Monday, September 17


Greetings from sunny Bujumbura. The mountainous ride in from Rwanda was lovely, despite the heat and the Elton John. Buj is not the most pleasant of cities to arrive in. It possess that certain je ne sais quoi of post-conflict African capitals. Dilapidated buildings, amputee beggars, lots of young men and boys in shabby clothes hanging out on the streets, signs with the "no guns allowed" symbol.

But it's ok, because they have dark beer here. Amstel bock. It's not amazing, but I don't care, it's somewhat dark, and that's better than I've had anywhere else in East Africa, outside Ethiopia. Actually, Buj isn't doing too badly. The UN is in town and things have settled down for now. There are plenty of good hotels and Belgian restaurants. The city market, while chaotic, is actually kind of pleasant.

And it certainly doesn't feel too touristy. Today we stopped by the National Tourism Office. The guy working there was thrilled, giving us a tourist booklet from 1993 and pointing out all the pictures that popped up on his computer's screensaver slideshow. It is a little hot though.

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