Waking up in Paradise then back to Kigali

by Paul

So I spent the night last night (and thus awoke) in the Paradise Malahide Hotel located near downtown Gisenyi on the shores of Lake Kivu.  I was in this great little bungalow where I fell asleep listening to the “waves” crash on the beach and woke up to the sounds of birds.  I had an excellent breakfast on their back patio (a patio not of cement but of volcanic rock) overlooking Lake Kivu.  I walked around a bit taking more pictures and then settled down onto one of their beach lounge chairs to read and just enjoy the scenery.

Breakfast view
Breakfast view
My bungalow
My bungalow

The beach

The beach
The view from the lounge chair
The view from the lounge chair

After a very relaxing morning, Emmy picked me up and we started our way back to Kigali.  But first we drove through the brewery that is in Gisenyi (where Primus, Mutzig, a few import beers, coke, and fanta are made/bottled) and over to a hot spring that is nearby.  We also drove up to La Serena Lake Kivu, which is the sister hotel to La Serena in Kigali (the nicest hotel in the country, as far as I know).  They let us inside to take a walk around and take a few pictures.  While we were there a huge storm rolled through, which caught us outside for just a second, but then we were able to watch it peacefully under protection.  Just before it let up, we headed out again and by the DRC/Rwanda border, which to my surprise was very open and not heavily militarized.  Apparently, here near Goma, there is fairly open and often travel back and forth between the two countries (but go about 300 km into the DRC and it is a very different story).

After those quick detours we worked our way back towards Kigali.  We made a few stops along the way to take pictures and once to pick up some supplies.  We, of course, stopped at the “obligatory stop” to get some goat brochette and fire roasted potatoes again.  🙂

This country is very beautiful, even in the rain…

Truly the land of 1000 hills
Truly the land of 1000 hills

On the drive back, Emmy remembered that there was a huge football (soccer) game tonight between the number 1 and number 2 teams in the country.  Not  5 minutes after turning the game on via the radio, the number 2 team (the peoples team – the number 1 team is from Rwanda’s army) scored a goal and pulled ahead 2 to 1.  To which Emmy exclaimed “Oh no, Nyamirambo is going to exploded…I don’t think you are going to get much sleep tonight”.  Sure enough, when we got back to the apartment there were people lining the streets outside any establishment that had a TV (and thus had the game on).  Not long after I was settled in, we started hearing yelling and cheering, clearly indicating that the people’s team had won.  We walked out to the main street to see crowds of people running down the street wearing blue and white, waving flags of blue and white, and some making an incredible racket with these blue plastic horns.  Mototaxis, buses, and cars were streaming by, honking their horns and carrying ecstatic fans.  Every once in a while you would see and fan sporting the colors of the former number one team, black and white.  Impressively while they were clearly sad, they were not mean spirited about it and no one (absolutely no one) was giving them a hard time.  It was a very exuberant, but impressively peaceful celebration.  Even still, I wouldn’t want to be working in the hospital tonight.

Some of the oh so happy fans
Some of the oh so happy fans

Here’s hoping Emmy’s prediction is wrong and I am able to get at least some sleep tonight…I may have to breakdown and use those earplugs Marcel gave me at the beginning of the trip.

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