Entebbe Travel Blog

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I decided to write a little now that I have a SMALL window of opportunity to do so.  I of course arrived in Entebbe, Uganda, with little hassle, except for the fact that no one came to pick me up at the airport for an hour or so. I arrived nice and tired, so the first night I slept pretty well. Of course than the jet lag came knocking, and knocking and knocking and FINALLY is starting to go away. It’s a 7 hour time difference, and as everyone knows with my “odd” home time off schedule makes it even worse. Our schedule here is to go to bed at 10 or 11 (back home 3PM or 4PM) and getting up at 0500 (back home 10PM). But like I said after about a week my body is starting to get the hang of it.

I managed to hit the gym the first few days, while the other supervisor was here and had everything nice and tidy for me, so I BLINDLY kicked back and enjoyed things. Then about Good Friday everything started pilling up in front of me like a bulldozer in a trash dump….or a cow gate on a locomotive…you get the picture. We started to fly 6 hours a day, which means processing for another 4 plus reports and logs to send out for another 2, and then prep for the next day survey and so on.  Of course, then there’s the administrative stuff, i.e. bill paying and import and export paperwork, and government official meetings, and client meetings, and just in general people with there hand out demanding money. So once the bulldozer stopped pushing on thru, everything went haywire. To make this seemingly long story short, I was starting to stress out. The money here is Uganda Shillings, and the exchange rate is about 2000 shillings (USX) to the dollar.  Well the price of things here isn’t much different than in the states. Our generator we have we pay $500 per week in advance CASH only of course, which comes to a nice round 1 Million USX. So go to the bank and get out 400,000 MAX per withdrawal, do that 3 times, then run like hell back to the car and be THANKFUL that guy is sitting outside with an AK47 on his lap. Of course you pay the 1 million and find out you owe 2 other people 550,000 and 200,000…and on  and on and on. So daily I make trips to the bank for 3 transactions sometimes 4 of 400,000. Well then in steps my bank…FRAUD on the ATM..cancel all transactions and call us….in any case it’s cleared up now.

So now that I’m almost all caught up, it starts all over again for the next week. The crew is fun, a bit too much babysitting on the finance side of things, asking for petrol for the car, credit for their cell phones, pay my laundry, pay for my paper towels….blah blah blah…..lol. Thankfully the hotel isn’t too bad. Well except for the ALIEN shower stall, that NO ONE can work…so you start the shower 20 minutes before entering, quickly open the door as the shower points directly OUT the door onto the bathroom floor, and of course a non-directionally-adjustable shower head…what else….hop in, and stand the hell out of the way…apparently ice CAN be a liquid…no wait…LAVA does come in the form of water….no wait make that liquid ice…molten lava water…..etc etc..you get the point. So at least it is “frequency based change” that allows you time to get under and get out of in a gentle freaking rhythm.  So I figure I got this shower LICKED…(not literally that would be gross) so I start it, and take my 20 minute email check, and decide ok, that’s about enough time, and walk into the bathroom about 1mm from having Niagara falls open the shower door…..now WHY would you have a drain plug in a shower stall!! Cause it’s Africa I guess. Oh yeah and the power at the hotel (I think in the entire country of Uganda) is very efficient, apparently so much so that every few hours, they shut it down for periods of 20 seconds over a couple hours. THANKFULLY, the elevator has a glass view over the 6 floor open lobby, so when you get stuck in it, you can enjoy the view, with a HUGE glass roof too, well except for the 2 broken glass panels…but at least when it does start working again everyone outside waiting to get in feels obliged to stampede you into the back corner, pressed up against the glass like a Mr. Bean movie, with enough breath left in you to say, “ahhh this is my floor!!”

It’s not too bad in all seriousness. You get used to the little quirks that make it Africa and you have to learn to slow down. Well unless your driving in which case SLOW means foreigner who cannot drive. SO they drive on the WRONG side of the road here, with tiny motorbike taxis by the swarming thousands, and cars that pass 3 wide on a 2 lane road coming head on at high speeds honking cause you’re a foreigner and they want to scare you into submission….so you slow down and try hard NOT to move over out of there way so that you don’t take out the family of 5 on the single seat bicycle riding next to you on the berm, talking with their neighbors (family of 6), walking next to them yelling at the stray dog, scurrying with his tail between his legs into traffic avoiding the “volcanic crater” known as a pothole he just saw you loose your rear axle in…while soaking the entire family of 5 on the bicycle!  SO in the UNLIKELY even that you’re in an accident, it is advised that IF you hurt someone seriously, you DO NOT STOP, because the growing spectators will turn MOB and ensure equal punishment to you, which ranges from a severe beating to death! Instead, drive like hell to the nearest police station and tell them what happened. That is just SO AGAINST the grain, we just hope it never happens, so we just drive like slow foreigners everywhere we go, 10 and 2, chewing on the steering wheel. And when you do finally arrive at your destination you inadvertently RIP the turn signal stick from the dashboard, cause you thought it was the gear shifter, but alas it’s on the left side….dumbarse.

The food has been good, a decent variety. Nile perch and Tilapia grilled WHOLE is quite nice. The hotel has a buffet everyday and good coffee for the morning. There is a pizza place down by the beach, which is a beautiful spot for lunch.  The beer is cold and the malaria medicine is salty…lol..not really, the beer kills the medicine taste. The mosquitos aren’t as bad as home in the summer season, not yet at least. You can’t avoid getting bitten though, unless you wear 99% deet all the time, which isn’t good. The spiders we just don’t talk about, and if we don’t see them in the car its ok, we have a mutual agreement, if they leave you alone while driving, they are allowed to fall on you when walking out the hangar door at 0530 in the morning….btw I have an idea for the perfect, most effective alarm clock in the entire world!

So, work is keeping me busy, too busy actually, so I apologize for not keeping in touch more. It’s getting late now…lol…about 1030, for me that’s funny….but for here it’s late, and I need my rest.  Hope all is well back home, and I’ll touch base with everyone when I get another chance…or in this case, just put off work and make it happen…but don’t tell.

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photo by: AgniAgni