Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Living Proof

Living Proof

Charles Fort spent much of his life researching the idea that everything is connected and that coincidences happen for a reason. Well, Kelis was once in a trio with the acronym BLU (Black Ladies United).
Calder, Petra, coincidence? What would Charles Fort think?

Monday, October 26, 2009


Hopefully you are aware that Africa's top trio of women performers, the amazing BLU 3, launched their new album, Be Free, last Friday night at KCC Ground, Kampala. Hopefully you were there. If not, you really missed out. My beautiful friends did not let down the audience with their bar-raising show. BLU 3 were not nominated for the MTV Africa Music Award for Best Live Performance for nothing. These women are FABULOUS and know how to command a stage and work an audience. Not to mention, the the voices of Lilian and Jackie are as lovely as the women who possess them. The show on the whole was great. I've been to a live show or two in my time, and I don't remember ever having as much fun as I did at BLU 3's show last Friday. Besides the girls, the other acts, especially Nameless, Navio and GNL , were full of energy and gave fantastic performances. These three guys earned at least one new fan in me.

Now, if I were Gossip Girl, you'd all have received a message like this the night of the show:

Spotted, Juliana K snatching chairs at a VIP table where the occupants didn't even recognise her. Refusing to accept that this was not her night, she exercised her divatude, refusing to give up her and her escorts' seats to the rightful patrons. While her flame might not be burning so bright these days, it's not completely extinguished. Homegirl remained cool as a cucumber, pretending anyone telling her what she didn't want to hear didn't exist and got management to set her up a personal table up front. Love her or hate her, that's a real diva.


A few last words about the show: DJ Benny D sucked and was a waste of time. Not. Entertaining.

Friday, October 23, 2009

When You Least Expect It...

When You Least Expect It...

Seeing this flier at the cash register at the coffee shop this morning (maybe I'm too polite, but I just think there are more appropriate places to advertise the removal of impacted faeces than a place where people are having breakfast) triggered memories of that episode of Will & Grace when Jack has to give the speech at his nursing school graduation after being voted most popular student nurse. Karen wants to take him out for manis and pedis, gentlemen's facials, and when you least expect it... a colonic. They, too, had that discussion over breakfast.

If you're not quite sure what a colonic is, you can follow this link. The flier includes a list of maladies that a colonic can be used as a treatment against. I love how they chose to list first: bad breath. I know that many parts of the body are neurologically connected in ways that I cannot even begin to understand, so it does not surprise me that removing wastes from the bowel can also be claimed to be a way to prevent memory loss. But really?

Some other health benefits according to the flier:
  • Enjoyment of the highest levels of energy day after day.
  • Supple, younger-looking skin.
  • You will never get bored with exercise.
  • And you will learn to enjoy healthy foods.
Amazing. All that from having your colon cleansed with warm water?

Well, Godz Health is the place in Bukasa that brings elegance, simplicity and dignity to internal hygiene. They clean by appointment only, so book today at godzhealth@gmail.com. Phone: 0776119787, 0701119787, 0756119878. Let me know what you think after.

It compares to having a spectacular bowel movement accompanied by a feeling of deep satisfaction...........!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Run for [it]!

Run for [it]!

And we all know what [it] is, right? If you're not sure, well neither am I. But that is the theme for this year's MTN Kampala Marathon that will take place on the 22nd November. I'm registered for the full 42 km marathon. (What was I thinking?)

Training has not been so bad this time around; in fact, I'm quite enjoying it. I was pretty sick of running at this stage of training two years ago, before my first marathon. I guess I know what to expect, physically and mentally, and that makes training easier because I've done it all before. Ironically, it was remembering the time, exhaustion and discomfort of training 2007 that made it difficult for me to commit to this year's marathon.

Oh, and speaking of the marathon and all the training (about 20 weeks I'd say) that is required for the average human being that does not possess any super-human genes, MTN, the organiser, finally got around to promoting the event and announcing the new route. And in the announcement, Mr. Isaac Nsereko, chief marketing officer for MTN said:

“Our vision is to make it the best and most organised event in Africa and that is why we are coming up with so many changes."

Too late. Take a tip from your fellow marathon organisers (like the Two Oceans Marathon in South Africa) and get the date of the event out there well in advance. 22nd November has been sprinkled in a few newspaper articles and other reports since mid-August, but nothing ever seemed like an official announcement to the general public. Plus, the marathon's website has not been updated to include information on this year's event. In 2007, the date of the MTN Kampala Marathon was available several months in advance. I remember it being announce some time in July.

Registration has only been open for about one week, and MTN is already reporting over 6000 entrants. That's pretty amazing, I'd say.

See you in the corral.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Half-Marathon Wedding

The Half-Marathon Wedding

So Soo and I have decided on a half-marathon wedding. After finishing up 12 miles today, we moseyed on over to the wedding expo going on at the at the UMA show grounds to check out the offerings and the abundant possibilities in Uganda.

If we're going to run 21km during our nuptials, she's going to really need a hair style that will hold up in the heat and weather... especially if it's a rainy day. We cannot come to a consensus about the track suits. I proposed white--it's a wedding-- but Soo pointed it out that it's pretty dusty here, and they'd be dingy before we got to the check points where we'd exchange rings and completely orange long before "I do".

We're definitely not going with a cake from Hot Loaf Bakery. Their free samples at the expo spoke for themselves.

The expo was great for ideas, including chocolate fountains. Katurah Kamugasa did well. I was pretty skeptical, but I was proven wrong.

As far as entertainment goes, I'm going to leave you with this:

Fly by Blu3. I love, love, love this song by these amazingly beautiful and fun women. It's my current dance anthem, and I think it should be yours too. I've got a more elaborate post about Blu3 in the works. In the mean time, do my girls a favor and vote for them to win at the MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMAs)!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Doctor, Doctor!

Doctor, Doctor!
(One mo' 'gain... I tried to make this post earlier this week but was defeated by the blogger gremlins.)

Back to doctors... Yes, Doctor is a title that does carry with it a high degree of respect and prestige. Usually it means that you've done a hell of a lot of studying, taken insanely difficult exams, researched, researched, researched, and paid some university a ton of money (or have a heavy load of loans hanging over your head). For others (like the one on the billboard in the photo above), it simply means waking up one morning and thinking: Gee, I think I'll be a Dr. today.

It seems like being a Dr. is all the rage these days. At the same time that billboard was prominently displayed around the city, there were some bright orange signs posted on lamp posts advertising some event that was being sponsored by Dr. Sudhir Ruparellia. Dr. Sudhir? (Confusion on my part.) I missed something somewhere, so I asked a friend (who keeps himself more abreast with developments in Ugandan pop culture than I do) for some clarification, and he informed me that, yes, Sudhir had been awarded an honorary doctorate from some university out West. That some university out West happens to be the Uganda Pentecostal University in Fort Portal, one that has a history going all the way back to 2003.

The confusion I experienced is not an uncommon phenomenon that occurs where someone who has been awarded an honorary degree and decides to use the title Dr. I'm not going to break into a discussion of ethics on that issue (it is generally accepted as okay in several places), but I do agree that it causes an amount of confusion as to a person's actual qualifications.

And being awarded an honorary doctorate (which is usually done to recognise someone's significant contributions to a specific area of study or society at large—Sudhir received his degree because of his outstanding business services in Uganda, his investment in education and the promotion of multiculturalism) places Dr. Sudhir in an exclusive group of world citizens that include...

Kermit the Frog,

who was awarded his Doctorate in Amphibious Letters from the Southampton College in 1996. Among Kermit's contributions to society is teaching us all that it's not easy being green.

Ms. Dolly Parton was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Humane and Musical Letters by the University of Tennessee Knoxville in May 2009 . Dolly's contributions to society include starting the Dollywood Foundation that has distributed over 20 million books in the US, Canada and UK, awarding financial assistance to students from her local community for over 30 years, and raising over $1,000,000 to build healthcare facilities in her home county. For her philanthropy, Dolly has been recognised with the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service from the Smithsonian Institution. Oh, and then there's the entertainment. The woman has has composed over 3000 songs, stared in classic films like 9 to 5 and Steel Magnolia. She's already been awarded the Kennedy Center Honors, the National Medal of Arts, the Living Legend award from the Library of Congress, membership in the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry, seven Grammy Awards, 10 Country Music Association Awards and been nominated for two Oscars.

That's Dr. Dolly, y'all!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Small Towns Get the Best Names

Small Towns Get the Best Names

I'm from the rural South (of the US). I'm from a small unincorporated community call White City. Interpret that how you will. I've heard it all before... And you might be right.

Geography lesson: also in the rural South, we find a place called...

Yes, tucked away in Sumter County in western Alabama is a small unincorporated community whose citizens, I'm sure, have caught more flack than I ever have because of the name of their home area... Small town proud!

Also from the great state of Alabama...

Amber Louise.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Just To Be Fair

Just To Be Fair

I do like to poke fun at the media, bad journalism in particular. I've made a few jab at reporters here in Uganda and their badly-reported stories. Well, I came across a great one from the BBC, so I must pass it on... To be fair. It's a short one, so I'll copy and past it below.

The Ugandan capital is waking to streets littered with stones and burnt tyres used during running battles between rioters and security forces in Kampala's business district.

At least seven people are feared dead in violence sparked by a disagreement between police and a senior official from one of the country's four ancient kingdoms, Buganda.

The official had been stopped from entering the Kayungaa surburb.

Deep into the night there was further rioting in Kampala, as Joshua Mmali reports.

Mr. Mmali not only spelled Kayunga incorrectly (I acknowledge that it could be a typo), but he referred to it as a suburb. It is much more than that; it's a district of Uganda. Do you research! Or just look at a map. Because of the brevity of this report, I think taht it is all the more important that the fact be correct.

On a positive not, I do agree with his choice of the word "sparked" instead of "cause by" or "because of". I think "sparked" more accurately describes the relationship between the parties' disagreement and the violence.

Is the situation any better today? I was wishfully thinking earlier, but we ended up closing school early today so people could be sure to go home safely. Three teachers were unable to come to school today. These of some of my friends' facebook status updates:
  • is at a "riot party" with colleagues.
  • About 6 people dead and 2 were in Kansanga, Am in Muyenga now so its too close. Apparently 2 Bakiga killed. This is not just about visiting Bugerere. Hatred has been building.
  • there are gunshots outside my workplace... gotta get home.

My personal experience is not that exciting. I continued with my marathon training and ran intervals at the Kololo airstrip this afternoon. I felt the area around Lugogo to be eerily quiet. I'm now having a relaxing evening in Mbuya.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sh*t Hitting Fan

Sh*t Hitting Fan

I'm somehow fine in my world (behind a steel door, four concrete walls on the second floor in relatively privileged neighbourhood, and all of my delusions), but all is not fine in the world of others. Here are few Facebook status updates from friends around Kampala over the last few hours:

  • I wonder why 7,000 banyala could b da cause of so much contention. Dis violence has even extended up to rural ntinda! Intrigue drama,scandal or madness.these r terible times.
  • Just watching news, didn't realise how bad the riots were.
  • Riots in Kampala?!! Police stations burned and people dead in the streets... What do the Baganda want to achieve-they're own sovereign state???
  • Kampala is on fire. Riots and tear gas and burning cars. I'm safe.
  • is caught up in fighting that he has no role in. Bullets, roadblocks, bonfires, traffic n army soldiers everywhere. I miss home right now.
  • Teflon vest anyone..? ;-P ....man this gunfire just won't let up.... it's official am concerned for my safety...and urs...
  • the sound of gunfire outside my window kinda bothers me... hope u guyz r safe.

Suburbia has it's benefits; however, from the sounds of the reports, it sounds like the chaos is spreading out of the city center.

What's the cause of the vandalism, destructions and killings? Well, like most things in this world, it's complicated. You can read about the goings-on and causes by checking out these links.

Personally, I believe people's frustrations run deeper than the Buganda-Central Government issues. A friend of mine who is at Makerere University (and not of the ethnic group mentioned in the above news reports) sent me a message and told me students (not all of the ethnic group mentioned in the above news reports) were planning to get involved in the ruckus in protest over the recent increase in tuition. I think there are many people who are frustrated for just as many reasons. There are many straws on this proverbial camel's back. One finally broke it and all hell seems to be breaking loose... in some areas... not yet in Bugolobi. We're happy and secure in Bugolobi. Shangri-La. Right?

Because I'm a bit of a chicken sh*t, and almost always overly cautious, I did not go for a run this evening. I took the opportunity to plan my marathon training. That's right, I'm making the commitment to the 42km. I did it two years ago, so I know exactly what I'm getting myself into. That's what's scaring the sh*t out of me. Below is the running schedule I decided I'm going to follow.
I just thought I'd share it with you because I'm going to need a lot of encouragement to motivate me to train. And I've got to train.

Enough about my trivial challenges. My heart goes out to all those who are facing a much more serious challenge around Kampala at this moment.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Not Ready for Prime Time

Not Ready for Prime Time

So I'm not able to catch the season premier of Glee tonight on FOX.
I guess I'll survive. There's plenty of entertainment around these parts... especially in the newspapers. I often point out stories from the New Vision, Uganda's leading daily (for reasons that might include but are not limited to writing "curved" instead of "carved"). But not today. I'm going to the "independent" Monitor newspaper.

Monday's headline:

Now that's what I call entertainment!

Do you remember that episode towards the end of season two of Veronica Mars when Veronica visits Hearst college and Maeby Fünke gets her head shaved; it's the same one where Maeby's cousin, Michael Cera, is Veronica's orientation leader and that X-Man-drug-dealer boy shows up again. Well, in this episode, Michael Cera leads his group of future freshmen in a game of two truths and a lie. That game is what reading this article made me think of. Fun!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009



I'm the first to point out that I have delusional tendencies. I love to pretend that I reign supreme--just ask anyone who has the privilege of working under my supervision. Yes, in my world, I'm pretty damn important. It's my way or the highway.

My delusional world is not a lonely one; it is full of most of the landlords in Kampala. Have you tried to rent property lately? There just seems to be too many place values utilised with the rents of too many properties around town. True, I'm no real estate expert, but I'm not completely unfortunate when it comes to intelligence.

I mean, I was handed promotional material for a new rental property located in the city yesterday. This is what they advertised:

The photo is quite misleading. The place is not that spacious with two pools. It's the same building, just two views with the photos joined together. I actually had a chance to explore one of the units. Three words: tiny and cheap. I won't go into much detail about the workmanship, including the haphazard placement of the moulding in the bathroom I saw or the chipped cheap tiles.

They also claim:
Did you notice the word 'free' on this list. Free? The tenant is paying over $2000 a month for a shoebox. They have paid for that damn wireless internet... and then some. But I guess that says it all. The tenants have paid. And they are still paying; they're moving in and they're not moving away. There's a fool born everyday, and there is someone out there to profit from that. Is that wrong? I guess deep down, I really think it is.

Monday, August 31, 2009



I needed to replace my umbrella because the last one I had was left in the trunk of someone's car whom I don't know very well, so I just kissed it goodbye. I went, once again, to Victoria Shoppers in Bugolobi to buy my umbrella because, for some strange reason, they have a fairly good range of umbrellas at relatively good prices. I know selecting an umbrella to buy is not like selecting a car to buy or anything, but I still like choice.

This is one I chose:

because it reminded me of this:

Now, when I'm battling rain as I walk to work in the mornings, I'll be inspired and hum, no sing out loud: Stronger than than yesterday. It's nothin' but my way. My loneliness ain't killin' me no more... Gene Kelly, you're not the only one who's gonna be singin' in the rain!

(On a side note, I was given a poster of the above image of Britney at a staff Christmas party, winter 2000. A woman I worked with was really upset and accused me of objectifying women. Whatever.)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Scattered Sunshine

Scattered Sunshine

You know those days when, for one reason or another, you just feel a bit low. It's nothing major, and all you need is just a simple gesture from someone to brighten your day and put a smile on your face. It's like exercising those smile muscles sends an "upper" through the body, and your day is all right again.

I want to thank Gloria Wavamunno and the guys at Flair for this simple gesture:
Lucky for us, they plastered this add all over town on roadsides to make us all smile, maybe chuckle a bit. I mean, when I see this photo of Gloria, I think: Now I know what a hearty Rhianna would wear if she were going to snort coke with Liza in the coatroom of Studio 54 in 1979. Then I smile. Afterwards I think: Silly. Rhianna wasn't even conceived in 1979, and time travel's not possible. That makes me chuckle.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Just Not Enough

Just Not Enough

In case you haven't heard the news, there's a milk shortage in Uganda at the moment. In case you (like me) didn't know there was a milk shortage last weekend and went to three supermarkets looking for milk and couldn't find any in the refrigerated section: there is a milk shortage in Uganda at the moment. I'm not always the fastest to put two and two together, so I did not see that no rain=no water for cows to drink=no milk on my supermarket shelves.

From May until now, the price of a liter of milk has almost doubled. I paid 2,100 Uganda shillings for a liter today; that's about a dollar at current exchange rates--perhaps a little more. To put that in perspective, a gallon is roughly 3.8 liters. That means a gallon of milk in Uganda would go for about $3.80. Now, where I'm from in Florida, a gallon of milk is currently going for $2.89. (Just to compare, the per captia income of Uganda for 2008 is estimated to be around $1100, in the US it is estimated to be $47,000.) And it's not like Uganda is one of those countries that doesn't have many cows or where milk is not culturally part of the diet, making milk a rarity and driving up the price. With this rise in the cost of milk, many families cannot afford to provide milk (and those oh, so important vitamins and minerals milk provides) for their children. I really feel for those mothers and fathers who must be struggling. Should the government get involved in order to promote healthy babies and mothers? I mean, the news lately has reported the need of Uganda to better promote the survival of children--with malnutrition being cited as one of the causes of high infant mortality in the country.

Unlike last weekend, I did find milk in the refrigerated aisle today. Milk was there, but purchases were being limited to three liters per person.
Fair enough. Times are tough; let's let everyone get at least some of what they need. I don't need too much, just a bit to put in my muesli in the morning. I bought two liters. Ironically, at the same time there was a sign reminding customers of the milk shortage and limiting us to only three liters, there was a booth to sample 'wet' Weetabix on the same aisle. 'Wet' with milk, that commodity that is scarce these days.
They couldn't allow customers to buy too much milk because of the shortage, yet they could let the milk be used to market a product. Hmmm...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Goodies

My Goodies

Finally, I'm getting off of my lazy behind and hitting the pavement (and dirt roads and trails for that matter) and getting that lazy behind of mine in shape. I ran the full MTN Marathon in Kampala in 2007, and I'd like to do it again this year. (Not an official announcement.) As I know very well, those 42km are not going to run themselves. So I went for a run this evening. I started out with a plan of where I'd run, but like most well laid plans, things changed. I ended up with an adventurous streak, and I took a few less-travelled-by turns and ended up following the railroad tracks. About 6km into my run, it was getting a bit too dark to run safely (uneven trails, stones, gravel... deep holes), and I came out by the Kataza stage near the Bugolobi Shell. Well, Jazz Supermarket is just there, so I decided to duck in a take a peek at what they had and decide if I needed anything. Yes. I. Did. Right at the entrance where they display several sale items were two boxes of chocolate candies handsomely marked down. And this was good candy. Not smushed. No faded wrappers from being on display too long. I could not resist purchasing a big full of Smarties and Lion candy bars.

This is not the first time I went crazy with chocolate bars. Today's experience brought back memories of 2006 and life in American Samoa. Ok, I plead insanity for that one. Two words: island fever. It had to be. Who does stuff like that?

Boy, do I look young!
If I could turn back time...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009



Who made the Wikipedia entry for Keturah Kamugasa?

I don't know why I know that she is in the online encyclopedia... but she is. Follow the link.

Another Question:

Why does Keturah Kamugasa get to write about fashion? She's telling other what they should wear, even criticising other people's wardrobe choices. Have you noticed what she wears?

Okay, those are two question with a statement sandwiched between, but they had to be asked/said/asked.

Conspiracy theory:

It's the same people that are behind this are the same people who are responsible fore putting male models in African Woman magazine and Stanbic Bank ads wearing brown belts with black shoes. They are seriously out to eff things up.

In other Wikipedia-New Vision-related news, the online encyclopedia also states that Robert Kabushenga resigned as CEO of the New Vision after only two weeks in that position. I love my Wikipedia, but you sometimes have to question the accuracy of the articles. Wasn't that David Sseppuuya who resigned after two weeks in 2006? Isn't Mr. Kabushenga still CEO? It's neither here nor there, I guess. Again, I don't know why I know this, but... I do.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Obama Mania

Obama Mania

Democrat or republican.  Fan of the currently proposed health care reforms or not, you would be heartless if you did not find Obama adorable.

Baby Obama was born 24th June 2009 at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in Nakasongola District in Uganda.  He is the fist Rhino to be born in Uganda since the last freely roaming indigenous Rhino was seen here in 1982.  Unfortunately, there was a period when they were all sold off or killed.  The Rhino Fund Uganda came to be in 1997 with the aim to re-establish a rhino population in Uganda.  The first two rhinos arrive in Uganda came in 2001, but are housed at the Uganda Wildlife Education Center in Entebbe; they were brought in for educational purposes and to raise awareness of the cause.  It was not until 2005 that the sanctuary in Nakasongola was ready and 4 rhinos from Kenya (including Taleo, Obama's father) were brought in. 

Like Barack, baby rhino Obama is also the product of a Kenyan father rhino and a mother rhino from America.  She was donated to Ziwa by Disney's Animal Kingdom.  

I'm supposing this is the reason he was named so...  Or maybe the powers that be just like the ring of it.

Part of my package tour with the Red Chilli included a visit to the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in Nakasongola on the third day of the trip.  I must say this was the highlight of the trip, and a visit to the rhinos should not be missed by anyone travelling in the area.  They are majestic creatures, and I am so happy that an effort is being made to re-introduce them to the National Parks in Uganda.

It was amazing to spend time up close and personal with the rhinos (by the way, little Obama and his mother are taking private time right now, so they are a bit M.I.A. these days--out of sight=no angry mother charging).  

Yes, these are wild animals, but they have become habituated to human visitors.  Being delusional (as I mentioned in my previous post), I like to imagine that I'm a risk taker, braving danger and certain death... and how did I not notice that a huge piece of grass was in my face when this photo was being shot?  Delusions aside, the risk of a rhino charge is not a non-issue.  These are instructions given to us in our visitor's guide:

I loved the idea of climbing a tree to escape a charging rhino...  Man, I'm so brave.

This was a lovely visit that I'll have to repeat.  I'm already planning to make a return in the next couple of months with my students.  I really expect them to enjoy it. 

Additional tidbits:

We passed over 52 consecutive speed humps on the highway, had a bit of a break, then passed over 67 more consecutively.  There would've been more, but (fortunately) they are beginning to be removed.

Speaking of namesakes...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Down By the Banks

Down By the Banks

As I mentioned Friday, I was in Murchison Falls National Park at the beginning of last week; and as promised, here are my post on that trip. I don't know what happened to me this weekend. I just didn't feel like writing. I was more in a cooking mood, but that's a whole other topic, so I won't go into that.

I took my trip with the Red Chilli (leaving from their main location in Mbuya) and stayed at their camp in the park. The journey from Kampala to Masindi was much longer than I remembered it to be. Even with the newly amazing road, it seemed like the trip took forever. I was very happy to find the road from Kafu to Masindi paved. I remember the good-ole dusty days, and the days it would be so muddy that the taxis would have to divert to the Masindi Port Road. Lunch was at Travellers' Corner. Absolutely not my favourite place to eat in Masindi, but I ate there with my fellow travellers and took the opportunity to get to know the people with whom I'd be spending a lot of time with over the trip. Yes, I can be nice sometimes. Obviously, the bond that we formed was not too strong because I cannot recall their names right now.

This was my first trip to Murchison Park. Yes, I lived in Hoima District for three years--just near to the park, but I never had the chance to make a visit. Yes, I've been back in Uganda for over three years. No, I never took the time to make the journey until the 18th of August 2009. I planned to do it every holiday that I had, but I never made it a priority until now, so the visit never took place.

The first day of the trip, we visited to top of the falls. Murchison Falls is a marvelous design of nature. The force of the river through those rocks is amazing. 

I was in respectful awe when the falls came into view and my amazement continued throughout our hike. By the way, it was hot as hell. The gusts of air and mist form the surging water provided little relief as we came closer.

From the falls, we went to the Red Chilli camp and found our tents.

This was the interior of our tent when we arrived. Now, imagine it the next morning with about 2 inches of water on the floor. My goodness, there was an ridiculous storm that began at 2:30am and pounded the tent for well over 3 hours, saturating the canvas that eventually began to leak. Drip. Drip. Drip... On my bed and me for a good portion of the night. This did not put me in a fantastic mood for the game drive at 6:30 in the morning.

After we crossed the Nile by ferry, it did not take us long to find the animals. The first thing we saw were some Cape Buffaloes enjoying an immediate fruit of a the storm: mud.

This was my first experience seeing Giraffe's in Uganda. I've seen them in Kenya before, and I'm pretty sure we saw them when my family vacationed at Busch Gardens in Tampa way back when.

When the giraffes run, it's like they glide across the savannah. I think of the vampires in the Twilight books when I see them moving across the plains At the same time there is a bit of awkwardness to their gait. Is it possible to have a clumsy grace?

Because of a relatively sleepless night, I napped a bit on the game drive. Because of my napping, I missed a spotting of an ever elusive jackal. The price we pay... However, I was not the only one caught napping.

Notice in the the background the leftovers from her breakfast.

After lunch, I went on the boat trip to the bottom of Murchison Falls. The trip was quite lengthy, about 3-1/2 hours. Despite the the duration of this trip, I enjoyed it much more that the similar trip I did at Queen Elizabeth National Park that I took back in December. This boat launch was better executed.

Remember how I'm a new Gossip Girl fan? Well, at one point of the trip I was sure Blair Waldorf (aka Leighton Meester) was a passenger on our boat.

I have a tendency to be a bit delusional sometimes.  But I'm not delusional when it comes to seeing a coin slot aboard.  Evidence:

When the boat reached it's parking place at the rocks near the bottom of the falls, I was temped by my newly acquired English friends and could not resist the opportunity to have a Nile while floating on the Nile.


Yet another week has come and gone without a single visit to the gym...

I'm really beginning to feel like a hippo!!!

I report back to work tomorrow. Hopefully, I'll be able to add more structure to my life, and part of that structure will include an improved fitness plan.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

It Must Be New

It Must Be New

Well, I'm back--back from a good three days of pretending to be a tourist in this great country.  I'm back from that ridiculous fresh air to the city I love so much--dust, fumes and all.  I cannot pick and choose the parts I like and discard the others.  Me and Kampala:  it's real and it's deep.  I went to sleep last night to the sounds of insects chirruping and fiddling and frogs doing what they do best.  It reminded me of childhood nights in the sticks--a very soothing lullaby--and I slept amazingly well considering the mattress on my bed was almost non-existent, such that I woke up this morning (after an amazing sleep) with a really sore back.  I'll spill more details about my trip later; I need to sort through some photos first.  But I will quickly just recommend the Red Chilli's trip to anyone who's travelling on a budget.  I agree with their website that it is "the best value safari tour in East Africa."  I caught a few wisecracks from some friends when I told them I was doing this tour; they had a hard time accepting me as a backpacker... But I was... In a previous life.  And it was good going back to my roots.

So when I got back this evening, there was so much news to get caught up on.  The best of it all is that Britney was on David Letterman earlier this week.  Yes, our princess (now Queen) of pop was in her bikini-clad glory as she delivered the evening's top 10.  So if you've ever wondered about the top 10 ways the country [US] would be different if Britney Spears were president (if only we'd be so lucky!), wonder no more.  Here we go:

I'm all for free pie.  Free is for me!!!

Then there is Corbin Bleu, of High School Musical fame, naked.  That's right, Vanessa Hudgens is not the only person who gets to be found on the internets in the buff.

Hometown proud.  I read that these ads will decorate the billboards of Corbin's hometown, New York City.  Flashback to my second-last NYC visit--January 2001, Sandra Bullock, Miss Congeniality, Time Square, enormous, hand cuffs.

Finally, there was a bit of sensational news to liven up the Ugandan dailies.  A plane made an emergency landing on Masaka Highway.

The Portuguese couple celebrated their survival with a public display of affection.  Guess which paper, in it's childish immaturity, felt it necessary to report that a "romping couple" crash landed...

The Pepper's exaggeration is not what frustrates me with the reporting of this story.  It is Uganda's leading newspaper, The New Vision's, story by Jude Kafuuma that irks me.  Um, where exactly is Kisoro Gorilla Mountain Park?  I mean, is one that was created just for this couple's visit?  Kafuuma, did you pull the name out of your ass?  I mean, there is not a national park in Uganda with a name close to that one.  Sure, there is one with the word mountain (well its plural form:  mountains) and another with the word gorilla, but not both words.  Nor is there a park with the name Kisoro.  Maybe I'm being too sensitive, but this is the cover story of today's paper.  I think it at least merited a quick google search to find the correct name of the national part.  Uganda Wildlife Authority does have a pretty good website.  As inaccurate as one of my favourite reference tools, Wikipedia, can be, they got this one right (yet, Katonda is not a national park but a reserve).  Editor,  where are you???  I guess what frustrates me about this simple error is that if the journalism is so lackadaisical in this story, what are the chances that non-fluff stories are also mis-reported?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009



I'm sleepy.  It was a fairly good day today.  I moved some heavy furniture.  I just got back from saying goodbye to a friend who's leaving for good on Friday.  Saying goodbye comes with the lifestyle.  

I must go to bed soon because I have a trip tomorrow morning, and I cannot oversleep because they will not wait for me.  In order to be more efficient with my time, I'm resorting to bullet points for today.  Here I go:
  • Rowena's back from the bush.  Yay!  We had Chelsea buns together this evening at my place.  I'm so happy she's back in town, and I hope it's for more time than last time.  At least we've made a program for Friday morning, which I need to alter a bit because I MUST get to the embassy with my new passport application and photos.  But that should be quick.
  • Despite Lynne's claim, she's sharing.  I'm coming on Thursday!!!

  • If I don't write it down, it won't happen.  If I write it down, then lose my to-do list, it still won't happen.
  • So wrong.
Especially  and   .

That's right!

I need to be going to the gym...  Laziness...