Muraho from Rwanda!

That’s ‘Hello’in Kinyarwanda, the language spoken where I’m posting from. Right now my stomach is stuffed with dinner and I’m sitting at the table nursing a cup of hot milk and ginger. I’m stuffed, but the Nyungwe cold won’t let me give up what’s left in my flask. It’s my 6th night here, and having spent not more than two nights in one place, I really do owe the world a trip report. Haha!

To begin with, the choice of Rwanda was totally by chance. I randomly decided on a trip days before my birthday in August after seeing an ad on Instagram which didn’t happen but I realized it was a destination to keep an eye on. When the travel bug bit a few months later and I was looking for somewhere with affordable tickets and no visa troubles for GreenPassporters, it was an easy choice. Plane ticket and yellow fever card in hand, I was on a plane to Kigali last Sunday!

My first introduction to the Rwandan spirit was at the point of entry. Visas are issued to Nigerians on arrival for $30. When I handed the official a $100 bill however, I got back $20 change. He was pretty sure I had paid him $50. After I walked off when processing was done, he hurried after me asking that I come back so we confirm the correct amount. Back at his post, he went through his drawer and computer, and reiterated that he was right. I did not have a $50 bill so I knew for sure he wasn’t as I couldn’t have paid him that, but it was my word against his and I was certain it was an honest mistake so I let it go. By Monday morning, my host whose details I had provided at entry, had received an unholy number of missed calls. The Immigration officer checked yet again and realizing his mistake, called so I could return to the airport and get my money. I am still impressed.

On Monday, got properly acquainted with the most wonderful AirBnB hosts, who helped create an itinerary for the trip. Going back a little, the plan at first was to sign up for a tour with an agency, but decided to land here and go with the flow. Best plan! This has turned out much cheaper and the flexibility is priceless. On Monday, the day was spent in Kigali getting information and supplies for the road trips to follow, and partying at the Kigali Convention Centre, counting down to the New Year, screaming along to Simi, Bruce Melody and well, Patoranking who seemed like an even bigger star in Rwanda than back home. The music DJ Waxxy, DJ Miller and the third impeccably dressed super skilled DJ whose name I don’t remember played at the concert was so Nigerian that I could have been in Lagos. It was a blast! Back home sometime around 3:30 am on Jan 1st, day one was over.

I really should talk about the clean Rwandan streets, impeccably dressed, helpful, well- mannered people and the chilled vibe, but it’s 9:23 pm right now, I’ve left the dinner table for my bed and I’m stuffed and sleepy so I’d just go to bed now. Tomorrow I’m scheduled to climb the canopy walkway above the Nyungwe rain forest which has been described as the road to hell. Let me just rest in preparation for facing it tomorrow. Stay with me 🙂

Go ahead, share:

Uber is Bae

IMG_1515

In case you haven’t heard, life in Lagos without a car just got a whole lot easier. And boy, am I glad?

Ever noticed how the days when you’re in an absolute hurry always seem to be when taxis just refuse to show up? Or all you see are those cars that look like the 1950’s version of station wagons that started to be squashed at a metal recycling facility before someone, under the influence of substances yet to be determined, changed his mind and gave them a second chance to get back on the road. Those taxis that when they slow down beside you, you pretend like you’re not a potential passenger because arriving at your destination in a vehicle like that will take you from 100 to 0 before you can say hello. Or is it those taxis that if you don’t have a bottle of perfume and/or deodorant spray in your purse, you are doomed to get to where you are smelling like someone who spent a few hours assisting your mechanic pro bono to fix cars with combustion issues?

Or the rain. The rain that randomly starts while you’re standing by the roadside after which some guy drives past and splashes dirty water from the puddle that has just collected on the road because the drainage is, well, not draining anything? The other day I was in a yellow cab, and considering that there was no AC on, I was wondering why I was feeling rather cool air on my lower body, only to see a gaping hole at the door.

If you can relate with any of these, I have good news for you.

Uber.

Uber is here to take your pain away.

It’s hard to beat pick up at your door – or wherever you decide. Or a nice car that looks new and feels safe and is not literally falling apart with k-legged tyres and rattling metal. If you’re lucky you might even get a car that’s way above your pay grade. (Fake it till you make it, remember?) Or is it the oh-so-polite drivers who ask you if you want music and offer you chewing gum? And one of the parts I really like: You don’t have to haggle, and the fares are always great. Payment is charged to your card and if you get into traffic you won’t have any Baba grumbling and insisting you pay him more money. Indeed Uber is bae!

To get started, all you need to do is create an account online, download the app to your device through which you book your trips and payment is charged to your card. Even better, you get a free ride worth N2000 if you use my invite link https://www.uber.com/invite/uberSamiatu    (I get N2k too – double delight!) It absolutely is the easiest way to get around. So what are you waiting for?

 

Go ahead, share: