Into Africa! Our first night in Zimbabwe was an ascent to the “Eastern Highlands,” a town called Mutare. Mist-covered hills dense with the broad leaves of tropical plants, and speckled with thatch-roofed huts. Dark thunderclouds kept rolling in and out, sharing the sky with fluffy clouds and bright sunlight, and we saw at least 3 or 4 rainbows.
Now, we are “dressing for dinner” at our hotel, an old colonial home nestled into a hillside whose dining room overlooks the pool and the misty hills outside. The Inn On The Bvumba. It is old, maybe even British Colonial-era old, but it is charming!
The charm and beautiful grounds make up for some of the oldness, which unfortunately manifested itself most noticeably in the dining room. Wow, the British have really had bad food forever! Although the setting was lovely and romantically lit with candles (Jake and Eli liked that), for $60 I should think they would know how to make a bowl of soup or, if they insist on creaming leeks, cream them well. The stale toast was a nice British touch, as was the strange pudding thing for dessert. But we’re not complaining because we’re not really surprised anymore. It is always assumed that ex-pats want to eat “their” food, so it’s impossible to avoid these insipid, bland meals at the all-inclusive hotels, which is the only way that travel is done in this part of the world. Where’s the nshima? Where’s the collard greens and stewed chicken? There are no restaurants, because local people don’t go out to eat, and hotels don’t make local food for the ex-pats. I guess it’s convenient but it’s sort of boring, and you have no choice but to pay for it.
The good news is that we always have treats in our room. Thanks, George! (aka, Keyboard Cat). These along with our rum and cokes make any meal delicious :).
Despite the bad food, the hotel staff was lovely and kind, and we would definitely come back. There is something to be said for charm, after all, and there are stories in these walls that we feel honored to be a part of.