Sunday, January 17, 2010

Friday Night in Kigali

Its now Sunday and I am in a new Internet Cafe with the highest speed connection I have found so far, using my own laptop plugged into their network.
This is a post about Friday night which I wrote yesterday but could not put on the net until now:

Even after only a three day work week in Kigali, Greg (the R2 anesthesia resident from Winnipeg who joined me for this trip) and I felt the need for a good break.

Friday after work we went to a café and checked our emails, then wandered to the Hotel de Milles Collines. This is the famous "Hotel Rwanda" where many Rwandans hid during the genocide, although the movie version was set in South Africa and used a different hotel. (The Rwandans were not happy about this, saying that Rwanda is much prettier than South Africa.)

For 500 Rwandan Francs (about $8) they will let you use their pool. They provide a beach towel and a change room. The pool is surrounded by tropical vegetation, with a view across the valley to the suburbs of Kigali. The water seemed cool at first but is very refreshing and you get used to the temperature. This pool was the water source for many Rwandans during the genocide, and it saved many lives!

Refreshed, we walked three blocks downhill to the Heaven Restaurant, a highly-touted place ("The best food in Africa" according to one contributor to Trip Advisor). As we walked across the parking lot, the security guard said "Welcome to Heaven". We were blown away by the place: a large open area, with nicely set tables, spot lighting, a large veranda and views as the sun set over the city.

We ate excellent barbecued chicken and tilapia (fish) tacos, downed with Mutzig beer, followed by a brownie and cinnamon ice cream. Spent most of the evening there, watching the fuss as the American Ambassador to Rwanda arrived with his family for dinner. Amazingly, there were no mosquitoes, and as it got dark it was pleasantly cool. The bill came to about $30 each. We took a cab home and were pleasantly surprised to find someone had set up our TV to get cable so we watched a soccer match.

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