Sunday, August 9, 2009
Beautiful bougainvillea surrounded us as we entered Paradise (hotel on the shore of Lake Kivu) this weekend. It had the best customer service of anyplace I have visited in Rwanda and the Mucho, the owner/manager set the perfect tone for his staff.
It was a very peaceful spot a short distance from Goma. The contrasts between the two are immense. One is a small sleepy town and the other is a center of commerce; one is beautiful and the other is still recovering from the volcanic eruption and everything is covered in black lava dust; one has a few policemen and the other has armed troops from the UN and the DR of Congo to fight rebels. You get the picture and why the State Department warns against going to Goma but Hillary Clinton will be there on Tuesday to meet with the President of the DR of Congo.
I spent time reading in my little hut on the beach, and watched native dancers around the fire pit on Saturday evening. It was a very relaxing spot and I am glad I had a chance to visit before I left Rwanda.
Getting there and back was another story; I rode the bus because my car had problems and the owner had them fixed over the weekend. Yes, you heard correctly that I took a bus willingly! After taking my motion sickness meds, I met my friend at the bus terminal and sat in a single seat by the window, all was well until we made the second stop in Kigali when all seats were needed so they had these pull down seats for the aisle. We lucked out and had one of the 10 overweight people in Rwanda sit between Hillary and I. Needless to say we were very uncomfortable because she was double the size of the space which meant the three hours seemed like an eternity. That is why the peaceful open space of Paradise was so welcomed.
The trip home was not as bad but as I was getting ready for the fashion show I received a frantic call for the young women hosting the event and 45 minutes before it started she said she would have to postpone it because they did not have the proper permits…only in Africa!