Unpredictability - Good for your health

Our modern life is based on organising an environment free from the unexpected. The house needs to be as stable and reliable as possible. The job as safe as possible. Nothing should break down. Nothing but what we predict, should occur.
This is the life of the zoo animal. Let's explore the life of the Nomad. Let's live the life of the Nomad.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Rwanda - And getting there.

I had never been to Africa. My partner's past lay interwoven with Rwanda's recent history.  The intensity of my working life had left me dry and drained. It was time for a holiday. It was time to travel.  It was time for Rwanda.

Getting to Rwanda is not as simple as getting to Barbados, Switzerland or Spain. Firstly you will need to prepare your body. This starts with a vaccination against Yellow Fever. You should get this jab at least ten days before departure.

I suffered no side effects at all. You will also need to consider anti-malaria tablets. I booked a session with a nurse from Boots and she did well to clarify all the various options. The tablets were not cheap at 48 pounds.  I was instructed to start taking them two days before departure and to keep taking them for a week after the end of the holiday. I did feel light headed for a few days when taking these tablets. Better some mild discomfort than to suffer from Malaria.

You will need to buy a visa on arrival. This will be 30 US dollars.   The Rwanda currency is the Rwandan Franc. You can withdraw this currency on arrival from the many guarded ATM machines positioned throughout Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. You should purchase some US currency before departure. This is ideal because it can be used at any intermediary airports you may have to stop at on the way.

Make sure you spend whatever Rwandan currency you purchase before departure - getting it exchanged back to your home currency may prove difficult.  Rwanda is not exactly your average tourist destination.

My journey started at terminal four from Heathrow airport. As usual with this busy international airport you will need to arrive with plenty of hours to spare.  Check in and security went smoothly and with time to spare I visited the observation deck. Turn right after security and proceed along to the end of the terminal - you will climb some stairs to reach the viewing arena. A great place for the plane enthusiast.

The first stage of the trip was an eight and a half hour flight on an Airbus 788 operated by Kenya Airways. I had not specified a seat location when booking the ticket. This was quite a mistake. I was right in the middle of the centre row shouldered by two strangers in a rather narrow seat. Thankfully this rather uncomfortable position was countered by excellent service from the staff of Kenya Airways.

We arrived at Nairobi airport in Kenya and disembarked for transfer to our final short flight. Just over an hour away from Kigali. We had to pass once again through security and then waited a couple of hours before re-embarking on an Embraer E90. While waiting a wall display captured my attention. Here is a native instrument called a Lyre. It was positioned next to a carpeted area reserved for Islamic prayers.

Long haul trips flying economy are only great when they are over. It was a delight to board the aircraft for the final hop into Rwanda. Sitting there in the window seat and looking over the night skies of Africa I wondered about the next couple of weeks. I knew little about Rwanda. I knew it's recent past was turbulent. I was quite intrigued.  I was most naive. I had no idea I was entering a land whose people had born witness to both the furnace of Satan's hell, and also the grace of God's precious salvation.