16 May 2012

Kigali {Part 1}: Getting Around

As strange as it may sound, if there's one thing I'll never forget about Kigali it's the preferred mode of transport.  

The city is literally crawling with motos.  

You can be walking on the most discreet backwards side street in the middle of nowhere and voila, within seconds a flock of motos arrive, all frantically offering you their helmet in hopes that you will choose to hitch a ride on the back of their bike.  After a little bargaining, you choose a moto based on both price and the quality of their helmet {a helmet with cracks all over it is never a good sign}, and then instantaneously you are off to your destination.  

For some reason, the moto drivers don't seem to place a large premium on petrol as their fuel gauge is always on empty and on more than one occasion during my short stay in Kigali, one of our motos would just run out of gas en-route to wherever it was we were going and stop ... in the middle of the road.  The moto drivers are evidently used to this and when it happens they calmly push over to the curb to make way for traffic, ask you to get off their bike, and then hail another moto for you to hop on again.  

Organised chaos at its finest.

All lined up!
Not sure what's going on with my hand - maybe channeling my inner Lady Gaga?
Motos run throughout all hours of the night.
This driver was a little camera shy ;)

Although I was slightly nervous before my first moto ride, within seconds I had decided that motos just might be the best invention around.  They bring fun and excitement into what would normally be a mundane everyday method of getting from point A to point B and bring true meaning to the phrase "enjoy the journey just as much as the destination".  In other words, they take the means and make it an end in itself.

By the end of my stay in Kigali, I found myself saying, "hey, I could so easily get used to this!"   

As a side note though, if I was staying for the long term I would probably invest in my own helmet.  The ones they provide tend to be well used and ill-fitting {they bob up and down on your head the whole time}.  It's so funny to walk into a restaurant full of expats and see everyone chatting away and enjoying their food, each with their own helmet sitting next to their chair.  I must admit that I kind of like it :)

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Also,  today I'm one of the featured expats in an article {What Bloggers Say About Living Abroad} on Laura's lovely blog Yummy Laura.  It's full of great advice so be sure to check it out here!

16 comments:

  1. The roads look like they're in pretty good condition. Almost no one rides motos here - probably due to terrible road conditions (you need a 4x4) and torrential downpours in the rainy season which results in swimming pools on the road.

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  2. This is pretty awesome. I would have definitely been scared, but it definitely adds to the "flavor" of the country! How fun!

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  3. great photos! love bodas in Rwanda...so organised (that is the good old French)-not like Uganda...much more hectic and exciting!

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  4. That is so cool. I am terrified about taking risks like that but now that I've started traveling I am open to taking them even if I am scared. This is so inspirational to me that I'll have to think of it every time I'm scared of something fun! (I freaked out going on a gondola in the Alps).

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  5. What an adventure! The moto-taxis wore vests like that in Cambodia too/ Such a great idea, but I was way too scared to get on a moto in Cambodia!

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  6. Ha. I love the whole post about motos. Just realized that in photo #8, the purple billboard in the back is the official '18 years' since the genocide slogan since it's mourning period. Just a little fact you may find interesting.

    <3 Katie

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  7. the fiance and I rented a moto while staying in Koh Tao, Thailand for a couple weeks. WE LOVED IT! although, we never wore helmets. probably a really bad idea, LOL.

    Can't wait to hear more about your trip!

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  8. Hi Jenna! I just found your blog and I love it! I also live abroad, in Tokyo. I'll keep reading your adventures!! xx

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  9. Wow that looks like a ton of fun - but I'd definitely be super scared!!

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  10. You are living an adventure wonderland filled with all things incredible.

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  11. Ah, I love scooters!! I could just live on those things, if Jhb wasn't so damn rainy all the time!

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  12. Wow, fantastic pics. You're a brave woman. I didn't even notice the motos when I was in Rwanda! I was a spoiled business traveler back then and always had someone to drive me in a car.

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  13. I would be freaked out! Haha, but it still kind of looks like fun!

    I really enjoyed reading both of the post about your trip! It's so interesting! :)

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  14. Wow look at you, you thrillseeker! Riding around Africa by motorbike...awesome :). Love the gaga hand pic...cracked up! hahaha

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  15. THAT ... is the real way to see the sights. :D I want to. Can I visit?

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  16. That looks so fun and a little scary too! :) Me and my family rented motos when we were in Thailand, it was so much fun and it makes travelling much more interesting like you said! Love the photos, especially the Lady Gaga claw! :)

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Thanks for commenting! I love reading each and every one of them :)