Hotel Des Mille Collines & ‘Mancini City’!
September 25, 2010

Officially, Umuganda finishes at 11.00am on the last Saturday of each month but it seems like a lot of businesses don’t think it’s worth opening for the afternoon only. Unfortunately I drew a blank at both Volcanoes Safaris and Primate Safaris, so will have to try again next time I’m in Kigali.

Volcanoes Safaris travel agency is based at the Hotel Des Mille Collines which has gained international recognition as the subject of the Hollywood blockbuster Hotel Rwanda. However the movie was actually filmed on location in Uganda!

The hotel is a Kigali institution and following recent refurbishment it is now very firmly in the up-market establishment category. I popped in to give it the once over and as I’d had no breakfast ordered a croque monsieur and a flask of coffee.

The croque was in fact a ham toastie topped with a Kraft cheese slice (or similar) but it came with frites and salad which filled a whole. Given that Rwanda is a coffee producing nation the standard café fare is often disappointing but today it was okay.

The hotel is only a five-minute hike up hill from Nakumatt, very close to the city centre and although a typical ‘70s looking box like design it is set in pleasant grounds and has a large pool. I sat in the pool side bar surrounded by Americans, French, Belgians and Brits and have to say I only saw four black guests and they were in mixed groups!

On the way back I browsed in a couple of craft shops that had bothered to open and picked up a largish carved wooden giraffe to add to my African collection. Hopefully  it won’t look too tacky when I get it home!

I arrived back at the Isimbi to find Mancini City v Chelsea was being shown live in the bar. Just what the doctored ordered. I settled down with a bottle of Mutzig and my packet of cashew nuts and watched the game with a handful of locals.

Carlos Tevez won the game with a well taken goal to seal Chelsea’s first defeat of the season. I have a passing interest in Roberto Mancini, the City manager, through an Italian friend, Renata, who Chris happens to be visiting in Jesi this weekend.

Renata went to school with Mancini in Jesi and his parents still live there. She summed him up as being a good footballer but very conceited and not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Her final comment was confirmed when I saw, this afternoon, that he now has David Platt sitting on the City bench as one of his backroom staff.

All Nottingham Forest fans will know that Platty was single-handedly responsible for a rapid decline, from which we still haven’t quite recovered, by squandering a reasonably healthy transfer budget on ageing Italians who never cut the mustard in English Championship. 

He’s also ‘fondly’ remembered for adopting a brand of football that was total anathema to Forest purists!

Forest v Swansea is under way as I’m posting this and surely we must pick up three points today!

23.30: Just back from the Indian meal, at Zaaffrans, to find Forest muted the Swans with a convincing 3-1 win and Glaws took the sting out of Wasps with a 22-20 victory – a double whammy!