Rwanda: Take Two

So, today was my second try and doing things in Rwanda, and it turned out to fail just as much as yesterday did.

Yesterday, I was delayed several hours and planned poorly in regards to money.  Today, well I planned poorly in regards to today being National Day.

My plans for today included a post office, two hotels, a couple of matatu rides and two memorials.  I did almost none of these things.  After stopping off at Bourbon Coffee Shop for some internet and eggs, I headed to the post office.  First of all, the post office is no longer there even though my map is relatively new.  Second of all, the post office – had it been there – was closed for National Day.  So, giving up on mailing things, I walked down the street to see if a well-regarded bookstore, the Libaire Caritas, was where it should be.  It was, but it wasn’t open.

Not to be bested by a public holiday, I set out to… wander.  I was going through the sort of second-guessing bad-thoughts about what could’ve been had I left Gulu earlier or taken a different bus from Kampala, but after some moping I sucked it up and went to a tourism center to ask if the Kigali Genocide Memorial would be open on a public holiday.  The tourism guy told me it was definitely closed, but said if I wanted to try I could go and monetarily persuade them to let me in.  Tried, but never even got around to it before being told to come back tomorrow.  Bummed, I thought about the odds of the Nyamata or Natarama church memorials being open and instead decided to visit the Hotel des Mille Collines (of Hotel Rwanda and An Ordinary Man fame).  After sipping an expensive soda at a really fancy hotel, I talked to one of the clerks who told me the churches might be open since they were out of town.

So, I set off to check in at a hotel and drop some weight off before heading out to Nyamata.  I had originally been unsure about how many nights I’d be in Kigali, and when I decided on staying another night I thought I’d try the Hotel Kigali instead of the Auberge les Caverne (where I stayed last night) because it seemed just as nice but a lot cheaper.  Except it didn’t exist anywhere along the road it was supposed to be on.  Defeated, I headed back to Auberge…. which was full.  I ended up finding accommodations at the Hotel Garden City, which cost even more than Auberge – ironic. no?  After checking in I pretty much collapsed on my bed and fell asleep after about 5 hours of walking with two bags on my shoulders.  Woke up annoyed by my nap, but determined to make it to Nyamata.

I was determined and juzzed for the trip, and booked it to the bus park at Nyabugogo.  Arrived, tracked down the matatu I needed, and got in.  It was less than half-empty (see that pessimism there?).  So I waited and waited.  While waiting, I started playing out numbers in my head.  It was almost 5.  It takes 30 minutes or so to get to Nyamata.  I didn’t know how frequently buses went from Nyamata to Kigali.  I didn’t even know if the church was open.  After racking my brain of scenarios that included waiting for a matatu in an unfamiliar town where nobody speaks English after dark, I lost my mojo and bailed.  Went to a fancy restaurant run by a Belgian expat and then booked it over here to the coffee shop.

Tomorrow has been planned thus: Breakfast.  Bank.  Kigali Memorial.  Bus to Nyamata or Natarama.  See chosen church memorial.  Bus back to Kigali.  Lunch at New Cactus.  Bus to Uganda.  I sure hope it all works out.  At least I got to sip a coke at the Mille Collines today.

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