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Mototaxis in Gisenye

Mototaxis in Gisenye

There are lots of ways to get around Kigali, but if you’re into stunning views, ridiculous fun, and willing to entertain the slight possibility of coming to a fiery demise, nothing beats taking motorcycle taxis everywhere. This has quickly become the preferred mode of transportation for our team whenever we don’t have a ton of stuff to carry.  A typical ride for me involves hurling through windy, hilly roads (the topography of Kigali is somewhat similar to San Francisco) with endless greenery and a wonderful sense of terror and abandon. As an extra perk, motos are also nimble enough to weave through rush hour traffic, though this definitely improves your chances of having a near-death experience.

hello there

hello there

Some tips:

  • Rates are negotiable. Most places in the city can be moto’d to for around $1 (~580 RWF), but the experience is always worth whatever you end up paying. As a comparison, buses are 180RWF per person, and car-taxis are 2000-3000 RWF (for up to four people).
  • To ride like a local, keep your hands calmly in your lap–resist the urge to hold onto anything.
  • To avoid scandal, wear pants or skirts of an appropriate length and swingy-ness.
  • If you seem terrified, they will slow down…so keep that game face on.

Went to trapeze school this weekend with some friends (we have a shoutout on their website! haha) .

Like so many things, the hardest part is just taking that first leap.

backflip dismount by a boy who would rather be doing hot yoga

Once in awhile, I think to myself, wouldn’t it be cool to have done something more circus-y with my life? This experience has ensured that I will not think that anymore. (But amateur trapeze is fun, and we signed up for more classes!)

“The Ringling Bros Elephant Parade will begin tonight between 6:30 and 7:00 pm starting at the train stop at Mass Ave and Vassar and continuing down Mass Ave toward Memorial, turning left on Memorial, then continue on Land Blvd and ending at the TD Banknorth Garden.”

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Cirque du Soleil: Kooza is in Boston right now! If you haven’t seen a Cirque show before, I highly recommend it–any one of their shows will be one of the most gorgeous musical and visual performances that you’ll ever experience–I literally switch back and forth between gasping in awe and dying from pure hilarity for the entire 3 hours.

I went with class council tonight to Kooza, and WOW. I’ve seen Alegria in San Francisco and Zumanity in Vegas before so I came in ready to be impressed, but not necessarily expecting anything new. I was blown away–the tone of this production was completely different (Alegria was darker, moodier; Zumanity more..primal, sensual), very whimsical and dream-like. The acts were beautifully choreographed with AMAZING costumes, as always, but again went in a completely different direction from their stuff I’ve seen in the past so that everything was still very surprising and new–especially the crazy wheel of death segment. Steven was sitting next to me, and he was just flat out freaking out during the entire show (along with our whole row, basically)–I’ve never seen him be so animated before, haha.

I think that I can also appreciate something like Cirque in my current state of mind more than I have in the past, because I’m in an environment that is so deprived of emphasis on aesthetics and story and physicality at school. My mind kind of went into overdrive trying to sap it all up, and I couldn’t help (wistfully) thinking  throughout the show how different the lives of these performers are from my own; how exhilarating it must be to be part of and excel at something so special; to travel throughout the world and create a beautiful, sophisticated experience that is capable of reaching an audience’s core sense of fear and awe night after night. That is their lives.

Maybe I’m over-glamorizing, and definitely overlooking the thousands of hours of training and tears it must have taken for their bodies to bend and balance in such fantastical ways. And sure, too many people in this country love art and not enough are studying math and science. Yet.. somehow it just seems kind of lame to snap back into my weekend of 6.041 review after witnessing something so exquisite.

I think the sour look on jason’s face is post-traumatic shock from paying for the $6.50 soda he’s holding…even artful, visionary enterprises are capitalists at heart :).