On the Shores of Lake Victoria, Entebbe, Uganda

When we woke up today the music from the disco was still blaring away. Don’t know what the management was thinking because I certainly didn’t see anyone dancing at 6:00 a.m! We jumped in the truck and made the thirty minute drive to Kampala and made a bee line to the Sheraton Hotel for breakfast. After all of us had been not eating that well through Zaire, an all you could eat breakfast at the Sheraton on Boxing Day was something like a God-send. For a mere Sh10,500 (US$9.70) you got everything your heart desired – including a chef to cook you as many omelets as you could eat. Plus you even got things you hadn’t seen in weeks: cheese, bacon, fresh fruit that wasn’t bruised, milk and even apple juice! Every single person on our safari truck pulled out the plastic and charged breakfast as a special Christmas treat. In addition, we were all ravenous from our week prior in Zaire.

After breaky I headed to the Telecom Center and picked up the special AT&T phone they’d come to personally install in this office. Pick up the phone and twenty seconds later you’re talking to an AT&T operator. Nice touch – thanks guys! Talked to the family at 1:00 a.m. California still technically Christmas and told them a bit about what we were up to. The next call was to the U.S. Embassy to see what the Kenyan situation was all about. The dude at the embassy said there was an official travellers advisory out stating that U.S. citizens should not go to Kenya due to possible political unrest as a result of the upcoming election. Good to know, but I didn’t want to spend any more money flying to Nairobi when our truck would be there in a few days.

Back to the truck where we travelled through western Uganda to Jinja, famous because it’s the source of the Nile, at Lake Victoria. The hotel was just down the road, and in keeping with our theme of “the colonial tour of Africa” our truck pulled into the driveway of the hotel, we drove the truck around the landscaped traffic circle as though we were inspecting the place before we’d actually show our faces. After the “inspection” we piled out of the truck and immediately set up our tents right in the middle of the landscaped traffic circle, with the best grass we’d seen in weeks – perfect for camping.

We all were ready to party a bit more since we’d all been so tired on Christmas Day proper, so we headed into the hotel bar and started drinking once again. Dinner time rolled around and our safari truck signed up for the all you can eat BBQ out on the patio. After eating them out of house and home (we ate all the food they’d brought out to cook) we watched some traditional dancing and had more drinks before crawling into the tent to go to sleep. We are to leave for Kenya tomorrow so I’ll do some journal housecleaning here.

UGANDA NOTES: When we first entered Uganda from Zaire we were all stressed from our experience with the soldiers so we didn’t notice the locals’ change in attitudes once we’d crossed the border. Uganda has suffered some horrible war atrocities under Idi Amin. Since the war ended in 1986 the people have become so happy. Just knowing that most people we came in contact with had lived through the atrocities of the was an interesting feeling, but the demeanor of the locals is what struck me the most.

The Ugandans are the happiest people – even six years after their war ended. Every person you’d smile at would return the same smile back to you tenfold. You could actually feel the relief of the people – feel how happy they were to be able to have normal lives again. It was actually a real pleasure to wave and smile at the people from the truck because you’d get more than you gave in return and you could actually feel the sense of relief these people had. Now they could move forward again and get Uganda moving again.

The Railway Motel in Kigoma, Tanzania – In true African form, at breakfast over the course of a few days we’d keep noticing these white bits floating in our tea. I would just skim them out with my spoon because I really enjoy my cups of tea – when I could get them. One morning I actually looked at what I thought had been the skin from the bottled milk that had been poured into the tea – it wasn’t milk skin, I’ll tell you that. I’d gotten rather a large clump this particular morning and after examining it I passed it over to Rich. We figured out that the cooks had been making our poached eggs for breakfast, but due to the lack of power, or whatever, they’d just use the hot water the eggs had been cooked in to make our morning tea. The ‘milk skin’ I’d been fishing out of my tea was actually egg white from everyone else’s breakfast. Gross – but remember, it’s Africa and I’d rather have a cup of tea in the morning than no cup of tea at all.

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