I am loving Uganda! The people have been incredibly nice, and actually wanting to help us! The kids still sometimes say hi, but with a smile, authentic attempt at just saying hi! Who would have thought. None of them have tried following us. None asking for anything. Just saying hi. Actually many of the Ugandans, kids or not, say hi. As if to welcome us to their homes. Maybe Ethiopia has made me excited at simple things, but this is wonderful. I'm still getting gender mix ups, but none of which have made me feel awkward or judged.
Our walk around Entebbe started off very positive and light, but after 2 hours of me expressing my hunger and not finding anywhere that serves breakfast, I got slightly frustrated. It's hot, humid, and I'm hungry! We're not used to this heat and humidity in the morning, we actually had our sweaters on in the morning in Ethiopia because of the altitude, temperatures dropped at night. Here, it's 9am and we're already sweating. Water was available everywhere in Ethiopia, you couldn't pass 2 shops without water bottles being sold. Here I actually walked 3-4 blocks before finding someone who sold small bottles of water, odd.
In case it was too much suspense for you, we found food, lots of little street vendors set up in front of a construction zone. I got to try my first chapati, and I loved it! Rolex (eggs rolled into a chapati), also amazing breakfast! We finally got to the botanical gardens, and they were so worth it! As soon as you come in, you spot the area all the monkeys hang out in, we just sat with them for like 30 minutes while they played around us...
The walk through these gardens brought us through incredible trees and tropical like forests, to the water front of Lake Victoria. Peaceful and wonderful. We had to eventually boda boda (motorcycle taxi) back to our hostel because Jack was exhausted, it was her first full day out since she was sick.... Well full, it was 1pm. But she did amazing! This same boda driver waiting while we grabbed our bags from the hostel to head out to the pier where we would head to the Ssese Islands. The 3.5 hour ferry ride should be relaxing enough for Jack... Lol.
We bought the second class tickets, having read there's no real difference between first and second... Of course once on the boat, there's no signage as to which is where, so we make ourself comfy on a seat, the rest of the seats fill up, and just before leaving they come around checking tickets, and sure enough we're in the wrong section. There's no seats left in our section. Damn.
Eventually people were curious to see outside and get some fresh air so we score 1.5 seats. Jack sat down, exhausted, and I get half a butt cheek on. Just enough to be able to read my book, and watch the bags as she slept with her head against the table. She's absolutely amazing in her abilities to sleep anywhere, anyhow. Again, the people on the boat, no stairs, no awkwardness. The people on our bench squished in to make space for us. Honestly wonderful people. Some saying hi, trying to practice whatever English they can manage, some of which actually welcomed us, and said "I hope you like Uganda" or "you will love Uganda". I do already.
Ssese islands, more specifically Baggala Island, was peaceful, beautiful, and welcoming. We arrived at the dock and there was literally a line up of women with signs from all their accommodations. Jack and I started from opposite ends, asking each of them about their options. There was about 10. Turns out, literally the first place to our right, where we had already wanted to check out since we could see it from the pier, was the least expensive. A third of the next best price actually. Camping it is! They had these strong, sturdy tents up, with an actual running shower and flushing toilet... Seems like a lot of luxury for such a tiny, not developed town at all! We've gathered, Uganda and Ethiopia are very different, different in its people, in its weather, in its religion, in its humidity, but also in it's finances! Uganda has money. For 30,000 shillings (12$CAD) we had flushing toilets and a running shower!
No actual beach at our camp site despite being at the water front, but we had read that we could just go to the nicer ground places and pay for pool access. Walking through the downtown (which is a funny statement if you look at the picture), we got some local food and met a man that would take us on a tour the next day! The food, which was the only thing this particular place sold, was boiled plantain, white rice and a fried fish. Mmm mm good. Surprising what I'll allow myself to eat when I'm travelling. FYI Jack and I have been sharing every meal since day 3 of our trip. Portions are huge. We have yet to pay for 2 meals in a restaurant. Not a budget question, there's just too much food... And kind of a budget question....
Because of Jack's rencent stint in bed, we were both looking to get active, and not just lounge on a beach or pool side all day, so we got Abraham Thompson (awesome name) to tour us around the island from his motorbike. The whole tour brought me back to the day my dad and I spent riding in the Gatineau hills, he brought me for ice cream, I always remembered that day so fondly... 4 hours with this guy, we saw a pineapple farm, palm tree plantations for palm oil, a mini cave in which a "medium" stayed and helped communicate with spirits of the dead ancestors (an ancient religion here, still practiced by some), some view points, some villages, fishermen prepping their boats and nets... Abraham was able to explain everything, it was fascinating. He drops us off at the resort next to ours where we paid for their pool access (after bargaining it down of course) and had a late, but wonderful lunch while enjoying the water and the sun by the lake side! Absolutely beautiful day.
We watched the sunset from the pier, having brought over our lawn chairs from the camp site and bought a beer in town. Talk about québecer! Lawn chairs and beers on the pier. Beautiful sunset. To finish the night off, like the previous night, our Lovely King Fisher camp site staff made us a bonfire. Just for us 2. 4 employees running around every time we just mentioning wanting something. At the fire Jack mentioned to me she'd like some tea. Next thing you know, there's a kettle on the fire and we're served fresh ginger and African mint... Perfect! I did some laundry using the buckets that were left in the shower, and they ran over with laundry soap. Funny bunch. All for a whopping 30,000 shillings (12$CAD), after negotiating from 40,000 of course.
Fantastic staff, fantastic people, and a true rural Ugandan experience.Read more