10/11 No Matopos for You
Bulawayo is a big, ugly, decaying city made up of a mix of colonial buildings and Soviet era concrete architecture. Our reason for being here was to visit the Matobo National Park (Matopos), which is a Unesco World Heritage site made of a game park and a recreational park. It's about 25 miles south of Bulawayo and was our destination for the day. Most notably for us, it is the burial place of Cecil John Rhodes, an important colonial businessman that my father claims some relation to. It's also the home to some of the last white rhinos in the wild. Before heading there, we stopped in town to find a working ATM and a grocery store. I eventually found the only working ATM while Re picked up lunch.
Tasks accomplished, we turned our bikes south for Matopos. The 25 miles or so passed quickly, through an interesting landscape full of large, granite boulders. We pulled up to the gate, hopped off the bikes, and walked to the office to purchase our entry tickets for the park. The guard, who was busy texting on his phone, only looked up after we asked how much it was, and he informed us, “no motorcycles in the park,” and went back to texting. When we asked why, he simply replied, “animals.” Re assured him that we promised not to get eaten, but he never looked back up. It would have been nice if the motorcycle ban had been mentioned anywhere in the literature we consulted, but no.
Discouraged, we rode back to Bulawayo and our crappy guesthouse. Since it was after 10am, we wouldn't have been able to make it all the way to Harare today, so we decided to make the best of it in Bulawayo. After a brunch of more apples, peanut butter, and crackers, we sat on the bed and caught up on ride reports and blog posts. In the middle of the afternoon, we walked into town, found a local internet cafe, and posted our work. Walking back to the guesthouse, we stopped at Mr Chips for dinner. Five USD procured us two orders of greasy chips and three large “Russians,” (a sausage sort of like kielbasa). We then stopped at the grocery store for fruit, a rock bun (which lived up to its name), and some Castle milk stouts to round out the “Dinner of Champions.” We arrived back at our guesthouse and found Sue, the Australian we met in Vic Falls, and that the power was out. With assurances that the power would be back on by 9 (am or pm, the grumpy lady at reception didn't say), we sat on the bed and enjoyed a candlelight dinner. Shortly after we ingested more than our recommended daily allowance of grease and stout, the power came on in time for us to go to bed.
51 pointless miles.