Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My Weekend in Burundi

I went to Burundi this weekend for a relaxing stay on the beach. To clarify, Burundi is a tiny country next to Rwanda, and Bujumbura is the capital – it’s on a lake and has a beach. This is going to be a longer post, because I’m going to explain my whole trip. So maybe go get a snack, an extra pillow, because this may take a while.

The ride started off…shaky. We boarded the bus at 8am, and set off for Burundi. The bus was flying around the curves! How fast? Fast enough that someone threw up in the isle. Oh yes friends, vomit in the isle. Luckily Rachel, my fellow traveler, and I were a couple seats back, so even though the vomit spread throughout the bus – and landed on some girl’s leg -, it didn’t reach us. But what did reach us? The urine. Someone peed in the isle after the vomit. Now, I would guess that the vomiter was also the uriner, but that remains unconfirmed at this time. Investigation still pending. The worst part: no one laughed. The two muzungus in the back of the bus almost added more urine to the aisle we were laughing so hard. I mean vomit and urine in the aisle for a 6 hour bus ride; how is that not funny? Actually at one point it wasn’t funny – I was really hot and bothered and I too had to go to the bathroom! Part of me really wanted to say what of it? I’m peeing in the aisle! But, I’m a lady - I went outside on the side of the road. After that, it was funny again. And giggle-mcgees we were until we reached Bujumbura. We hit the beach and then found dinner before meeting up with other friends visiting Bujumbura as well.

So there we were: 2 Americans, a Canadian and a Brit, ready for a night on the town. And what a fun town we chose. Bujumbura is known for its nightlife, lots of energy and partying. We jumped in a cab, heading to a local place where a taxi told us to go. We went to two clubs, one being a Havana Club, confusing since I was in Burundi…There are a lot of French people in Burundi, where a lot of people speak French. We met a couple UN people, locals and mucho primus. A 2am jaunt back to our motel, called Le Christmas Club (no joke), and that was that.

We spent all of Sunday lying on the beach, drinking primus and playing in the water – though watching out for Gustave – the 20 foot crocodile that lurks in the waters. Look past my incredible tan to see the amazing view I had:

I also went to the zoo/museum. Anyone who has been to the Bujumbura museum will probably sympathize with this experience. First, let’s discuss the leopard (or whatever it was). For sport, they feed him in front of you. Hoping it wouldn’t happen, I moved towards the crocodiles, but I heard it. The loud screams of a live guinea pig and the leopard trying to jump out of its cage to get it. For $2 you can feed it yourself. The guy threw it in, and I nauseously watched the leopard rip its hear off and devour it. Next we went into the snake pen, where our guide opened a cage and walked away. He opened a cobra cage. A cobra. I then screamed “RACHEL CLOSE THE CAGE, CLOSE THE CAGE!!” – because yes, I was already running outside. Rachel then closed the cage, but our guide opened it back up to poke the cobra. He poked the cobra. He might as well have poked a bear. It reared up and did its coil thingy, as I cried outside, wondering what un-caged animal was about to devour me. So thank you Buffalo Zoo for always keeping it modest.

We took helmetless motos everywhere, which I thought was fine – until a random woman and man came up to us and asked why we rode them with no fear. I guess Burundi drivers are notoriously bad. I’ve never been on a faster moto ride in my life, so I suppose I should have some fear, but I’m young and carefree, right?

Bujumbura has energy and life, and I really want ‘no winter 2011’ to be spent there. I can pretty much lay on the beach all day and go out all night – and, being 23, that is my ideal life. I’d also really learn French, so really it’s educational.

The way home was not as exciting as a vomit and urine filled bus, but I made it. Neither of us had coffee in the early morning, so we pretty much stayed silent the entire way. I’m wonked that I didn’t get a multiple entry visa, because I would definitely go back. But, I think Tanzania is calling my name next.

More pictures on Facebook – and yes, I’m still wearing my bathing suit in every single one - I wore it all day, to the zoo, to dinner; I would have slept in it if I wasn’t so badly sunburned. So get over it.

1 comment:

  1. Pretty good description, and I know what it means : I'm living in Buja (as we call it) for 16 years now.
    Luc The Belgian from Africa