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Different Cultures

25 Nov

One good thing that came out of 27 hours in seat F3 is that in seat F4 was a very nice man named Iddi. He gave me his information and wanted me to call him once I got to Arusha in Tanzania. I gave Iddi a call and he immediately came and picked me up and drove me to his house. I met his wife Mariam and their three children and then his daughter made us all cups of coffee. They wanted me to stay for dinner so I was ordered to sit and relax with Iddi as the women went about cooking. A little over an hour later a huge portion of beef stew and flat bread were put down before us. Mariam came over with a pitcher of water and a bowl so I could wash my hands to eat with and then did the same for Iddi. I waited for the women to join us but was instructed that they were not eating with us. The food was amazing and it is always fun to eat with your hands. After dinner the women came and cleared the plates, washed our hands and then gave us coffee. Every time I offered to help I was shot down and Iddi told me it is seen as an insult to offer help almost saying that I could do it better than them. It was a really cool experience to have a proper dinner in an African household, I am just glad my mother wasn’t there to tell my lazy ass to get to work on the pots and pans.



The Dutch Doctors

17 Nov

I had reached Zanzibar the place in Africa to drink copious amounts of beer and swim in the very warm Indian Ocean. The only problem was that I developed an ear infection essentially blocking me from these activities. I was a little bummed about it but figured it wasn’t the worst thing in the world. I luckily bumped into 4 Dutch doctors all my own age down in Africa on their final internship. They went over my symptoms and informed me that beer and swimming in the ocean were both fine to do. I was of course ecstatic and waltzed up to the bar to grab an ice cold Kilimanjaro. A huge thanks to my Dutch friends for keeping my party going!










27 hours in seat F3

17 Nov

Sunrises are generally a very tranquil moment to reflect on your life but when you watch two consecutive ones from the same bus seat they sort of lose their appeal. I needed to leave Burundi due to visa issues and I found a bus that took me from Bujumbura to Dar es Salam, the only catch was that it took 27 hours. I luckily got a seat at the back of the bus in the middle so I could put my legs down the aisle but that is where the luxury stopped. There were 5 seats in the back row with 7 people squeezed into them. For the next 27 hours I sweated in my seat but I eventually made it to my destination. $20 for a 1509 km bus ride, I think this is one time I should have shelled out for something a little nicer.


Access Denied to the DRC

12 Nov

Tried making a quick trip across the border into the DRC but got denied on the Congo side. Lucky for Mathieu though as they wanted us to pay a lot of money for us to come back into Burundi but he negotiated a much better under the table price.


Avoid non-essential travel

8 Nov

The Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada has the following to say about Burundi:

 OFFICIAL WARNING: Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises against non-essential travel to Burundi. While the general situation in the country has started to stabilize as a result of peace agreements between the National Liberation Forces (FNL) rebel group and the Government of Burundi, sudden outbreaks of violence and civil unrest are still likely to take place throughout Burundi, including around FNL demobilization camps. There are large amounts of small arms and weapons in circulation, easily available to various groups. Violent attacks and ambushes by former soldiers, rebel forces, and youth gangs against humanitarian workers, including foreigners, occur frequently. These incidents include robbery and murder. The presence of refugees returning from Rwanda and Tanzania also continues to exacerbate tensions.

Like the sensible traveler I am, after reading this I decided to go anyways. I am definitely glad I made the decision because Bujumbura was an amazing city. I didn’t feel unsafe once and people were a lot more welcoming then they were in the neighbouring country of Rwanda. The one thing people in Bujumbura know how to do well is party and it doesn’t matter what night of the week it is, naturally I fit in quite well. The local drop was Amstel Bock and you can guess this traveler had his fair share.


Bujumbura, Burundi.

Rwanda Border

4 Nov

I was told that for Canadians you had to obtain your visa online before you got to the border. The form is very simple to fill out and can be found at the following address It tells you that it will get back to you within three days with your visa in an attachment you will print out and take to the border. Three turned into five and I still had not received anything, so I said screw it and headed to the border. We got there early in the morning and they certainly were not happy about me not having a visa but American dollars always seem to smooth things over in Africa and I got my stamp and entry into the country. Another thing to remember at the border is that plastic bags are illegal in Rwanda so leave them at home as your bag gets thoroughly searched for the contraband and you can be subsequently fined.


Fishing on the Nile

31 Oct

I met Peter and Warren rafting the day before who were up from South Africa selling wine for their wineries. Warren was the marketing manager at Guardian Peak and Peter’s family ran De Westhof Estate. That night we spent testing their products and they invited me along to go fishing the next day. We met captain Rob and set out to catch some *Nile Perch. It was a pretty sophisticated fishing trip as the boys brought some wine and cheese to enjoy out on the water. Lake Victoria has been extremely over fished and we were warned that pulling anything out would be difficult. That didn’t stop big Peter though from pulling out a whopping 20Kg Perch. I tried to pay the boys in the end for my part of the boat fees but Peter said no way as I had a lot longer trip in front of me.

Huge Cheers to you boys!


*Nile Perch is a huge fish found in Lake Victoria and the Nile that can weigh up to 200Kg.

Lake Victoria