23. GORILLA MOTEL SOCCER FINAL
As described in the introduction DESTINY DESTINATION RWANDA it seems I was fated to travel to Rwanda and it also seems that soccer would be a connecting thread. Afterall, it had been while watching my twelve-year-old son's soccer game, twelve years ago, that I had first heard about the genocide in Rwanda over the car radio. See RWANDA'S GOOD MAN KAGAME.
And then it turns out that Rwanda is a soccer-mad country, and its president plays soccer himself and even sponsors the national soccer team, and it was these facts that persuaded my husband, a soccer-mad Englishman, that Rwanda would be a fun place to visit. See 1. RWANDA ARRIVAL.
And it also came to pass that much of our enjoyment, while in Rwanda, was giving away soccer-balls to the children, all of whom love soccer. See 4. SOCCER BALL GIVE-AWAY PLAN.
The only down-side of our arrival in Rwanda was that it was on the very same day - July 1st - that England got eliminated in a game against Portugal. Bob watched the game on television that night in our hotel room and was very disappointed. But, with that ever-stiff British upper-lip (over the lower trembling one) he wore his English Soccer Shirt the next day when we went out and about on our first day in Kigali. And actually, he got a lot of "high fives" from the Rwandans who had also been supporting England and who could sympathize with his dejection.
So it was actually very appropriate that on the eve of the day we would be fulfilling one of our other much-anticipated excitements in Rwanda - seeing the gorillas - the World Cup Final soccer game was being played, and Bob would be able to watch it in the company of Rwandans.
On Sunday, the day after our visit to the Murambi Genocide Memorial, we checked out of our Kigali hotel and drove to the city of Ruhengeri - in the northwest part of the country - at the foothills of the Virunga Volcanic Mountains where the gorillas live. A friend had very kindly lent us his very comfortable SUV vehicle and driver for our use until we left the country.
Once again, the scenery is indescribable, and over the 100 kilometre drive we spent all our time gazing out the window at the people and places we were passing.
The above photo is of the approach into Ruhengeri which is around that next hill. The photo below is of the main street or Ruhengeri.
I'm modelling the new outfit I'd just bought at an outdoor market. The Rwandan lady approaching me gave me an approving look. All I needed now was a scarf for my hair. Next we found a motel to stay for the night as we had an early morning appointment to visit the gorillas, wake-up time would be 6am to be at the foot of the volcanoes for 7am.
We liked the motel's sign which depicts five volcanoes and their names, and a pair of welcoming gorillas. Our room was very quaint - with a separate sitting room with couch, coffee-table and chair, divided by a curtain to the bedroom. It was the last one at the end of that building, where a man can be seen standing, having kindly carried our luggage for us. After unpacking we went to the dining room for dinner.
In the first photo above I'm sitting at our table watching Bob across the room where he's standing in front of the doorway leading into the bar and lounge where he'll be watching the final World Cup Soccer game which is about to commence. Notice he's wearing the Soccer Shirt of his Home-Team - England - who had, regrettably, been knocked out in a previous round. Notice that above me there's a picture of gorillas, as we were very much in gorilla country. The tables next to us soon filled up with people on a large tour who would also be visiting the gorillas tomorrow.
After dinner Bob and our driver settled in to watch the Italians and French bash it out, on the television screen in the corner. Notice the green wall mural on the left depicting, again, five volcanoes and their names.
I went back to the motel room - being an early-to-bed and early-to-rise person - and climbed into bed. But no sooner had I closed my eyes when I heard a lone mosquito buzzing. This was the first, and last, mosquito I saw or heard on our entire Rwanda trip but it gave me an excuse to use the mosquito net - something I had never experienced before.
Notice that above the bed is, you guessed it, a picture of gorillas. I went to sleep with visions of them dancing in my head, interrupted only by the occasional loud cheers coming from the lounge of the motel. I was sound asleep when Bob came back who-knows-when and woke me up by the flash of the camera as he took a picture of me under the net.
go next to 24. RWANDA'S RARE GORILLAS or back to index at DESTINY DESTINATION RWANDA
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