Brown Pants Time

Trip Start May 30, 2005
Trip End Sep 30, 2006

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Flag of Uganda  ,
Monday, August 7, 2006

My bus 'left' at 6:30am, so I was up while it was still dark. I got my stuff together and bumbled down to the bus station, and waited for the bus. And then waited some more. Around 7:30am I asked where the bus was, "It'll be here soon, just wait". So I did, then I waited some more.

Eventually the bus turned up at 10:30am, we boarded and were off by 11am. In case your maths isn't very good, that's 4.5 hours of just sitting there doing nothing. It was made frustrating by the fact that the bus company offered no explaination never mind an apology. The thing was, all the locals that took this bus appeared completely non-plussed by the wait. This is true africa style.

When the bus got going though, it really didn't hang about. It was going all the way to Nairobi but I got off 2 hours short of Kampala in a little place called Masaka, just as it was getting dark. I much prefer arriving during daylight as it's safer and you have more chance of finding a decent place to stay.

I flagged down a passing Boda-Boda (motorcycle taxi) and asked him if he knew the "Masaka Backpackers", "oh yes" he assured me. HUH!

We drove down into the town, where he asked for some directions. He then proceeded out of town on a now dark road. I was on the back of the bike with my full rucksack on with brown pants as I really couldn't see the badly lit road in front of me, perhaps he had special African eyes that allowed him to see. The pants got browner as he was hurtling down a hill and hit a small pot hole, I did a little "Jump" in my seat thankfully landing back on it, I held onto him after this. He asked again for more directions before heading down a little muddy road, at this point he half-turns to me and says, "Mzungu, you need to bring more money".

I'd already agreed a price that was higher than I thought it should have been, and here he is asked for more because he didn't have a clue where the hostel was. I was a little worried and just tried to placate him but telling him "We'll sort it out when we get there.", thinking "IF we get there".

It turned out that this dirt road was the wrong one, as was the next one. Third time lucky we got there. I jumped off the bike feeling relieved, and especially relieved when the owner said he had a spare bed, thanks! I paid off the Boda-Boda driver with a little extra cash than promised and then kissed my bed, it'd been a long day and I was so happy to arrive.

My plan from here was to head down the west side of Lake Victoria into Tanzania, but I thought I may as well spend a little time relaxing first. So the next day I caught a bus to take me towards Kampala, getting off at the equator! I thought it'd be interesting to visit since I'd also visited the equator in Ecuador, however I was mistaken. It was fairly dull, The highlight was undoubtably watching water swirl and not swirl down a hole in a bucket. Just 2 meters north of the equator water drains clockwise, and to the south anti-clockwise (or is it the other way round?). But right on the equator the water drained directly down, without any swirling. The second most interesting thing that I did here was to drink a coke with my left bum cheek in the southern hemisphere and the right one in the north. I got a Matatu back to Masaka after only a short time.

Masaka wasn't much to write home about, and definetly nothing to write about in travelpod!

So I decided to leave the next morning. However the rain was belting down, I was perched comfortably on the verranda of the guest house reading my excellent book, "Rage" by Wilbur Smith, and waited for the rain to stop. I just didn't fancy the walk down to the main road in the rain. The rain didn't stop but I didn't mind as the book was so good. It did eventually cease around midday, but by then it was too late. So instead I walked into Masaka and did many things completely unworthy of repeating here.

The rain gods were kind to me the next day, and I packed my bag again in order to say goodbye to Uganda.

Another thing that I forgot to mention in my previous posts is the attitude towards crime in Uganda! This is something that I saw first hand and it's pretty scarey. It appears that the police are rather ineffectual in Uganda, due to massive under funding and very very poor pay. So when someone commits a crime against you, it's pretty pointless calling the police, it appears that it's better to perform a bit of vigilant justice instead.

This can involve the chasing and beating of guilty parties, a mob is very quickly formed here and the punishment delivered can far outweigh the actual crime. But that's not my biggest problem. It's very easy for vigilante justice to be administerd to the 'Accused'. It's good enough here to point the finger at someone and say that they're guily, the mob will form and 'justice' will be delivered, regardless of guilt.

This is a real problem that Uganda will need to address in it's near future.
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