out where dreams come true
Fun things in and around Kampala:
- Last night I was on a boda-boda (motorbike taxi) going to dinner and I started seeing these huge birds everywhere. It turns out that they are cranes, and some of them are taller than me. A little disconcerting. The crane is the mascot of Uganda's national soccer team.
- Speaking of soccer, the Africa Cup is in full swing here. You pass by any restaurant or bar here and people are pressed up against the glass/fence, watching the televisions inside and cheering for their teams.
- The place I ate at last night, Mamma Mia, has really good pizza. They also had children's pizzas that you could get in the shape of a lion, rhino, bul, fish, hippo, or lots of other animals. On the grownup menu, you could order about 40 different pizzas, including the "Clinton since 1998" (wurstel and ham) and the "Hillary since 1998" (pineapple, carrots, and sweet corn). I stuck with cheese.
- The Happiness Hotel in Kigali is completely booked! I am so bummed about not getting to stay at this crazy guesthouse near the Presbyterian mission. Last time I was there, there were Belgian psychoanalysts, off-shoot Mormon missionaries, and a busload of Japanese tourists.
- Kampala has a growing middle class that, like most middle classes, is obsessed with frivoloty. Today in the paper's style section, there were all kinds of columns about dating and redecorating your kitchen, which seems normal to us but is really strange to find in countries wiht high poverty rates. The funny thing about all the advice columns, though, is that unlike at home, here they're primarily aimed at men. It's all about, like, "How do I get my girl to understand that football is important?" and such.
- One very interesting thing to see here is the actual, day-to-day effects of Uganda's anti-HIV/AIDS campaign. Uganda is the only country in Africa with a declining infection rate, thanks primarily to the president and first lady's decision ten years ago to promote the ABC campaign - Abstain, Be faithful, use a Condom. People talk about it everywhere - it's on the radio, on billboards, in the paper, and on t-shirts. And that seems to be the trick - dealing with the issue head-on has resulted in some success in fighting the disease.
- The radio station everyone listens to here (in taxis, in the internet cafe) is like all-Delilah, all-the-time. I am having a hard time maintaining my composure when I hop into a taxi to the strains of "Somewhere Out There."
- My hotel, however, pumps sports talk radio into the hallways 24 hours a day. Awesome. I can't tell you how glad I am not to have to wonder about the results of motocross racing in Moldova before going to sleep at night.
- I can't believe Andrae is out on Project Runway. Did he weep like a little girl? How can Kara still be in?