Friday, July 24, 2009

Kampala, Uganda

This isn't the best photo of this lady carrying kilos of fruit...I have been trying for days to catch women carrying as much as 50 kilos of bananas on their heads, sometimes with a baby strapped on their backs. Hard to snap a shot surreptiously. Hate to be too obvious or rude.
My friend, Eddie got in last night from Kigali, Rwanda. MY trip to get her at the airport was harrowing to say the least. My driver did not arrive. I called him to let him know traffic was terrible and he said he was on his way and would be there on time. Time came, no Mark. I called again. Not to worry. He is on his way and close. 15 minutes later he indicated he wouldn't make it and I should get another cab. Now, Eddie asked me to come greet her. There is nothing worse than coming into a new country, late at night, all alone. I told her I would be there. Enter, Roger.
Roger looks 14 but has a wife and four kids and is a cab driver. We join the throngs leaving Kampala for the weekend. People go home to see their families and anyone who can, leaves. It took us one hour to go about 10 miles. When we passed the jammed traffic, Roger found the gas peddle. Think Africans, in the middle of the night, no street lamps, fast driver, people crossing the street, riding bikes overloaded with bananas, people etc. I patted Roger's arm several times and told him I am 58 years old and want to see 59!!
The time passed and Eddie's plane was getting ready to land. Roger thought he could call the airport and see if there was a Speke Hotel rep there with the shuttle. I was taking a cab because I was told there was no Speke transportation. He persisted, found a lady there, we called her and she greeted Eddie's group when they passed customs with her name on a sign and then Alex, the Speke rep, let Eddie call me. So, we made it to the airport about 40 minutes late...but Eddie's plane was also late.
And then, Friday night is also shopping night. Along the Entebbe road leading into and out of town are thousands of small mom and pop stands, attracting lots more people, in the night. Parties, barbeques (eating was happening around small fires), drinking, music and all were out in the night having a ball. Wishing I could have seen it.
Eddie wanted a small snack so the cafe here which I had not tried, stayed open so we could have a drink and a bite to eat.

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