Masks and wooden carvings usually don’t bother me, but there was a definite mental step back for me when I saw this …
I don’t know if it was the white eyes, piercing yet blankly staring at the same time. Or if it was that the white eyes did not belong, and to me was not a traditional mask.
I don’t know what it is, but it’s …. creepy.
I had the whole day to spend in Entebbe before the flight back to New York in the evening.
So I decided I was going to make it to the equator this time.
After a drive that took longer than expected – don’t go through Kampala, the traffic is horrible there – we finally arrived at the Equator.
There was a line of souvenir shops, which I proceeded to visit one by one. They all sold mostly the same things – wood carvings, the cow horns all polished up, jewelry boxes, mugs, bags, clothing …
At 0 degrees latitude …
I watched the demonstrations on the direction water goes down the drain … clockwise and counter-clockwise, and straight down at 0 degrees latitude …
And you can choose in which hemisphere you want to have lunch in …
I might do that next time …
‘Come, let’s go for brunch on the weekend’, I was told.
Ok, no problem. Where?
To Gisenyi, Rwanda. Over there, just across the border.
Oh. I didn’t realize that our hotel was only a five-minute walk to the border!
So we walked to the border. ha! After a round of filling out forms and getting our passports leafed through and stamped in the DRC, we showed them to the officer sitting in a chair exactly on the border, who leafed through them again, and then let us through. We then stepped up to the window – there, where you see people by the building – to fill out the entry forms and have our passports leafed through and stamped again. I wanted to take out the camera to take pictures, but I didn’t dare in case they took it from me. I took the photos with the phone camera instead.
At last we were through.
We decided to walk to the resort hotel that was offering the weekend brunch. It was a nice day, not too hot, and it was good to stretch our legs and walk and take in the countryside.
This is the same Lake Kivu, taken from the Rwanda side. That’s Goma, DRC that you see in the distance.
We arrived at the Lake Kivu Serena Hotel resort. Nice, upscale hotel resort, decorated with the native arts. We sat down to a continental breakfast, with what I think is a traditional Rwandan or East African breakfast – stewed beans, chicken drumsticks, matoke stew (mashed bananas), soup? Ok. There was also beet juice and cucumber juice, in addition to the more common papaya, watermelon, orange, pineapple juices. No, I wasn’t adventurous enough again to try the beet juice.
Jane asked for hot sauce … ‘Here’, they said. Be careful. Just one drop. One? Yes. One. It’s very hot, very spicy. Hmmm… chili oil, it says.
So Jane squeezed out one drop … then another drop in a different spot … and another in a different spot … Several drops and a forkful later, she was fanning her mouth and looking for water, tea, liquids, to cool her tongue …
I stayed away from it … Remember, I’m not that adventurous when it comes to culinary adventures …
After breakfast, I took a walk on the hotel grounds.
Flowers, of course …
… the souvenir shop. I really liked those white statues … hope they weren’t made out of ivory!
It was a relaxing morning. Refreshed, we walked back to the border, and went through the same process coming in.
It was quite a change of scenery, but then I must remember that we were in a resort, inside its walls. Regular life continues outside the walls.
Maybe because the town was near a volcano – which last erupted in 2002, and its effects are still everywhere in the black stones and dust everywhere – that splashes of colour from the flowers were few and far in between. Or maybe because it was the dry season, and everything so dusty, but it seemed to me that the town was dark and dusty and brown everywhere.
There were a few plants and flowers in between, but not enough for me. I took photos but they didn’t turn out the way I wanted it, and I didn’t have enough time to spend on fiddling with the camera and settings.
Here’s one that I wanted to spend more time on, but couldn’t.
Look at the textures on those leaves!
Maybe next time – if I get there again, and if these are still in bloom – I can study it some more.