Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Birthday to Remember

It only seems 5 minutes since the Big 50 and now the Big 60 has arrived and here we are in Rwanda celebrating it with Mary following up in four weeks. We took the day off and went to Lake Muhazi an hour away in a taxi-bus. As we arrived the clouds turned from white to the blackest of blacks and slowly by slowly the lake disappeared in the thick mists, the rain started to fall and before long it was torrential and small rivers appeared all around us and flowed rapidly into the shrouded lake.

But we were dry under a shelter sipping our Fantas, hoping for sunshine. We ordered a light lunch of sandwich and soup but after 90 minutes we discovered that they had no bread and that they’d sent someone out on a bus to the next town to buy some! Eventually it arrived – the birthday lunch. If only they had told us.

It can be difficult to get back, so we left early just as the mist was rising, the lake appeared and the beauty of the lake was restored. Well, it will still be there for another day.
Filet Cordon Bleu Rwamagana Style

In the evening we went to the tourist hotel (never seen any tourists there) in Rwamagana for the second birthday meal of “Filet Cordon Bleu” – steak stuffed with tinned pork luncheon meat and tinned plastic cheddar. Delicious!!!???? But, at last, we had a chance to taste real Gordon’s and genuine Scotch as an aperitif but Black Tower at £20 a bottle was beyond even our budget so we stuck with the Primus Beer.
The next day we were in Kigali for a VSO meeting with our VSO peers and we treated ourselves two nights in the Mille Collines Hotel of the film “Hotel Rwanda” fame – a taste of real luxury with delicious food and a price to match. We had arranged a meal that night in the Heaven Restaurant (we all joked “We were all going to Heaven”) and 27 VSOs turned up and Mary presented me with a large chocolate Birthday Cake. We had a wonderful time and the restaurant certainly lived up to its name with its veranda, open to the world, with gorgeous views over the night sky of Kigali.

Birthday Cake in Heaven

A few minor medical issues had to be sorted in the Polyclinique the next day but, in the afternoon, we were invited to a “Presentation of the Groom and Dowry Giving Ceremony” – like a civil ceremony 2 months before the wedding. It was certainly a spectacle not to be missed with beautiful dancers, Burundian drummers who danced and drummed with the enormous drums on their heads, colourful clothes, flowing drink and superb food.

So, all in all, it was a birthday to remember!!!!

Or maybe we'll make this the official one

Burundian drummers

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Hi, hope your enjoy reading about our adventures in Rwanda. We'd love to hear from you. Stephen and Mary