Travellers to tourists (via Kigali)

6th December – Kigali Airport
We arrived at Kampala yesterday after lunch. Our driver (supplied by our friend John) took us straight to Kireka (eastern part of Kampala) to John’s car wash. About a year ago John invited us to enter into business with him and the car wash is a reality now. We sat at the resting place, where you can watch the ever present English football league, drink a soda and wait for your vehicle to be cleaned.

John’s wife Gloria was in charge of ‘project lunch’ as he called it so soon we walked a short distance to their house (minus a TV as that has been moved to the car wash in order to attract business) for some hearty meal.

We hadn’t booked into a hotel this time but after the disaster that was Kololo courts, we didn’t want to risk another new experience. Full of food and drink we travelled through the congested Kampala to our trusty Fairway. Pricey, I know, but clean and comfortable with excellent food. There were two rooms left and we gladly took one of them. We slept like babies.

This morning we made a couple of brilliant discoveries.

One of them is the Nakumat Shopping centre which is right next to the widely promoted Garden City on Yusuf Lule road. We stumbled into it by mistake and found a lovely and very efficient café called Javas. The iced coffees are worth bracing the traffic. They also do big breakfasts.

The second discovery was just down the road near the National Theatre. It was called African Craft Village. Twenty five or so shops with every possible African souvenir that you have ever dreamt of are set out in a circle. We pretty much visited all of them and in each of them we were greeted by pleasant sellers, who were very happy for us to look around their wares. We warned them that we wouldn’t buy anything until we saw all there was to see and they accepted that. No hustle. The prices were competitive in some cases, identical in others. There is one pottery shop (hut number 19) that offers teapots, cooking pots of all shapes and other containers.

Currently we are carrying in our hand luggage a teapot and a cooking pot in a shape of a chicken. Fingers cross they make it home unbroken.

We are on our way to Mombasa now and on our budget that involves Rwanda Air with a stop in Kigali.

Kigali airport is special. All passengers are ushered into a large departure hall with 6 gates. You are strictly let out through a specific gate according to your flight (ok, still just like all the other airports) but when you walk through the door…you are on a pavement with all the other passengers from the other flights without any particular directions as which plane should you board. I believe that is designed to keep the passengers on their toes.
Should there be no complications, tonight we will turn from travellers into tourists. As a treat we booked a week in a resort with nothing to do but eat, drink, sunbathe and scuba dive. I will let you know how that went.

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