Continuing on from the last post… We’re in the bustling market maze of Kampala. Loved all the peanut butter and taking pictures of different spices, chickens in cages stacked 10 high, shoes by the tons, kids things, etc…It was all practical things and not any crafting type items that we were hoping to see. Lindsay did come across something else she wants… a black baby. We stopped at one stall to look at fabrics and after a while of browsing a little old lady came over with what I assume is her little baby granddaughter, about a year old, to say hi. Lindsay was smitten and after a little bit of playing asked if she could hold her so she did. It was cute and the few folks around were watching quite intently, either they though it was cute too or were making fun of the Muzungus, we’re not sure. We gave the child back, to Lindsay’s chigrin, and moved on to the next little stall. However as soon as we were away the baby started crying again so the grandmother rushed back over and gave the baby to Lindsay again. It stopped crying right away which was good, but just after I took a picture she started to cry again and nobody could soothe her at that point.
We left and made it to a bean/nut/spice stall where a portly and very friendly Ugandan named Innocent chatted with us about life and where we were from. Eventually I bought some peanuts from him, as I have been wanting to walk and munch on them, and took his picture. He sold me a quarter kilo of nuts and then we left. Just after leaving I opened the bag and ate a handful. Gross. Apparently peanuts need to be roasted first or it’s kind of like eating fresh tree. So I’ll see if the hostel can roast them for me so I can actually enjoy Innocent’s nuts 😉
At about this time Lindsay was done with the space and claustrophobia of the market although I could have stayed much longer taking as many pictures as people were willing to let me take. We walked up the street, having miraculously came out of the market on the downtown side of it, not sure how that happened. Then we attempted a little bit of fabric shopping for Lindsay, but to no avail as the stores want to sell you the whole 12 metres instead of cutting you sections of 2 metres. But, they have little 2 metre sections of some cloth they will sell you, but how did they magically come to be 2 metres if you won’t cut anything???
I really wanted to get on top of a motel or something to look down upon the taxi park and take some pictures and video. In the end we climbed up into a ‘mall’ like building and found a balcony a few floors up to watch the chaos. It was awesome. The best part was when it started to rain and you could see people packing up stalls, covering things over and running like ants for cover. The few people that came out to sell were magically the umbrella merchants which probably do good business at this time of day. I look forward to watching the video and seeing the photos I shot as I was able to zoom in and get shots of daily life without people stopping what they were doing to look at me.
The rain was fairly light so we walked off and tried to get some money at the Barclay’s bank. It won’t work in Uganda for us. However, as we were there it started to pour. Really really pour so we hid out in the atm booth with about 8 Ugandans for 30 minutes until we decided we needed to head out in it to get to some banks and see what was playing at the National theatre. This was a lot of rain. When you stepped on the street to cross it, it flowed over your foot and soaked you. It was intense and never let up. I can see how flooding could be an issue of you live at the bottom of the hill it was all flowing towards. The exceptionally large drainage ditches also make sense for just this purpose.
So we made it down the street to a very large Stanbic bank, the only kind that works in this country for us. We passed the horde of people hiding from the rain on the steps, which according to the sign you are not allowed to loiter on, and got ourselves a bunch more cash for paying for our upcoming Murchison Falls trip. We were now carrying almost a million shillings! $400 USD or so and still needing more for the trip so we’ll get some more tomorrow.
As the rain started to die down we made it to the National Theatre and checked out what was playing this weekend. Low and behold tonight was a Ugandand production of Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat. The poster looked quite hilarious and fun and only 15,000 ($6) for tickets. We contemplated it but were pretty tired from the day so we headed for some dinner instead. Just down the street was an Indian restaurant from the guide so we went in there and had some Indian food. Lindsay really can’t eat much in these places so ended up having samosas that were still too spicy for her and garlic naan which wasn’t what she was thinking of as the garlic is literally spread and cooked on to the top of it. I enjoyed some sort of platter name that I can’t remember which was spicy and tasty.
The real adventure came when we left. We started looking for an Internet cafe but after a bunch of walking around in was starting to get dark and since the sun sets in like 20 minutes here we decided to take a Boda-Boda home. That was fun and scary at the same time. We both hopped on one boda so there was 3 of us on the machine. It was rush hour. This is a problem for cars, but not for boda boda drivers. The sidewalk is a perfect place to drive, so that’s what we did until we made it to the big traffic circle. Then we slowly creeped out into the middle of the intersection so we could get hit from all sides even though the traffic cops were not letting our side through. It seems like boda boda guys don’t obey or have to obey normal traffic rules and get away with anything. I closed my eyes a few times and hoped for the best. This guy also hit the massive speed bumps a little too fast for 3 people so I almost fell off the back once until I changed my grip and held onto Lindsay. I wish I had a picture of us riding this thing. It was quite an exhilarating trip and we’ll do it again tomorrow to get home I’m sure. We thankfully made it to Red Chilli and I ended up giving him an extra 1000 because he was funny, nice, and didn’t get us killed on the way back. It got dark about halfway back which made the trip a whole new experience.
Once in Red Chilli we were tired, so sat back, grabbed a drink, put down the money we collected against our trip and then headed to bed. What an awesome day. So far Kampala is tied for my favourite city and Uganda is definitely working its way up to best country. Tomorrow we plan to do the food market and some craft market shopping.