Living a Little Because Life is Too Damn Short

A few randoms I had completely forgotten about. Shot in various places over the last seven months or so. Enjoy. And never forget that life is too short to do anything else.

Kigali -> Los Angeles -> Kentucky. First visit back home. December 2013.
Kigali -> Los Angeles -> Kentucky. First visit back home. December 2013.
Self-portrait # 59405. Lake Kivu. March 2014. Can you tell I was well rested?
Self-portrait # 59405. Lake Kivu. March 2014. Can you tell I was well rested?
Because life is short. Nuff said.
Because life is short. Nuff said.
A little reading never hurt nobody. Gifted by an encouraging friend.
A little reading never hurt nobody. Gifted by an encouraging friend.

Gashora, Rwanda. I was here on a work assignment but first, I had to go see about some hippos. [ Update: They only come out at night :( ]
Gashora, Rwanda. I was here on a work assignment but first, I had to go see about some hippos. [ Update: They only come out at night 😦 ]
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Wandering around the big apple solo dolo. January 2014.
Wandering around the big apple solo dolo. January 2014.

Bronx, New York. January 2014. I was freezing but I still love New York and it's ruggedness.
Bronx, New York. January 2014. I was freezing but I still love New York and it’s ruggedness.

LA Dirty Dog aka the only bacon-wrapped anything that I genuinely looked forward to everytime I was in the Fashion District. Shot in January 2014.
LA Dirty Dog aka the only bacon-wrapped anything that I genuinely looked forward to everytime I was in the Fashion District. Shot in January 2014.

March 2014. Lake Kivu.
March 2014. Lake Kivu.
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“You Travel Far Enough, You Find Yourself”

I'm going going back back to Rwanda Rwanda. The journey is becoming familiar.
I’m going going back back to Rwanda Rwanda. The journey is becoming familiar.
Cleanest streets under the Equator. Kigali By Day.
Cleanest streets under the Equator.
Kigali By Day.
Kigali. Taken from the Kigali Genocide Memorial, my workplace. This is place is starting to feel more and more familiar.
Kigali.
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Good vibes only.
Good vibes only.[/captio

[caption id="attachment_244" align="aligncenter" width="788"]Early morning ride. Kigali to Ngororero. Early morning ride. Kigali to Ngororero.

Ngororero, Rwanda
Ngororero, Rwanda
I love the fact that this country makes me feel small and forces me to notice it.
I love the fact that this country makes me feel small and forces me to notice it.
Nyabarongo River. En route from ngororero To Kigali.
Nyabarongo River. En route from ngororero To Kigali.
Nyabarongo River.
Nyabarongo River.

I can’t believe it’s almost been a year since I moved back. I took a break from the blogging to focus on the country itself and not experience it through my lens. As much as I wanted to share each and every experience with the world, the truth is that not every experience can be shared in that way. Most things in life still require you to experience it first hand. That’s why I live to travel.

I spent May in the States and almost immediately, I was reminded of why I was in such a hurry to leave the country. I’m happier in Rwanda than I’ve been in a long time. I have my own little life here and it works for now. I like that I’m always distracted by something new and different than what I’ve known all these years. When I leave the city [Kigali] and I’m surrounded by greenery and hills, I feel small and I feel like it’s the land’s way of forcing me to pay attention to it. To recognize it. For what it is today. What it was yesterday. And what it will be like tomorrow. This time, I booked a one-way ticket to Rwanda and I don’t know when I’ll be back stateside because at the at the moment, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. Emphasis on “for now”. A nomad always has one foot outside the door but for now, this is fine with me.

I’ll stop here for now but for those of you hungry for more, I update my tumblr a lot more often (and I post way too many self-portraits) so check it out: www.lifethroughanslr.tumblr.com.

City Of Angels x Sin City

So I spent the month of May living out of a suitcase. First few stops were Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Appropriately enough, most of the events that took place could not be photographed or filmed. Here are the ones that made the cut.

LA...where the livin's easy and breezy.
LA…where the livin’s easy and breezy.

IMG_7260

What would people complain about in LA if there was no traffic?
What would people complain about in LA if there was no traffic?
Sin City.
Sin City.
We were here. Three amigos.
We were here. Three amigos.
Bye Bye West Coast.
Bye Bye West Coast.

Rose in… “Exploding Lake”?

Raise your hand if you knew that Lake Kivu was also known as an “exploding lake”? I took some time away and spent it next to the lake this past weekend and all I wanted to do with this post was share a few photos along with a nice fitting quote. What followed next was surprising. As we all know, you never know where you’ll end up with a Google search. Especially, when you say to yourself, “Oh, let me just look this up,” and then you find yourself learning about metaphysics and the benefits of fruit juicing…or maybe it’s just me.

As I was looking for this quote, I realized that I didn’t know much about the lake and decided to look up more information about what’s in it and how it got there, to start. A simple Google search brought up this article from the Guardian and I found my quote and then some.  It’s almost 4 years old now but first, I’ll share my quote and the photos and then I’ll tell you why I bothered mentioning the article.

THE QUOTE (just in case you miss it): “It’s dusk on Lake Kivu and the fishermen sing while paddling out in their catamarans, three canoes secured together with long wooden poles. As the twin volcanoes on the far shore disappear into the darkness the men spark kerosene lamps to attract the sambaza sardines into their nets. Across the vast lake their lanterns offer the only tiny sequins of light.”

That’s it. That’s what I wanted to share with you.

Picture it because that’s exactly what I see and hear and maybe why I keep flocking to Lake Kivu (and doing so at Paradise Malahide doesn’t hurt either). It’s therapeutic there and I don’t believe I’ll ever get enough. Here are the latest photos from so-called little piece of heaven.

Peace.
Peace.
Surreal.
Surreal.
Time-out time.
Time-out time.

Here’s the other news. Apparently, Lake Kivu is “one of the most dangerous lakes in the world”.

Historically, Lake Kivu’s gas has been a killer. Deaths attributed to invisible pockets of carbon dioxide rising from vents along the shoreline, known as mazukus, or “evil winds”, are frequently reported, especially on the Congo side. But it is the gas dissolved in the water that may present a far greater threat.

No, I hadn’t done any research and yes, I did my fair share of swimming and dog paddlin’. I admit that I was spooked by that even though this wasn’t my first time swimming in the Lake and may not be my last (let’s remain honest.) And to think that all I was worried about were the snakes.

You travel and you learn.

 

 

Paradise

If and when you hear me refer to “Paradise”, know that I mean nowhere else but Gisenyi, near Lake Kivu.  I’m not exactly sure if the more biblical “paradise” exists yet so we’ll stick to what I know.  I was born in Gisenyi, though for most of life, I claimed Ruhengeri as my place of birth. It’s the one place that I remembered clearly as a child and I have nothing but pleasant memories of my time there. I must have thought my parents were lying when they told me I was born in a hospital not too far away from Lake Kivu.

My mother is from Ruhengeri and my father is from Gitarama but I’ve always had a closer relationship with my mother’s side of the family and for me, Ruhengeri was “home”. I remember running around with some of my aunts and uncles who were close to me in age and also sharing large plates of “imvange” (a casserole of potatoes, grean peas or beans and palm oil) and feeling life couldn’t get any better. That is a story for another day however and this post is about Paradise a.k.a. Gisenyi.

I visited Gisenyi for the first time in 17 years back in 2011 though I was in a rush and didn’t get a chance to explore the place. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I had the chance to return  and I have to say that I’ve fallen completely in love with it and the energy of the place. I stayed at Paradise Malahide, a guesthouse and restaurant bordering lake Kivu (literally) and about 15 minutes outside of the center of town and I had no desire to return to Kigali when it was time.  I’ve since made a vow to always return whenever I can and I will be doing so in a couple of weeks

All I can say right now is that I may never own a house in the United States or anywhere else in the world but  I  WILL definitely build or buy one right alongside the Lake Kivu. Why? I took some pictures so you can see for yourself (see below).

Mumu swag in Gisenyi = Life.
Mumu swag in Gisenyi = Life.
I took that small boat  with friends, to a small, empty island about 20 minutes away. Now, I can say that I was one of only four people on entire island at one point in time.
I took that small boat with friends, to a small, empty island about 20 minutes away. Now, I can say that I was one of only four people on entire island at one point in time.
View of one of the guesthouses.
View of one of the guesthouses.

IMG_5940

Guess who's feet that is?
Guess who’s feet that is?
Private beach and view from the room.
Private beach and view from the room.
In my element.
In my element.

This was taken at Inzu Lodge, about 15 minutes from Paradise Malahide. Awesome fish brochettes here.
This was taken at Inzu Lodge, about 15 minutes from Paradise Malahide. Awesome fish brochettes here.

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This is me  laughing at the idea of returning to Kigali. Yes, I did not want to leave but until next time.
This is me laughing at the idea of returning to Kigali. Yes, I did not want to leave but until next time.