Harare

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The cap­i­tal city of Zim­babwe is es­sen­tially di­vided into ar­eas of wealth. In the poor­est parts, water and elec­tric­ity are scarcely avail­able. In the wealth­ier ar­eas, their avail­abil­ity re­mains tem­per­a­men­tal. Gen­er­a­tors will plug any gaps in mu­se­ums or ho­tels, how­ever. Sit­u­ated close to the Pres­i­den­tial Res­i­dence, an ex­ec­u­tive suite for two at the Bronte Ho­tel will cost $275, per night. The rel­a­tively sim­ple rooms have all the ba­sic ameni­ties you would ex­pect. It is a won­der­ful base from which to see Harare. We spent an af­ter­noon in the botan­i­cal gar­dens es­tab­lished by colo­nial set­tlers, which has a fas­ci­nat­ing mix of exotic plants from around the world. Help­fully, my brother and I were tour­ing Zim­babwe with a na­tive Zim­bab­wean friend. In the evening, we took a taxi to his fa­vorite bar in town, Pariah State. I im­me­di­ately added the lo­cal Zam­bezi Lager to my men­tal list of best beers. The crowd at this bar was a mix of lo­cals and for­eign diplo­matic at­tachés. The so­cial side of Harare seemed very tight-knit, but lively. The peo­ple were in­ter­ested in our sto­ries, and less afraid to talk about pol­i­tics than I had imag­ined. Ev­ery­one is aware of the huge is­sues fac­ing Zim­babwe, and much of the fric­tion seems to come from dif­fer­ing opin­ions on what is best for the coun­try.

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