Monday, 17 April 2017

Five Bar Bonanza

L-R: Me, Celia, Michelle and Tracey

Girls on tour. The lovely ladies of the Maasai. Ceilia just got her photos in order and sent this. Think there are some more from the album, I'll raid it later.

Right. Let's get piano news out of the way first.

The past week has been utterly gruelling. Gaston came back with the video and I put it up on Indiegogo. It's been one week now and we're 15% funded, but wow - what a week. I had no idea how hard a crowdfunder is. It's 24/7 social media deployment. My fingers are seizing up from typing so many 'please can you...' e-mails.

So, please, please can you share the Indiegogo campaign with as many people as you can reach:

Seriously grateful for any assistance getting the word out. I'm even offering free piano tuning in Kigali for people willing to help me raise contributions.

There's also a Facebook page and Twitter feed.

On a similar note (ho, ho), I undertook some major maintenance this week. A little while back I was called out to the Korean church in Kinyinya. Somehow, their pianist had managed to cut five bass strings! No idea how that happened. I helped them identify what they needed to order, and it came through. So, two hours of fairly sweat-drenched restringing. All looking good now. Going back to do a proper tuning once the new strings have settled.

It was a real workout. Pianos are very physically demanding. But it was a lot of laughs.

What else has been going on? Well, I walked into a bookstore to find myself on display. Was totally thrilled. Massive thank you to Haepi Bookstore. They rock. I thought about signing them, but chickened out. I'll go back in the week and pluck up the courage.

Unfortunately, no more writing has been done for about a month. My laptop's hard drive melted after only four months. I took it back to the shop which sold it to me along with a one-year warranty. The place has the HP logo all over it, and on the website. They're apparently an official partner (which I've since learnt means bugger all in terms of customer protection).

It went from the bizarre to the ridiculous. After trying to tell me a warranty meant I had to pay for parts, the manager resorted to communicating in emojis:

He insisted on calling me 'young lady' (that's sweet, I'm really not), told me not to contact him again, then threatened me after I mentioned it on a local expat forum, telling me to 'be careful' and saying he was going to report me.

A total and complete weirdo.

His technician called once to tell me he wasn't sure how much it was going to cost, but he'd let me know. When I pressed further, he hung up. I called five times over a fortnight, and sent two SMS - no response.

Eventually HP had to launch an official investigation. I got the laptop back - it was still at the store. Hadn't been touched. Took it to the official HP servicer. They were much better and fixed the problem without charging me or threatening me - or even calling me 'young lady'. Gone straight to the top of my customer service list.


Anyway, after all of that, and the crowdfunder, I haven't had the energy to transfer everything onto my revitalised laptop, so I'm still using my old one with a clunky USB keyboard. I can manage e-mails, but a novel is improbable. I'll eventually get set up again and resume writing.

Meanwhile, my cats have full use of the writing desk.

Talking of which, I tried out that thing from Instagram. Y'know, if you tape a square to the floor, cats apparently get in it, like a box. There's loads of pictures of cats sitting in tape squares. Not mine...

In between all the chaos and mayhem, there has been time for a little relaxation. Beautiful blue skies and a healthy breakfast at Inzora.

I hadn't had a drink in almost a fortnight. The girls went off to Dubai, and I've been so focused on the piano idea. Did a lot of making up for that last night. Maia invited me over for a beer at her bar. It was really quiet as it was Easter Sunday and everyone was probably too full of chocolate. We decided to go for a walk.

We found a nice little bar down a backstreet and decided to stop for a beer. It didn't have a name, but the lighting was pretty.

We kept walking and found the road that runs behind the library. Kigali can be extremely confusing in that it's one big crown of buildings on top of several hills, so there are many different ways to get to the same place, and you're never sure quite which direction you're going in. To this moment I'm not sure quite how we walked one way and ended up over there. But we found another local bar and decided to stop for a drink

Unfortunately, we could only have one there because - toilet. Sanitation can be a little hit and miss. In this case, someone had definitely missed. There was a big poo on the toilet seat. But a little further down the road, there was another nice, nameless, bar. So we decided to stop for brochettes... and beer.

We took one drunken selfie that came out so badly we couldn't stop laughing. Luckily, this place had a decent toilet. We continued along the road, freaked ourselves out looking at a ghostly restaurant turned empty flat, and an abandoned building site - spooky. Then ended up at the top of the road leading home. Just across that road was another bar. What could we do?

It was a tiny little place, barely room for ten people, but we were made to feel welcome, and the fairy lights were pretty. Downed our last drink of the night and wandered our way sleepily down the hill.

Felt a bit like this in the morning:

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