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Friday, February 24, 2012

The Kampala Whirlwind

Waking up from a good night of rest, I can now reflect on my whirlwind trip to Kampala with my team-mate Jennifer.  Jennifer had to go down country to pick up a vehicle for her to take to the remote lands of Karamoja, and she needed someone to go with her.  I was able to finish up my other work and clear my calendar for a few days to join her on this road-trip south. 
Thursday morning I went to town and booked tickets for the overnight bus to Kampala.  I was handed a business card for a the bus' taxi van to come and pick up.  We called the taxi at 10 pm and the driver told us to call at 11 pm again to remind him of our location.  Shortly after 11 we called again and the driver said, "7 minutes".  How true he was!  He came honking on to our road, waking up many neighbours, I'm sure.  We loaded up and were delivered to the bus stop on Main Street in Soroti.  The bus was supposed to leave at 12 midnight, but it was closer to 1 am before we pulled out of town. 
I hardly slept at all on the bus, as every 45 minutes or so the bus pulled over to drop off or pick up more passengers... that meant all the lights went on and people were rearranged.  I also couldn't rest well because I was in the middle seat... being spooned by the man next to me... a man who had long legs and put them half way into my seat to spread out and I'm sure he was using me as a pillow.  So hot!  Also, my neck was paining from all the bobbing as I tried to sleep.  :)
We arrived in Kampala at 6:30 am, just before sunrise.  We walked a couple of blocks up the street to a store called Shoprite, and sat under a lamp post there to eat an apple and some muffins.  At 8 am the shop opened - we used the latrine and then called the mechanics to see if Jennifer's vehicle was ready.  Yes it was!
From the previous blog post... you can see that we rode Bodas (motorcycle taxis) out to the mechanics and spent the next few hours learning all sorts of fun things about the Land Cruiser.  Thankfully we had a GPS with us, because we needed it greatly to find our way around the city for the afternoon's activities.  We first went to a small shopping centre to get money from the ATM, but poor Jennifer's card was swallowed by the machine and the bank wouldn't give Jennifer back her card until the next day.  I pulled out money to cover the costs of a few things, we grabbed lunch to go from the grocery store and drove over to Cosmos. 
As Cosmos, I obtained a new rim for a spare tire that I need, and I was able to begin the paperwork to get a TIN (Tax Identification Number) and transfer the ownership of my Subaru into my name.  Right now it's under the name of one of my team-mates.  Once all the fees were paid, Jennifer and I sat at Cosmos (a car lot) and at our cold chicken and side salads. 
Then off to another larger store where we purchased an oven with four burners, and a few non-perishable food items for the team.  We were quickly running out of energy, so we plugged in the address for the Baptist Mission Guest House and headed over to Tankhill for a relaxing evening.  We arrived around 3:45 pm, showered, watched a movie on VHS, and ordered in pizza.  Wow, what a treat!  Believe it or not, we were sound asleep by 7:30 pm.
I slept a good 12 hours.... then woke up to go back to the bank where the ATM card was swallowed.  After showing her passport, Jennifer was given her card back.  Reason - it was bent.  :(  Then we grabbed a few more groceries for the team - this time - fresh fruits and veggies, bacon, hotdogs, and other treasures, and quickly stored the goodies in cooler bags before heading home.  Heading out of the city at 10:30 am we only had a few more stops to make.  We bought 7 palm trees at a roadside garden and had fun trying to lay down cardboard - to stop dirt from destroying the inside of the "new" vehicle. 
Pulling back into Soroti around 5:30 pm, we were glad when the Tiesenga's invited us over for dinner.  The last thing I wanted to think about was preparing something to eat.  We divided up every one's groceries, dropped them off, and then I went home to bed.  A great trip - with only a few glitches.

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