Sunday, December 1, 2013

Hiding in/at the Papyrus

On Friday night I went out with an Egyptian and two South African telecommunications workers to a night club complex called "Papyrus".  It was just breathtaking.  It was the best night club I have ever been to in terms of atmosphere. 

Here is a photo of the overview of the compound.  Of course, I didn’t take this, but it was the best I can provide.

Additionally, here is a review on my favorite Rwanda blog, I have linked this blog before, and it is my go to for finding places to go in Kigali:

We arrived at 8pm and went, from the side of the hill we were on, up stairs to the “second” floor of the complex, or the top floor.  There is a ground floor and a “basement”, again depending on which side of the building you are on. 

Here is a photo of the first floor which contains the restaurant.

We go straight into the “lounge” area.  It has the VERY best furniture for sitting and chatting I have ever seen.  Of course, I didn’t take a photo and I can't find one online, but really.  It is all over sized and very comfortable and made of the heaviest and gnarliest and most beautiful cut wood trunks for tables and planks for the couches.  I adored it immediately.  The view was extraordinary and the lighting was so good that I honestly can't remember the light themselves.  They were ambient and didn’t call attention to themselves but lighted everything intimately and perfectly.

We sat down and ordered beers and commenced rapid fire talking for HOURS!  I really loved these guys.  Some of the most interesting people I have met here.

The music was like manna from heaven straight to feed my sad starving ears…soul and rhythm and blues from the 1960s in the USA.  Oh my god.  I was so happy!  After a few beers and a more lubricated conversation where the Egyptian and I told the stories of our lives, professional lives really, in brief, then he ordered a drink with this Ugandan millet gin.  I have been told about this already, but it smells lovely, like a stronger juniper and fruitier gin.  We mixed this with a little coca cola and a lot of ice and a ton of lemon peel.  It was divine, and much more alcoholic than I thought after I had had two.

This is really the government and money-ed set for Kigali.  I met the owner of MTN, the cell service I use, and some people from various ministries.  Though, the culture in Rwanda is one to keep your private dealings private so I will not mention the ministries they are from.  Also, the people there were so beautiful.  They dress to the nines there, as I was gratefully informed before I went.  There was every kind of person from every kind of place wearing every kind of gorgeous and colorful, from flowery to severe, article of clothing.  I felt about the coolest I have ever felt in my life.  Especially with the company I was keeping who were all pretty much beautiful.  And as for me, I dressed as well as I could with what I brought without being TOO sexy (I am MARRIED!).  But, the way people talked to me and looked at me.  Instead of being stared at, I simply felt like one of the beautiful people.  I want to go back there and feel that again…and again... and again…for the rest of my life.

Then we, after we had begun dancing basically in our chairs to the music, went downstairs to the “basement” night club where the dancing happens.  We made a pit stop in the courtyard on that side of the hill to get some chicken brochette, we should have had the lamb, it's cheaper and tastier because a grill will always gouge the drunk.  The courtyard also had pool and other games.

The dance club afterwards was packed and dark but with many colored lights.  We ordered a beer there which I cold hardly drink after that gin upstairs.  The music was all good stuff, either stuff I know that was muzungu, stuff I don’t which was muzungu, or Rwandese and other African stuff.  But all of it was good.  The only problem – the convention here of playing only 30 seconds to a minute of a song and then switching, with absolutely no segue, to another great song.  We danced and dance, until…

The power went out.  LOLOLOL!  Seriously the power went out in a packed basement night club!  Everyone made a big noise like OOOOOOHHHHH and then started laughing.  Because we were all dancing and had been moving in some direction or another before the lights went out, we all bumped into each other.  There is more laughter.  After about 30 seconds and groping and trying to, drunkenly, figure out which direction you want to go and where your people are, people begin to light lighters.  But in this darkest of dark places with so many bodies and so little reflective surfaces, the lighter would only light an eye or a nose or a hand and a part of someone’s shirt or something.  This added to the extreme psychedelia of the experience.

Then the power came back on with a whump and the lights were all going and the music was blaring and everyone started to laugh again.  All this laughter was so giddy because this is a, truly, inherently dangerous situation.  But now it's over and the party goes on with just a bit more intensity!

After a while I was concerned because I realized that I had lost track of time.  I told my husband that I would call him when I expected to leave which was, at the latest time, almost an hour before.  Damnit!  I thought and rushed to leave.  I called my car and got home and blathered drunkenly to my husband about a nice time and how sorry I was not to have answered his call and not to have called him earlier.  It was a REALLY good experience.  I might even have it again if I feel up to that level of energy next weekend.  I think only if I finish my Gacaca work this week, which is more than a possibility.

P.S. You know I can't finish such a great post without a bummer:  most of the people who survived the direct impact of the genocidal movement in Rwanda was by hiding in the papyrus marshes.  Hence the title of this post.
I hope you all had the best Thanksgiving possible!

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