Saturday, June 2, 2012

Day 9: Hoima-->Kampala -->Entebbe

I couldn't decide if my alarm would go off if I had my white noise app running, so I just turned it off rather than lay there stressing about it all night. Turned out to not be my best decision, ha. Apparently the neighbors like to party on Friday nights.  Like, loud music until 2am...

I did manage to fall asleep though. But then the loud bell rang at 4:15am!! I couldn't figure out why... Sarah got up and told the cook it was Saturday and to let the girls rest! I guess he forgot what day it was?

I fell back asleep and woke up at 5 when my alarm went off. Went to the bathroom and then washed my face - and a little of my body - with a wash cloth. Still hadn't bathed since the dusty motorcycle ride yesterday. Yuck. Threw on some clean clothes, brushed my teeth, packed, and waited for JP to come get me.

While I was waiting, Clementine brought in a note for me to give to Matt, with a picture she drew on it. Immaculate came in after that with a note, too. (And she brought a note from Peninah for her sponsor.) I couldn't believe they got up and dressed so early just to give me a letter! They were so sweet about it, and I had to physically pull both of them up off their knees at my feet to give them a hug!

Sarah and I sat around and waited awhile for JP. At 5:50, we walked down the footpath to the edge of the little alley way. He called at 5:58 and said to walk down to the main dirt road. It was still pitch black out! Sure am glad I downloaded that flashlight app on my phone now! :) JP was there, but with only one boda-boda. With all my stuff, that just wasn't going to work. Plus JP isn't a small guy. So he walked up to the house there and woke some poor guy up and asked him to take me to the bus stop! He jumped right up and off we went...dirt roads in the dark again. Love it. :)

We were ON the bus by 6:10. And here I thought it left at 6. Africa time. I forgot. They honked the crazy horn at 6:30, and I thought surely we would leave soon. Honked again at 7 and we drove about two blocks to another stop, ha.  We finally took off shortly after that, but continued to stop at numerous spots along the way to let people off or put more people on. I didn't drink anything all morning because I didn't want to have to pee on the bus. I just sat there with my head out the window and enjoyed the surroundings. I think I might of even fallen asleep for a little bit! 
On the bus...still waiting to leave

When you stop in a town, there are tons of people selling all kinds of stuff - but mostly meat on a stick and water - that come running up to the side of the bus. They waive it in your face and holler at you, trying to get you to buy. It's pretty entertaining. :)

Meat on a stick!

Not far from Kampala, we got stopped by a police check point. They made all of the people standing - which was a lot - get off the bus and wait for another one. Sure was glad we got there an hour early to get a seat (and a window seat at that).  I felt bad for them!

We finally pulled in to Kampala around 10:30. Not bad! Saturday's are pretty crazy, I guess. Or maybe everyday is crazy! The bus was stopping a lot and getting stuck in traffic, so JP and I just got off to walk. It was a nice morning, minus the diesel fumes, and my legs could use some walking/stretching. There aren't sidewalks here, and he only had to pull me out of the way of traffic twice, haha. I kept forgetting that they drive on the other side of the road here!

 The traffic we kept getting stuck in...

Following JP walking the streets of Kampala Saturday morning

 We ended up at the prime ministers office to deliver a letter to allow entrance to the refugee camp I guess. Whatever it is for, I doesn't work on Saturdays. And now JP has to make the long trek back on Monday to pick up whatever it is he needed. He didn't seem too pumped about it.

While we were there, the army guard took me to the 'bathroom' out back. I'd been holding it a loooong time. Just a hole in the ground, but there was a sink with running water to rinse your hands off at least!

From there, JP found two boda-bodas to take us to Kireka. The first couple he stopped either didn't know where it was, or didn't want to take us. (Made me think it was a ways away.) We finally found one who knew where it was, and JP got on with him. Another younger kid pulled up. JP told me to get on with him and told the driver to follow him. Should be easy enough, right?


It was fine for awhile...until my crazy driver decided he wanted to drive faster and passed JP. I was a little weary, but just figured he knew where he was going. I kept turning around to check for JP, too.  And then - no more JP.  I couldn't see him anymore, and kept turning around every 2 seconds.  My driver finally stopped at a busy intersection - because he didn't know which way to go - and HE finally realized the other driver and JP weren't behind us anymore.  Ugh.  Insert sick feeling in my gut. 

He stopped, put his foot on the ground, and turned around searching the traffic and said, "Where he at?" 

"Are you serious!? I don't know where he's at!  Why did you pass him??"

Still standing there searching, really confused look..."Where he go?" 

"I DON'T KNOW!  You're in the middle of the intersection.  Move out of the way or we're going to get hit."

"Oh" he moves his bike over to the side of the road.

It was sheer terror by this point, ha.  I mean, there I was, on a motorcycle in the middle of Kampala, with a guy who barely speaks English and doesn't know where to go, and I can't find JP.  What was I going to do!?  I actually started to get out my phone and was going to go through my papers until hopefully I found a phone number to someone who would know JP's - and figure out how to call it.  Or just go to Red Chilli Restaurant/Hostel or have him take me to the airport.  A million things ran through my head as cars and motorcycles and buses whizzed past us...and still no JP. 
Ha, it probably was only a couple of minutes in reality, but it felt like an eternity.  And then, out of the traffic, I saw JP and his bright shirt.  HALLELUJAH!  I guess they stopped somewhere - or got stuck in traffic?  I don't know, but he wasn't concerned at all, he just passed us and waived us on.  Ugh! 

I made sure THAT didn't happen again.  My driver tried to pass him a few minutes later, and I literally smacked him on the arm and said, "NO!  Stay behind!"  Ha, I think he got the point!

But the panic came again when we got stuck in a major traffic jam.  JP's driver was much better than mine, and weaved in and out of the traffic.  My driver got stuck for awhile and I couldn't see JP anymore...  

Here we go again!!

We eventually caught up to him, as he was turning, thank goodness, and were able to follow him - staying right on his tail- the rest of the way to Kireka...which was a long ways!  We drove through the city forever!  Kampala is a much nicer and cleaner city than Addis.  They even have a nice, green golf course right in the middle of the city!

I think we were getting closer to the outskirts of Kampala, and the area turned pretty rough again.  Bumpy dirt roads (that red dirt that sticks to everything) and people living out of little shacks.  I got pretty good at taking pictures while not holding on to the boda-boda!

A few curves and turns, and we pulled up in front of a building with a big locked gate. 

When we got inside, we sat down in a room that looked like it should have lots of bags and jewelry, but there were only a few hanging on the wall, and a big pile of paper beaded necklaces on the table.  Not going to lie, I was a little disappointed.  I mean, that was supposed to be the highlight for the day!  Getting to see the women making the bags.  I guess I forgot that it was Saturday and they don't work on weekends!  Duh! 

(Pretty excited to dig through this pile of jewelry...)

No worries though.  Peter, the founder of Life in Africa, assured me that I would still get bags!  The women had actually packed almost all of them up and took them to an event going on that day to try and sell them.  He said he would get pick some up and meet me at Red Chili, a little hostel/restaurant place that JP and I were heading to for lunch.  So nice of him!

I did buy a handful of necklaces, a wall hanging, and a little pencil holder for my desk while I was there though!  :)

After a quick tour of the grounds, JP and I set off on boda-bodas again through Kampala.  It was a pretty long ride to Red Chili. 

I about died laughing when I walked through the gates.  I haven't seen one white person the whole time I've been in Uganda, and then, all of a sudden, it was like they were all hiding at this one place!  It was nothing but white tourists -- and a big fat dog!  Probably because they have normal (to us) food, Internet, and SHOWERS.  Makes sense. :)

Before we could sit down and eat, JP wanted to take me to exchange money at a bank or Western Union place.  We had tried yesterday (Friday) but the banks closed earlier than we thought.  So he negotiated a driver for me - he said it was safer to take a car than a boda-boda to a bank  - and also worked in for him to take me to the airport later that afternoon.  For almost $30!  I thought it was a rip-off, but I guess that's the price you pay when you're at a tourist hostel - and the airport is an hour away!

The first place we pulled up to gave me a decent exchange rate - better than the airport anyways - so I handed over my USD and he gave me a giant wad of Ugandan Schillings.  I needed money to buy bags from Peter, and to give JP money for his way back home to Hoima.  (OH - did I mention that JP has a whole brood full of children, and his wife still lives in the Kyangwali Refugee Camp?  I think they have like 4 of their own and adopted 4 or something crazy like that...)

So, back at Red Chili, JP and I ordered food.  I had a grilled ham and cheese sandwich and some Pringles!  Hallelujah for American food, haha!  It was amazing.  Peter still hadn't showed up by the time we were finished eating, so I walked around the place - and just happened to spot a bunch of monkeys chilling under the picnic table outside!  I totally wish we had monkeys hanging out around the US!  How cool would that be!?

I also found the SHOWERS when I was walking around.  I couldn't pass up that opportunity.  It had been days since I showered - unless you count the bathing out of a bowl thing in Hoima! ;)  So I grabbed my bag and told JP I would be quick.  Oh it was glorious.  Not only a shower, but hot water.  Man, do I take that for granted over here.

It felt so, so amazing to be clean again!  I didn't shave my legs, but I washed my hair and put clean clothes on.  That was good enough for me!  By the time I was finished, Peter was there with a stack of bags, aprons, and oven mits.  To say I was excited is an understatement.

I might of went a little overboard and bought like 10 bags or something absurd like that.  But come on, it's for a good cause, and they were cheap!  I'll probably give some away, or might even try selling some of them over here and give the money back to ThinkHumanity.   The apron will probably go to my niece, and the oven mits will be given away, too.  (Lord knows I don't cook enough to use them!)

We didn't have too much time to hang out after all of that.  It was time to take JP to the bus station, and then head to the Entebbe airport.  My trip was finally coming to an end.  Well, kind of.  I still had A LOT of traveling to do!

Once we dropped JP off, I rolled down my window and took a little cat nap.  It was a pretty long drive to the airport, and we got stuck in late afternoon traffic in Kampala.  (I'm beginning to think it is just "all day traffic" in Kampala...)

When we pulled up to the airport, there was a little check point kind fo place at front with a guy in camouflage.  He waived us over to the side, of course.  He was looking at me, so I rolled my window down.  He motioned for me to give him something - or that's what I thought.  I handed him my passport, and he said, "No, you come."  Ummm, excuse me?  You want me to get out of the car right here?  My driver said to get out.  I grabbed my one bag with me - the one with all my personal stuff in it, not knowing what was going on.  He looked me up and down, and then told me to walk up to the scanner thing.  Still outside.  100 feet away.  It's Africa and it's HOT.  Why couldn't I just drive up there?  But my driver had already pulled forward, past that thing.  So off I went.  Handed my bag to a security officer and walked through a metal detector, and that was it.  Good to go.  What in the world was the point of that?  They didn't search any of my other bags.  I guess they thought I looked like the type of person who was going to carry a concealed weapon in to the airport. ??

I asked the gal checking me in there at the airport if they could check my bag all the way through to Washington DC. They said they could! They even said they could  check it all the way to Chicago.  Not sure why Chicago and not KC, but I said I would pick it up in DC. I have a four hour layover there anyways.  Then I looked at my boarding passes and saw that we get in to terminal 2 in Addis - the domestic one - and then depart from terminal 1. On top of not even knowing how I'm going to do that, I am highly doubtful my bag makes it on that flight. We'll see if Ethiopian Airlines can pull it off! :)

Walked through the immigration line - no waiting at all and the guy didn't look at anything. Just stamped my passport. Hung out in the open area for awhile and walked through some of the shops. Nothing was as cool as what I bought from the Acholi women! 

Finally ate some of my candy while waiting - first I've had since I left. Boarded plane on time. Seat was in business class! Sweet! Pretty non-eventful two hour flight in to Addis. 

It was raining in Addis when we landed. And miraculously, my phone decided to work. Didn't work the entire first three days I was there. Thank goodness it did that time though. I had nothing to do but text for awhile. 

Oh, and it was super easy to get from terminal 1 to terminal 2. They had a little walkway over to it. I've just never had to use it. So I think the airline will get my bag to DC now... :)

(While my phone was working, the free wifi at the airport wasn't. Would have been nice to check email. If I remember right, it wasn't working the last time I was in this terminal either.)

Walked around the little stores at the airport for awhile, and bought a cute little pair of strappy sandals.  For $20!  Not a bad deal in the states, but such a rip-off here in Ethiopia!  Oh well, they're cute. :)

Started boarding around 9:30. Couldn't wait to get on there and take some Benadryl. I have some allergy / head stuff going on. Probably from the masses of diesel fumes, pollution, and dirt I've been breathing in for the last week. Really hope it is just allergies and goes away before tomorrow.

Got a window seat and no one next to me! Popping Benadryl, laying down, and hopefully not waking up until we land in Rome to re-fuel in 5.5 hours...


Sent from my iPhone

No comments:

Post a Comment