Friday, February 5, 2010

The Natives are Friendly

Its taken me a while to get used to how nice Rwandans are and how safe it is to walk around here. People sometimes shout "muzunga" (white man) but they are just pointing you out to friends. When people say "How are you?" they are not hussling, they are just being polite. Kids often just want to practice their english (or french) and are happy with a brief conversation even if they have a go at begging for money. Even poor areas (I am in a very local internet cafe a block away from the main street in Nyamirambo) people try to speak english and are doing their best to be helpful.

Went into a local style supermarket at lunchtime. Bought a whole pineapple, four bananas, an apple and a very small tub of margerine for a total of 2000 RwF., about $3:50.
Lunch in the hospital cafeteria is 900 RwF for an all you can eat buffet of rice, potatoes, sauce, veg stew and lumps of stewed meat. It seems extravagant to pay another 400 RwFr for a coke or fanta. On days when that seems too much I get two or three samosas from the stand outside the hospital for about 300 or 400 RwFr.

Sometimes I get carried away with being cheap. Last night the motorbike taxi wanted 1000 to take me home from downtown, about twice the usual rate because it was raining. So I walked home, which took about 35 minutes, in the rain. When it was just a cool drizzle, it made a nice change from the 32 degree heat of recent days (going down to 26 at night). But from time to time it came down heavily, so it was not the best move.

Wednesday was my last day teaching at CHUK so I decided to treat myself and go to the Serena Hotel for lunch. Its a beautiful building, with a bistro type restaurant by the side of a fancy swimming pool. The service was impeccable, but the steak sandwich was small and the fries were the worst I have had in Rwanda. They seemed to be frozen. With a coke, it came to RwFr 9,400, maybe $18.

Today I saw four people on a motorbike taxi - the driver, a woman and two kids about 6 and 8. I also saw a man carrying a 4 x 4 ft sheet of glass on the back of a bike. Its an intersting place!

The road crew are finally getting round to putting the road back, just as I am leaving.

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