Sunday, 27 March 2011

Eat, pray and read hello magazine

This weekend was all about repairing my soul. It was like a mini version of the book ‘eat pray love’ but sadly without the love story at the end. It was Louise’s birthday and so we went to a place called ‘The Manor hotel’ to eat and lounge about by the pool. I have finally found the posh part of Kigali – the district where the Manor hotel is located, Nyarutarama, is home to the city’s rich. There are 4x4s everywhere and lovely massive whitewashed houses with big gates. As part of the hotel complex there was a shop selling expensive cakes and one selling nice new looking clothes. The streets were cobbled, the gardens were manicured and the view was stunning. However the thing that impressed us vsos the most was the hot showers and hairdryers in the changing rooms. That was it. One by one people disappeared for an hour at a time and came back with nice soft, shiny blow dried hair and a grin from ear to ear.  
Down at the pool I had a freezing dip and looked at ancient copies of Hello and Cosmo magazines. Seeing Eammon Holmes dressed up as a Christmas king made me choke on my gigantic wedge of cake and reminded me once more why I chose to be in Rwanda. As I sipped my fanta citron and watched the reflection of the sun going down across Kigali’s skyline I thought ‘I do not miss you, plastic celebrities, with your ticky tacky showroom houses, bratty spoiled children and orange tans’, but yet I carried on reading about them, disgusted but fascinated at the same time in much the same way that Jim Carey’s face in ‘The mask’ brings about similar feelings of dual interest and revulsion.
Moving on from cake by the poolside, I have discovered my favourite restaurant in Kigali so far. Its called Lalibela and its an Ethiopian restaurant with great spicy food, lovely owners and a real lit fire you can sit around in the garden. Ethiopian food is very different from Rwandan food. For starters there were no carbs! Not one! Whereas the typical Rwandan ‘melange’ or mixed plate, has loads: rice, chips, spaghetti, plantain, spicy boiled potatoes, all on the same plate, Ethiopian food is all about different kinds of meat in different kinds of spicy sauces and delicately flavoured vegetables. Don’t get me wrong, I like carbs but it was really lovely to have a change. And to top it all off the owner was going in our direction to go home and he gave us a free lift back to our guest house in his sparkling big 4x4, how is that for hospitality!
 The next day I woke up to a new cultural experience, going to a Rwandan Church. I have always been fascinated by the idea from a curiosity point of view, but wanted to go with other people that I knew so I took the chance when I was invited on Sunday. We went to the Anglican church of Rwanda’s English service by Kigali Institute of Technology. I was surprised by how similar it was to a church service in England. It was a very nice church with a very international flavour and I loved the singing. We were invited to share some tea with some people from the Church which was lovely. We had a conversation about tea with a Sri Lankan, a Kenyan, a Canadian and some Brits so it was very international! One day I think I will have to get brave and actually go to the Catholic Church on the hill where I live to compare, mind you I don’t think they will have an English service there!

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