On Thursday afternoon we headed to the Ruzizi River to look for hippos! Now, I am not really a hippo-type of person, but it's always fun to watch everyone else who is! I grew up practically in the backyard of the San Diego Wild Animal Park and went there a million times growing up. And I never became a huge fan of wild animals. (Or non-wild animals). But I really loved the park itself. Crazy, I know.
There was a garrison of soldiers stationed at the bridge (Congo is not too far from here). One of them happily accompanied us down to the river banks, armed with his AK47. He pointed toward a big island in the river. We watched as the island suddenly broke apart and became a bunch of swimming and floating hippos. Quite a sight to see. I have heard that hippos can run 40 miles per hour and I’m pretty sure that I can run about 1 mile per hour, probably a little faster if there’s a hippo chasing me, so I kept inching away from the shore, hoping I wouldn’t back into a sneaky crocodile in the bush. When everyone had their fill of hippo thrills, we paid our guide, piled back into the van and headed to dinner.
The Ubuntu Residence serves our favorite pizza in the world. It’s a wood-fired, thin-crust, with delicious cheese, organic veggies and salami. It’s absolutely divine. And the setting is beautiful and relaxing. Except for the mosquitoes. The restaurant grounds are green and lush. Our table was under a giant coconut tree. There were crown cranes roaming around. Lake Tanganyika was just beyond the stucco wall around the property. So beautiful and almost un-real to be sitting in Bujumbura, eating pizza, drinking Fanta, watching the sunset, occasionally shining your mag lite into the waves, hoping to spot hippos.