Thursday, October 30, 2008


I have been taken to task for the lack of communication on my blog and I cannot really say that I have not had enough time; I just seem to be permanently tired and totally uninspired to do anything at all.

So what have I/we been up to in the last month? Besides the ever present work we have started the construction of the patio and most recently, I arrived back from a business trip to Kigali in Rwanda.

This turned out to be a rather fascinating trip and very pleasant indeed. Maybe my expectations were so low that anything pleasant would have been fantastic but I don't think that this was the case. Kigali is an interesting place, it is clearly very poor and third world but unlike anywhere else, it is spotlessly clean. Apparently the third saturday morning of each month is clean the country day and everyone is allotted their piece of ground to clean. Nobody is allowed to drive anywhere and there are monitors around to ensure this; one doesn't want to argue with someone who has recently been in or through a genocide!
Although Kigali is a city, it is on quite hilly terrain and there are big gaps everywhere that are still farmland so you seem to be looking out over fields to shacks or over shacks onto fields all the time.

Not only are farmlands interspersed between the buildings but well to do houses and poor shacks are nestled cheek by jowel, not at all like the expensive squatter camps ala dainfern that we have in south africa.

The hotel was very pleasant, well maintained and pretty much everything worked including the wireless internet in the room so I was able to keep up with email and generally in touch with work and the world.
What was truly a surprise was the quality of the restaurants; two that we went to were really fantastic and the food available at the hotel was very good as well. For some reason the fruit was just that much juicier and tastier than what I am used to - maybe it has something to do with the total lack of fertiliser used. The restaurants would have been entirely at home in upmarket Johannesburg and sitting outdoors in the warm evenings overlooking the lights of Kigali was a little magical.

Below is the "First Class" lounge at Nairobi airport which, after the luxury of Kigali, was a bit depressing.

The most depressing moment of the trip however was the welcome we received from the incompetent immigration official at ORT. Because the flight lands late they only have one official on duty for the entire plane and I think that he gets the late duty as punishment for some indiscretion. Very annoying welcome back to South Africa; lots of queue jumping and frayed tempers but I'm home.