A Fast Night and a Slow Day in Kampala

Sunday, March 20, 2011 | Kampala, Uganda

While Jon was occupied with the ketchup, I chowed down on freshly grilled tilapia and chips, washed down with ginger beer.
After two weeks in pristine Rwanda, where the streets are swept clean each day and traffic flows in orderly single file, I wasn't prepared for the shock of Kampala. Amid the fog of dust and exhaust, an overwhelming disorder reigns on the boisterous streets of the Ugandan capital.

I had managed to stop here for a 24-hour layover on my way back to Washington, in order to visit my friend Jon (of the duo Jon & Jen, main characters in many of my tales from Morocco). While Jen was back home in England, Jon was working and holding down the fort at their new home in Kampala.

Together, Jon and I made the most of my brief visit by sleeping as little as possible. My memories from our night on the town include: zipping through evening traffic on the back of motorcycle taxis, Jon's insistence that I sample every brand of Ugandan beer, gorging ourselves on a goat feast at a
bar called Tickles & Giggles, Jon hopping onstage to dance with the dreadlocked lead singer of a local reggae band, many games of billiards at streetside pool tables, chatting with two Chadian diamond trainers inside a mirror-walled nightclub, fleeing said nightclub to avoid prostitutes who wouldn't take "no" for an answer, and helping several local guys in Jon's neighborhood to break up a domestic disturbance at 3:00 AM. You can't make this stuff up.

Before I left, we spent the next afternoon beside Lake Victoria, gnawing on grilled tilapia and reading while kids splashed in the shallows and their parents picnicked beside us, their car stereos pumping lively beats across the beach.

Big thanks to Jon for an excellent trip. Next time we'll have to see if I can survive a longer one.


Jen said...

If only I had been there. Next time......

India Trips said...

I would love to go there one day. Your post is nice.

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