"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

2.04.2006

goona take some time to do some things we never had

Well, after three days on a plane and spending most of the last twenty-four hours sleeping off the trip, I've finally found a decent internet cafe here in Kampala. Here's an update on my trip thus far:

We arrived Friday morning around 7:55 (due to the flight taking off an hour late from Heathrow because of de-icing, which seems really crazy now that I'm in 85 degree equatorial heat). I had a window seat and it was really one of the prettiest descents I've ever seen. Uganda has lots of mountains and hills that run right up to the edge of Lake Victoria, and yesterday morning, the sun was rising over the mist on those hills and reflecting off the lake. It was lovely. Then we arrived at Entebbe, 40 miles from Kampala and the site of a terrible hijacking a few decades back. It's right on the edge of Lake Victoria, which is the second-largest lake in the world. I'd seen Lake Victoria from a gulf in Kenya before, but the view from Entebbe is really spectacular - it's a lot more like an ocean than a lake. Really lovely. I'll be back there to raft the source of the Nile before it's over and will try to post pictures then.

Anyway, my hotel shuttle was right there to pick me up and my driver was fun to talk to. He pointed out all the sites and told me about what's going on in town. Since then, I've been picking up a few last-minute things and sleeping a lot. It's getting to the point where every African capital feels like every other African capital, but Kampala is really pretty and they've got everything you need. (Seriously. I saw Pantene in the grocery store today.) It's really hot and really beautiful with the hills and lots of gardens in the midst of the general chaos of every African city. East African schools run on a February-December calendar, with the equivalent of our summer vacation from December to now, so everyone's busy getting ready for the start of a new school year on Monday. I went to a bookstore today that was packed with parents buying books and school supplies for their kids. The uniform stores looked busy, too.

It's also election season, so there are posters and signs and radio ads for candidates everywhere. We were behind a bus with an ad on its window yesterday (see the picture at right) and it took me forever to figure out that M7 stands for Museveni, the current president of Uganda. Uganda has a difficult political history. It's interesting that a lot of people don't believe the elections will be free and fair, but they're all more than happy to say so without fear of persecution.

My plan for tomorrow (Sunday) is just to relax and get ready for the long ride to Kigali on Monday, before going on to the Congo on Wednesday or Thursday. I'd appreciate your prayers for safe travel and not-too-crowded buses.

In other news, can you believe Lance and Sheryl broke up? It must be important if it's the headline in the Statesman. Far more important is this article, in which Suzii will remind you that the gambling interests in Texas are always trying the same old thing, every session.

1 Comments:

Blogger Ray said...

Hello there! Glad you had a safe flight and I'll keep you in my prayers and thoughts. Also, thanks for the update on the Lance-Sheryl split. I am sad. I thought they would make it! :-(

A.

Saturday, February 04, 2006 10:38:00 PM

 

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