Kampala Nights

Posted 19 June, 2007 by janette in Kampala

There is too much life in the Kampala night for my western head to sleep. The dogs are taken with a midnight madness. The rooster starts up at 4am. Twenty feet away from our tent, a neighbor restarts a smokey fire at 5am. I begin to wonder if the reason everyone moves so slowly here is that they are chronically sleep deprived.

This might be a long trip.

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First day in Africa

Posted 18 June, 2007 by janette in Kampala

We wake to the sound of lunatic laughter. We assume it belongs to the troupe of vervet monkeys that roam the compound. Later, we find that it comes from a couple of birds the seem to specialize in primate call impressions.

Yesterday, we left a place that is grey, industrious, and often joyless. Today, we begin our 5 weeks in a place where life moves slowly, in technicolor.

Everything about our room is wonky: the mosquito nets are positioned awkwardly for the two tiny beds; the windows are too high to see out of; the door faces the bushes rather than the courtyard. Our $15/night buys us only jail cell chic, but in Kampala, there is no reason to stay indoors.

The streets are delightfully chaotic. A scooter zooms past with twenty chickens tied to its back; another one has pineapples strung across it like christmas lights. Larger, newer 4x4s honk smaller cars out of the way, and giant petrol tankers, in turn, clear them off the road. The are no painted lines, no sidewalks, and only 5 traffic lights in the whole of this capitol city. Bodas (scooters) offer a 700 schilling ride into the center of town, and Matatu conductors hang out of windows, calling out their destinations.

Nearly everyone stares at us, but they will return a smile. Shoe shine boys frown at Graham’s ridiculous shoes. They are amused at our insistence on walking everywhere and eating Ugandan food. They are even understanding when we are 100 shillings (about 5 cents) short for the “African plate,” featuring matoke with groundnut sauce, cassava, pumpkin, Ugali, chapati, Nakati, and stewed chicken.

This is Kampala, the pearl of Africa.

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Red Chili

Posted 17 June, 2007 by graham in Kampala, Uganda

We’re here! After possibly the most pleasant airport experience in in 6 years (City Airport is great), a lovely flight (KLM airline food is good), we arrived in Kampala.

We’re staying at the Red Chili Hideaway in Bugolobi, a 10 minute cab journey out of Kampala. It has a troupe of monkeys that live in the trees around the compound – some great photos on Janette’s Flickr.
There are also birds I haven’t seen before (some peccaries?), and four varieties of local beer.

As we’re in the suburbs the streets are tarmacked, but it’s hard packed dirt on either side, with lots of people walking. Lots of small motorcycles (pizza bikes in London), carrying insane amounts of chickens / plantains / wood / a car windshield / you name it.

The children all wave and say ‘goodbye’ as they pass, and everyone else seems very friendly.

There are lots of overlanders at the Red Chili: Oasis Overland, Africa Trails, and our Dragoman truck got there this morning. We start the trip on Monday.

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Welcome

Posted 12 May, 2007 by graham in Getting ready, Kampala

Welcome to our travelogue. We’ll be writing about where we are and what we’re doing. Our first stop is Kampala, Uganda, on the 15th of June.

The wedding site has moved to Graham and Janette’s wedding.

Check back soon !

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