November 9, 2014
We woke up to the sounds of a nearby mosque singing the morning prayers at 5 AM. We had breakfast and said our goodbyes. We’re off to Kampala to pick up our luggage. We stopped to take a photo of a baboon sitting in the road. We headed north out of Kibale and passed through Ft. Portal where we turned east on A109. We also passed through Kyenjojo, Matiri, Kyegegwa, Mubende, Mityana, Bujuko, Buloba, Bulenga, Busega, and finally made it to Kampala.
As we passed through these little villages, we passed many people walking to and from church. There are lots of furniture stores, with furniture sets outside. It seems so dusty and I wonder what they do when it rains. I suppose they get covered with tarps right away. Once again, we see all of the colorful metal bunk beds in doubles and triples. A triple bunk bed is something we don’t see at home! People were transporting water, banana beer or banana gin in large yellow 4 liter containers. We saw a roadside stand with small containers and a funnel. I asked Rogers about this and he thinks they were selling small quantities of petrol or perhaps banana gin. He indicates that it might be illegal to do that, but people will try to get away with it. We also see a tawny eagle snatching a mouse on the shoulder of the road. People take a lot of pride in their cars and motorcycles. We frequently see them pulled off the side of the road and the owner washing their vehicle using drainage ditch water and rags. Once again, women are washing clothes in the river and laying them out on bushes or rocks to dry. Then we saw the most amazing sight – a man transporting a red love seat strapped to the back of his motorcycle. A little farther up the road, we saw another motorcycle with the two matching upholstered chairs, nested and strapped on to it. Wow! Rogers said, that sometimes people will buy new furniture, because they will be inviting their families to their homes at Christmas and it is a sign of success to have new furniture. We made it to Kampala, picked up our luggage from the Fairway Inn, and explained that our plans had changed and we headed off to Intebbe, where Rogers and Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp had arranged new accommodations for us at Carpe Diem Guest House. As we came into the city, the traffic was even more congested. We even saw a cow eating beside the road in the city; it was really out of place. Then, we saw something that really made us laugh. A passenger on a motorcycle was carrying a mirror, about 3 ½’ x 3’ on his lap. It was a weird optical illusion, as the driver was in front of him, but all we could see was the reflection of the passenger with the mirror! It was such crazy traffic that we wondered if the mirror would arrive in one piece. We passed the same grasshopper gathering sheet metal business that we had seen when we came to Intebbe, November 3. We asked Rogers if he enjoyed eating the grasshopper snacks. He laughed and said, “No. In his tribe, the grasshopper is their totem, so they don’t eat it.” Hmm. The different cultures are very interesting. Traffic was heavy, and it took us all day to get to our hotel, Carpe Diem Guest House. We sat and talked to the owner, a young woman from the UK that married a local man and is expecting a baby. We discussed a plan to replace the whitewater rafting trip on the Nile that we had had to scrap due to time restraints. We settled on going in a wooden boat to see if we could find the rare shoebill stork in the Mabamba Swamp. Actually, we had never heard of the shoebill, but apparently it’s a big deal in the birding community. It sounded like fun. We got settled into our very nice room, and took a bath. Then, we had a nice dinner. Mark had a t-bone steak and I had crumbed tilapia, and we shared a brownie with ice cream and a bottle of Leopards Leap Merlot, 2011. This was special to us as we had made a batch of Stags Leap Merlot last spring (with Tony & Shelly Fisher) at Water to Wine in Denver, and had created a label for our 19 bottles, showing Mark swinging off the Diamant sail boat, when we were in the Grenadines, celebrating our 10th anniversary. We took a 360 degree time-lapse video and then decided that we should take a time-lapse of the sunset over Lake Victoria. Interestingly, this bed & breakfast is only about a block from the Executive Hotel, where we stayed our first night in Intebbe. It was about $20 more, but so much nicer. Our room is quite warm, but we have two fans. We slept with the windows open and a net over the bed. We got an 8 ½ hour sleep. We needed it! ~ Mary & Mark
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