30. OUT OF AFRICA
It was with a bit of sadness that we buckled ourselves into our airplane seats to leave Rwanda, but also a bit of happiness for the wonderful time we'd experienced there.
A couple of hours later we touched down in Nairobi, Kenya and then a few hours after that in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where we would be spending two nights and one full day.
We couldn't believe it when we got to our hotel and were given the key to room 101:
What could be more appropriate for an Orwell scholar specializing in "1984" than the infamous "Room 101" where Winston came face to face (literally) with his greatest fear. But we didn't take it as a bad omen, more of as an inside joke from the spirit of Orwell.
The next morning, after a leisurely breakfast in the exotic dining room, we walked from our hotel toward the city centre and hired a taxi-driver for the day to take us around. He complained all the way from our hotel to downtown about how the Communist Chinese were everywhere in his country. I told him the same was happening in Canada.
The amazing thing about this conversation is it was being carried on in the presence of a Chinese man from China who was also in the taxi - sharing the ride with us from our hotel. This Chinese man agreed with everything we were saying and understood why we were complaining. But he himself was very happy because he spoke several languages and travelled all over Africa doing business and making money. He even gave us some Chinese money as a souvenir.
The first place we asked the taxi driver to take us to was the Ethiopian National Museum to see the skeleton of Lucy. I'd remembered how excited my mother had been back in 1974 when Lucy had been discovered. The study of humankind's origins was a subject that fascinated her and we used to get into long conversations about it. It was in remembrance of my mother, RIP, that we went to visit Lucy, as I knew she would want me to do that, and was with us in spirit as we did:
Lucy was discovered thirty-two years ago in Ethiopia and was the oldest human skeleton ever to be found. She is thought to be 3.2 million years old. The photo on the left is of Lucy's actual bones lying in their glass case. The photo on the right is a replica of her existing bones (the yellow ones) connected with the missing bones (the white) of a human skeleton.
Emperor Haile Salassie's throne is also on display.
After leaving the museum we drove all over Addis, shopping in the markets and absorbing the atmosphere of this ancient city. I bought a book on the history of Ethiopia published when Haille Selassie was Emperor -- and also a beautiful Bible Stand which is perfect for holding any book.
When we woke up in the morning the news was all about the Israeli attack on the Lebanese airport and we were glad we weren't flying out of Beruit.
The eight or ten hour flight on Ethiopian Airlines from Addis Ababa to London, England was the best I've ever experienced, not only for the excellent meals and service, but for the joy of flight. The plane was nowhere near full and so we all had window seats. And for some reason the pilot flew very low over the ground and we could see the Sahara Desert stretching below us for hours.
The photo above is of the Nile River. Then for awhile the plane flew high above the clouds, at which time I went and stretched out across four middle seats and had a nap. When I woke up we were close to leaving Africa, and the map on the movie-screen showed we were near the city of Benghazi, Libya which is where land met the Mediterranean Sea.
The photos above are of our last look at Africa, the continent that holds the little country of Rwanda in its heart, as do I.
~ the end ~
back to index at DESTINY DESTINATION RWANDA
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~