the restaurant looked over the heart of Kigali and even in the dark I could make out the hills underneath the dots of lights on buildings.
Some things that I noticed I am going to have to get used to after my first evening and night here are:
1. Guards with guns. I knew they were going to be here I just hadn’t thought about it until I saw them outside the airport. They did not scare me either it was just a moment when I realized “oh yeah, things are going to be very different here”
2. The birds squawking outside my window. It sounds like a tropical aviary hoard is sitting on my balcony right now. Hopefully I will sleep through them once I have adopted normal sleeping habits.
3. Living in a place where most people do not speak English. I also knew this was something that I was getting myself into but did not grasp it until we arrived at the Kigali Airport. I asked for a cart for luggage and was looked at like a crazy person by an airport employee. It is going to be interesting to try to interact with people before I learn Kinyarwanda. This will also help me learn it more quickly I hope. I have never been in a country where everything and everyone did not more or less accommodate myself and my culture.
Well, I guess I am going to try to nap before breakfast and my first real day in Kigali!! I will let you know how it goes.