A hair-raising journey back to Kabale as expected. Sights en route: small children (3/4 years old), unaccompanied and carrying items back along the road (note to self – TractorBoy!); people breaking rocks along the wayside; cows and goats being herded; 2 men pushing a bicycle with a jerry can up the hill.
The matatu dropped us off at the Post Office. TheDrain enquired about Post Bus tickets. F and I went to Hot Loaf and bought supplies for the journey back again. Then off to find Amagara Café, where we came across the Irish girls again. They confirmed that the food was good, but took a while to arrive. They also said that they had used the internet. Looking into the Internet café, it appeared to be not too busy, but I wanted to get back to the hotel, so we walked back to the Post Office and supermarket, tried in vain to find a special hire, and so decided to trudge back up the hill to the White Horse Inn. Electricty was off in the hotel, so no chance to charge the camera (which was lasting very well despite the low battery display). After a change of clothes, we pottered back down the hill and into the Internet café which by this point, (as I should have expected) had a huge queue (argh! Frustrating!). So – we pottered around the African Crafts shop to see the sorts of things one can buy as souvenirs, then decided that we were really hungry and went back to Amagara to eat (having briefly considered the Little Ritz restaurant above Hot Loaf for a cup of tea). Still a queue for the internet so decided to just check as we finished our meal and otherwise leave it until Red Chilliies in Kampala. Most amusing menu in the Amagara Café – the ‘strapline’ for my ‘U.S. Burger’ read – ‘swallow your pride…’. Service was very slow but gave time to update diary and play ‘3s’ with F. Mooted going to the Sheraton in Kampala for a swim and a G+T on Sunday. Given the slowness of service, I decided to try the internet between dinner and pudding – it took half an hour to send one email via Gmail, but very good to have made contact.
Back at the White Horse Inn, DSTv was working, so I managed to see a little bit of the Italy-Portugal game in the Rugby World Cup. Channels kept switching though (perhaps controlled by reception). Went to bed at half seven and to sleep at half nine. Woke at about two/three o’clock thining that there was something nasty in my room and that F had recommended that we contact the Rwandan church to deal with that. Odd, really, as I wasn’t taking Lariam as an anti-malarial (although perhaps proof of why I should not). Woke again at about 4.45, so put the light on and waited until half five to get up. No hot water for a shower (must learn to take showers in the evening) so just packed up.
At 6.15am we left: Reception had left the sliding door slightly open to allow us to drop our keys back, but it was still very dark, so we used our torches to find our way to the gate, roused the gatekeeper (who was sleeping on three chairs, wrapped up in a coat and a blanket) who unlocked the padlock from the main gates to let us out. On the path exiting the White Horse (before we went down the hill to the Post Office) we suddenly heard footsteps behind us. Past us ran a youngish man – no lights, but wearing a fluorescent jacket. As we walked down the hill he ran back (up) past us.
We were the first people at the post office (6.30am) so sat down on the steps outside. A man in a uniform, with a rifle slung across his back arrived on his bicycle and said that we could get on the bus, so this time we managed to obtain a front seat (a wise decision, given the number of people we subsequently stopped to pick up – even before leaving Kabale there were people standing at the back).
Quite bemused that even in the mist, most Ugandan drivers do not seem to put their lights on. The reaction to oncoming traffic seems to be: flash the headlights, indicate right (to show where the edge of the vehicle is). 8.45am – almost every man on the bus gets off for a ‘short call’ as the local euphemism is. We’ve been going less than 2 hours!!!
Sights en route:
Obushera was the first PO stop, or perhaps Ntungama
We saw 20 people being herded towards the police station.
MTN slogan is ‘y’ello’ – which would explain why every fifth shop is painted bright yellow (an equal number are painted red for celnet).
Mbarara. We were offered socks, boiled eggs from street vendors as we sat on the bus.
Just past Mbarara. 11am, the bus was invaded by men with goat-on-a-stick. Small boy with 2 live, bound chickens. Chapatis, bananas (mgoya), iced water. Feeble and TheDrain buy bananas.
11.15am off track again.
11.45am Kyazanga – we pass a matatu with a windscreen visor proclaiming ‘Bin Laden’. Nice.
Just past one of the toll stops/weighing bridges, there were stalls offering tilapia (fish) – 2 on a string. It seems that the approach is to tie the fish to your radiator grill to avoid it making the vehicle smell inside (and presumably also lightly cooks the fish as you travel).
At 3.30pm we finally reached Kampala Post Office, having successfully bypassed the taxi park. A 5-10 minute walk down from the Post Office we found Nandos, or at least, the ice cream parlour next to it. The anticipated waffles and ice cream were not available, so we had cones and water and Krest Lemon, and then got a special hire back to Red Chillies. Feeble bartered the man down from 20,000 USh to 10,000Ush. Driver happily chatted away to Fi about her previous trips to Uganda (and thus understood why she wouldn’t accept paying 20k). Same cottage as before in Red Chillies, which was nice, but headed straight for the internet. Compared to the slow connection in Amagara Café, Red Chillies Internet access (free, and relatively fast) was a joy. Dinner was good. To bed about half-past eight, waking at about 4 (loud dogs, muezzin etc.). Got up at about 8am, having drifted in and out of sleep.