Compromised in Kasese

Trip Start Dec 16, 2005
Trip End Jun 12, 2006

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Where I stayed
Kogere Hotel

Flag of Uganda  ,
Saturday, January 28, 2006

Left Lake Nkuruba to the monkeys playing in the trees. My boda boda ride to the main road was a good 30km. Down the hills the rider would switch off the engine and coast in neutral to save petrol. It nearly ended in disaster a couple of times when he put the bike into first gear instead of neutral. That ended with the back wheel locking up, us skidding and slowing from 60km to about 30km almost instantaneously pushing the driver up onto the petrol tank.

Next onto the matatu and every time I think it can't get any worse it does! I was close to the termination point of its journey and the thing was packed to the rafters. I was sure I'd have to wait for the next one but the driver assured me I'd fit! I was stood with my head plastered to the roof with and arched back. The guy who was sat below me kept brushing the stubbly crown of head against the cheek that wasn't transplanted on the ceiling giving me a good case of stubble rash. If that wasn't enough I was pinned up against the side door by a middle ages woman's butt. When the bus emptied a bit I was put in another compromised position, I was given a seat, but the driver decided that the best place for the cutest girl on the bus was right on my lap!

I got to Kasese and my god that place was hot! I booked into the Kogere Hotel and ordered a Krest - Another tasty bitter lemon drink made my Coke that is not available in the west - I don't know what they are playing at!

Went to find the national park HQ to do the final organizing for my trek and was a bit shocked to be told it had been moved to a town 20km away, especially since the guy in Kampala had told me to come to this town. It turns out I didn't need the NP HQ but rather the Rwenzori Mountaineering Services office. Phew that was a relief! Did food shopping that afternoon, the menu for the hike will be weetabix, powdered milk and instant coffee (Africafe) for breakfast. Sardines, tuna, corned beef, crackers, peanuts and bombay mix for lunch and 6 different flavours of soup and either rice or pasta for dinner. Not too many other options in Kasese, but no biggie, I can survive on that for 7 days!

The electricity went down so I went out for dinner. Had some nice Tilapia fish for dinner, cooked in a muslim restaurant that didn't serve beer, but it was very tasty cooked in some nice middle eastern spices and served up whole - not too good for those who like their fish boneless and headless!

Dreamed of the Rwenzoris that night although it did take me a while to get to sleep owing to the bar in my hotel playing music at full blast until the wee hours of the night and some drunk knocking on my door thinking as a foreigner I should come out and join them all for beers!

Next day the electricity was still out and it was still oppressively hot so I decided to take off early to Nyaklengija. The thermometer read 35C as we set off. It was nice to gain some altitude and get into the cooler air. I placed a pre-order for goat stew that evening at the local community center. As I returned to my digs I could see dark storm clouds looming ominously above the mountain peaks. About 20 minutes later the heavens opened and it poured for the next 30 minutes - A sign of things to come I think - The Rwenzoris were the mountains directly east of the Congo rainforest and had a reputation for been some of the mistiest and rainy in the world!

In Uganda the kids seem to know how to say 3 things and this town was no different. 'Hello', 'How are you?' and 'I'm fine'. The problem was they didn't realise they weren't meant to say all three together and they would usually say 'How are you' followed by 'I'm fine' without giving you chance to say anything! They were good natured enough though and it was fun driving or riding through all the villages as they would come running down their path waving, smiling and shouting at the passing 'Muzungu'.

Went for a bit of a walk through the village as the rain had stopped. All the walls of the houses are always plastered with adverts for the local politicians, the one of Museveni, their president always made me laugh. He never seemed that serious with his wide brimmed hat. He had been in power for 20 year I think. It reminded me elections were coming up on the 23rd Feb. I'd try to be out of Uganda for then!

Went for my goat stew, spuds and cabbage. Bloody hell they must have given me at least 10 large boiled potatoes and a big bowl of stew. I'm surprised but I've actually lost some weight since I started traveling even though I seem to eat like a king and have bigger portions that the US! I guess moving away from the high sugar diet makes that difference.

Heading back to the hotel the sky had cleared and there were some nice silhouettes of the mountains up ahead of me. Back in bed and all I could hear was a couple of wagtails making a real racket - as luck would have it their nest was right outside my window!
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