celebrating another birthday in africa


As your flyingnorth blogmaster celebrates another birthday, he finds himself once again in Africa. While last year the event was marked with couscous, tagine and ancient medinas in Morocco, this year it is marked with African ginger tea and primate spotting in Rwanda.

As traveling in Sub-Saharan Africa can be unpredictable, today was a good example of that. Not your usual birthday activities, but an unforgettable day. On the journey to Lake Kivu in a Toyota LandCruiser, the roads, many of which were in surprisingly good shape, became dirt roads. As the journey continued, the roads in Eastern Rwanda continued to hug the mountains but became increasingly rough. At one point a downed tree held us up for a few minutes.

Then, a significant delay, as a large truck had fallen off the side of the road and a large crane and several men, including men from “China Road,” a Chinese consortium building roads in Rwanda, were attempting to retrieve the vehicle and clear the road. This is sometimes how things go in Sub-Saharan Africa.

After the road cleared, and three more hours passed, I made it to my destination on the shores of lake Kivu, one of the African Great Lakes in Eastern Rwanda bordering the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Traveling on one’s birthday is a nice thing to do, and I’ve spent mine in many interesting places including Lake Louise, Canada, Morocco, Croatia, Mt. Rainer in Washington State, and now Rwanda.

I had two things on my mind that I wanted this day: 1) since I had been off the grid for a few days, wifi was at the top of my list; and 2) a nice café somewhere picturesque where I could sip my latte substitute while on the African continent [African ginger tea] and take in the landscape.

As luck would have it, I got both, and I am enjoying that tea as I write this and look out onto the waters of Lake Kivu.

Happy birthday to me!

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jt is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Italy and has a Masters in International Relations. He has traveled to all seven continents and one hundred nine countries and is quite fond of a good cappuccino.