Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Smooth Landing in Kigali


The new Starbucks at AMS, near KLM gates
After 15 hours in the air, I made it! The trip was absolutely flawless. No delays, no turbulence. Smooth landings, good seats. At Amsterdam Schiphol airport I got my usual latte at the nicest Starbucks ever, with the best barista ever---due to the snazzy renovations the airport is undergoing. Everything including the internet lounge is pretty snazzy. 
 
Arriving in Kigali. Love walking the tarmac!
I arrived in Kigali on Saturday night around 7:15 p.m. local time. Talk about surreal. I was in Africa. In Rwanda. When I stepped off the plane, all anxiety was gone. I was serenely happy. I literally was smiling and talking out loud to myself, "Wow, I'm here, I can't believe it!" (Luckily no one noticed). Walking down the airplane stairs onto the tarmac; I was almost giddy.
 
The first thing I noticed was the beautiful warm breeze--it felt better than any other. A perfect night. Armed Rwanda National Police stood off to the side. I waved, and they waved back.

The airport is small and very clean. Not modern, but more modern than I'd anticipated. Easy going yet efficient.Visa and passport stamp took five minutes. Baggage claim, about the same. (Dorothy, we are not at Logan
Airport anymore.) 
 
Baggage claim at Kigali.

It was already dark in Kigali, but there was plenty to take in. (Unfortunately, no pictures. Stay tuned.) Lots of construction everywhere - commercial and residential. No freeways in Kigali. Lots of advertising for Tigo, the telecomm company. Lots of little cafes, bodegas, a few hotels, a mall. I had to laugh when I saw a sign advertising  "Pop Conn Internet."  Could someone in Rwanda have a New England/Massachussetts accent? A Boston sense of humor?

I don't know, but the thing I noticed immediately about the Rwandan people, starting at the airport, is that they are super chill. They have a peaceful easy way about them. They are pleasant. Helpful. They tend to speak softly. It's just their way. It's quite nice to be around.
 
After 12 months of waiting, I'm here in Rwanda, finally. Let the fun begin!



Outside of the Kigali International Airport