I was the last one out of camp again this morning. Today, however, this was neither intentionally nor due to lack of energy. Going back and forth from my tent room to our meeting place, getting my bags loaded onto the truck, and navigating my bike through the stair alleys between the permanent tents simply took time.
Finally, when I was ready to go, I realized that my tire pressure had released again over night (even though I had fixed yet another slow puncture last afternoon), so I had to make another trip to the truck. Brad kindly helped me pump up my tires. He definitely had more strength in his arm muscles, so that helped speed up the process.
Helen, our sweep rider this morning, was patiently waiting for me. Finally, after a last toilet run, I was ready to go. However, we didn’t get very far. Rolling down the steep dirt road, that two days ago I struggled to push my bike up, I got yet another puncture!
How frustrating! I must have been moving in slow motion while changing my tube, because eventually Helen took control and pumped up my tire for me, with my small mini hand pump that makes pumping up a tire an exercise in itself. Thank you Helen for helping me out and keeping your patience all along!
After about 30km, we finally reached the border crossing into Rwanda.
Guess what—all of our riders were still there! Some of them had been waiting for hours, queuing to pay for their Rwanda visas and to get their passports back!
So, in hindsight, sometimes it’s really totally OK to take one’s time. No need to rush. After all, we’re in Africa, and things have their own time down here. Helen and I didn’t need to wait that long to get our documents cleared 🙂
Stage 35: Lake Bunyonyi – Kigali (Rwanda), 116km
Road & traffic condition:
Beautiful scenic riding in the highlands, with good road and traffic conditions.
Rwanda is a cycling nation, and one can immediately tell that on the road with the amount of local cyclists, as well as the respect given to us by local truck and bus drivers. What a pleasant riding day!
I particularly enjoyed riding into Kigali. Instead of crazy traffic, scenic rice paddies adorned the countryside.
Even when the traffic picked up heavily into Kigali, I felt that the drivers are a lot more respectful of cyclists here. On first glance, Kigali appears to be a very pleasant city situated amidst mountains.
Sunny in the morning above the clouds/fog; then overcast all day and rain showers late afternoon.
Dinner at our lodge (Discover Rwanda—THE backpacker hangout in Kigali) was so so. For the first time in my entire adult life, I ordered chips (French fries) as a snack because I was still hungry after dinner. What to do? My pants are still fitting loose after a week of diarrhea—I need energy!
Two rest days again coming up! Most of us are planning to see the gorillas and have pre-booked a gorilla trekking permit. However, the permits need to be picked up at the Tourism Office, and that’s proven a frustrating process.
I was too tired to go to the Tourism Office in the afternoon upon arrival in Kigali, and Natalie kindly offered to try pick up my gorilla trekking permit on my behalf. However, when riders came back from the Tourism Office, they all complained about the big mess there. Everyone had to go to a bank to transfer an additional charge (cash was not accepted, and the credit card machines were down)—no explanations provided (probably the processing fee deducted by the receiving bank when booking our permits).
Picking up a permit on someone else’s behalf was mission impossible, so I’ll have to go there early tomorrow morning.
Feeling strong on the bike again.