Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Kampala, Uganda

[ed. note: hell, i think i spent another couple of days at the Lake. Very difficult to leave. From the island, I had to get retrace my tracks to Kabale to catch the bus from hell to the Ugandan capital of Kampala. Along the way, I crossed the Equator (then re-crossed it) for the first time overland. Appropriately, the imaginary line was marked by real big pothole, amongst innumerable potholes in the so-called road.]

Still recovering from the Kabale bus ride. It had to be in the Top 3 worst. Freakin' death trap. Got stuck in the backseat holding a piece of plastic against the glassless window to keep from freezing.

I've been basking in the thick smog of Kampala for the last couple of days at the Backpackers Hostel. Seems like an alright place - peaceful enough. It's packed with, ya know backpackers...fortunately, i haven't...

[ed. note: once in awhile i find myself staying at one of these tourist enclaves. they're pretty much mixed blessings. on one hand they could be really good places to gather information for onward travel or to hang out with other white people - mzungus. on the other hand, if you're not careful, they tend to insulate you from the locals.]

seen any overland trucks roll in. I've met some pretty interesting people so far: Jason, whom I met out in Bunyonyi, is here (small world), another Canadian guy named DJ, from Nova Scotia, and Aaron, a nice English bloke. DJ is a teacher on the run. Funny thing is he's been at the Backpackers for over 2 months now. He says he's burnt out after traveling from Europe, thru the Middle East, Sudan/Ethiopia and now here. 2 months...I thought i was burnt.

Kampala's been OK. It's chaotic. Went out to dinner with a swell Swedish couple last night for delicious Indian food. So, on the way, got a taste of the crazy traffic and hellish bus station. I've never seen such a quagmire. Today, I went for a boda boda (motorbike) ride downtown. It's a fast way to get around but you absolutely take your life into your own hands. Lots o' really close calls [I wish the damn traffic lights worked. Hell, what am I saying, there'd be noncompliance whatsoever] . Not for the feint-hearted.

In addition to the traffic, during the day, it's wall to wall people walking downtown. The unusual thing is the fact that I don't feel my life is in danger at any time. Weird but good.

With all this traffic, the air is pretty filthy and that's bad for my outmatched lungs. I still have the occasional coughing fits that I imported from Rwanda. To make things work I've felt quite rundown since getting here. I'm hoping it's from excessive road travel and nothing else. I need rest...

Advice of the day: my new friend Aaron is traveling in the opposite direction than I. He says to stay out of Isiolo (Kenya), on the way to Ethiopia.

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