Not Just Your Attitude, It's Also About Your Altitude

Four Thousand Nine Hundred and Eleven Feet Up. That’s where Kigali is at. Each and every one makes a huge difference, especially when you’re just a few degrees south of the equator. Daytime temps rarely get much over 80 degrees or so, going down to low 60s at night, with little or no excess humidity — it’s just plain “nice.” There’s almost always a breeze blowing, and the air has that crisp, clear high-altitude feel that makes it entirely likeable. Now contrast that with a similar lat/long closer to sea level (like Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania or pretty much anywhere in the D.R. Congo), and you’re looking at 100 degree plus temps around the clock with 80+ percent humidity. Completely impossible to function under those conditions.

It’s actually almost shockingly dry here — we’ve had rain exactly once for an hour or so in the past six days, and the dirt roads are covered in the fine, red dust that reminds me so much of Western Tanzania. The rainy season supposedly hits at the end of August — judging by the size of the culverts and drain holes in the retaining walls, there’s going to be some serious water coming down.

Let me put it this way: the other night we were at a local restaurant right around nightfall (six o’clock sharp every day of the year, sunset takes less than ten minutes — you gotta love the consistency of the tropics), and shortly afterwards, the waiter came around with fleece blankets for the dinner guests — and within twenty minutes, they were sorely needed by those of us in t-shirts.

Haven’t had a chance to try exercising at this altitude, but can’t wait to get on a bike next week and see how it feels to ride the trails around town.