Today is my second visit to Bourbon, the hip ex-pat hangout in downtown Kigali. The menu hasn’t changed, and to my wallet’s delight, neither have the prices. It’s like a more mature Starbucks that serves incredible food at reasonable prices. I’ve heard that the staff here doesn’t know why Westerners expect that liquor is served at Bourbon, but a narrow familiarly-styled sign hangs near the entrance and bears the name of the most famous street in New Orleans.
Although I am embarrassed to like this place so much, I can’t help but crave the African tea (chai) here. I order it again today, even though I feel too hot in a long chamois dress. The tea is served with a shortbread cookie and many packets of Rwandan sugar, which is unprocessed like Sugar in the Raw. I always order a small pot, but just now the waiter has brought a large pot. I wonder if it is because I rolled my eyes at the waiter after watching a grouchy old white man disrespect him. Sorry, I wanted to say; he was being incredibly rude. At any rate, I wonder if my bill will reflect the small or large pot.
As for the food, it’s really good. But after eating almost nothing but Rwandan food for the last two weeks, the sandwiches and fries are way too heavy. So today I’m having Bourbon’s tomato soup, which is prepared in the French way.
And now a group of Western young women passes my table, telling the server accompanying them that now they are getting frustrated. They probably have been waiting for a table, but that process is different here. You just take a table when it opens up. If there are not enough chairs, you pull in those from adjacent tables. Now one of the girls is walking all over, trying to hail a server. Wrong time for initiative: they’ll come. Really.
Roll with it, people!
Oh—and if you are in the Washington, DC area, visit Bourbon Coffee stateside. I wonder if it’s also an expat hangout, but for Rwandans—an interesting shift.
The joke is on me. I’ve been sitting and sipping tea as I write and wait for my soup, which has yet to appear. The couple sitting at the table next to me has come and gone. What to do but smile, wait a bit more, and be grateful I have the luxury of time.
Half an hour later though, as my laptop battery declines to less than 10%, I give up and ask for my check. He has charged me for the small pot.