Cheezy Roadside Tourist Traps — Even in Africa

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Actually, I confess, we drove out of our way to see this little nugget of a roadside attraction. Just north of Queen Elizabeth National Park in Western Uganda, about 70kms from the D.R. Congo border, we crossed back into the northern hemisphere for a few minutes, then hopped back to the south.

There was nowhere to test the thoroughly debunked myth about the counter-clockwise water swirl south of the equator, but minutes after we took the picture we had the pleasure of an African style torrential downpour. 

Kigali on Horseback: Meet Damara

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If she’s not riding she’s not really living. Perhaps her single biggest gripe with this whole Rwanda adventure, Lea has been away from the people and creatures that matter most to her: Mrs. Prince and the dozen or so horses at Prince & Pauper farm in Norwich, and Wendy & Bonnie at Seventh Heaven Farm in White River Junction, where Packy, Rio, Hawk make the world a much better place. (I can’t say I blame her; I don’t ride — heck, I’m allergic to horses — and yet, I miss them all dearly, especially Rio and his big, soft nose).

To be fair, there is riding to be had here in Kigali, albeit significantly slimmer pickings than back in Vermont. A few years ago, some enterprising Belgian families established Fazenda Sengha on top of Mt. Kigali — literally on top of the mountain. A handful of horses, a mud hut stable, and a terrace with the most ridiculously amazing view, like, evah. The drive up there requires patience and four wheel drive, but it’s worth it. 

At first, Lea rode Zorro, a decent enough horse, but somewhat lacking a bit in motivation and discipline. Lea wasn’t real thrilled, but it was certainly better than nothing. Then came the news that a bunch of new horses were arriving from Kenya (all the horses at Fazenda are retired/rejected Kenyan race or polo horses), which sounded promising. Unfortunately, the trip from Kenya left the three horses and two ponies in such miserable shape that they needed a few weeks to recover and get used to their new surroundings. 

But a few weeks ago, Lea finally got dibs on the new goods. And Damara here turned out to be a good match. She’s a feisty and strong-willed mare, eager to go all out and tough to control, but Lea has taken on the challenge and apparently dealt with it well enough that Ally, the excellent American trainer at Fazenda, is letting the two of them work on their relationship. 

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International School of Kigali 1, Ecole Francais 0

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Club Circle Sportif, a run-down francophone country-club-in-the-city with a decent grassy field and one of the few remaining relics of a long gone colonial era, played host to a not-so-epic game between two thoroughly mismatched teams of middle and high schoolers (yep, that’s a bad sign right there – on the one hand, you had skinny little sixth graders a few years shy of hitting puberty, on the other hand, you had 200 pound seniors who apparently had been shaving for over a decade).

IMG 8550At least a dozen spectators (including an exuberant trio of ISK cheerleaders) had made the trip across town to show their support for the ISK team.

In spite of being the distinct underdogs (up against a team with matching shorts and jerseys – whoa!), the ISK players impressed, and their efforts resulted in a well-deserved goal halfway through the first half. The team even survived a penalty shot right before the halftime whistle.

It was looking like an entirely wonderful Wednesday’s outing right until the last few minutes, when one of the biggest Ecole Francais players decided to vent his apparent frustration over the impending loss by steam rolling an ISK player, fracturing his clavicle.

Not nice.