And so goes how I spend my days in Kampala, calculating the cost of everything with the view that my money has to last me until July at the very least. It has been T + 15 days since I arrived in Kampala and I can now officially say that my patience is running thin. T.I.A. or no T.I.A.
The office is not ready. I saw it on Thursday after repeated promises that “3 or 4 more days” (calculate how many times that has been said to me in 2 weeks) it would be done. If you’d put me there all it needed was light fixtures, wiring electricity in and moving in some furniture, moving out the painting equipment. I understand and have been told time and again that the pace of life in Uganda is leisurely, but I was past leisurely last weekend.
So what to do, having finished two novels and reread Pride and Prejudice out of desperation in my entire days spent lolling around Red Chilli Backpackers.
Last night, by this very computer that you will see me at most days (though not of my choosing), a very pleasant man offered some very inspirational conversation.
And so this morning I took a matatu (minibus taxi, aka the only and cheapest form of public transport), then a boda-boda (life-endangering motorcycle taxi) to the Rwandan embassy, handed over my passport and 50 000USh for a visa. And then somehow made it through the city centre’s sweat, dust and crush of humanity to a bus agency and argued my way into getting a bus ticket to Kigali for Friday morning, 1 am. If all goes to plan I’ll be in Kigali in time for breakfast. Wow. I think that’s my birthday present to myself.
No guidebook, too expensive (6 nights in a dorm!!) so I’m borrowing as many people’s Lonely Planet’s and scribbling furiously as I can get my hands on. Unfortunately I have a terrible memory for maps, so I suppose it will be a great opportunity to practice my deplorable French in getting around.
In the meantime, I shall have to somehow eat cold baked beans on toast as the gas stove in the dorm has run out of gas for two days and no amount of genteel enquiry will get it sorted. I’ve been told by so many people working/living in Africa that you have to be firm and well, insistent but not angry to get what you want. It worked at the bus ticketing office (they couldn’t count past today (Monday) and told me to come back to get a ticket for Friday. Silly. The only thing they hawk there is bus tickets so I confused him into submission)
More forcefulness is required. A zen-like forcefulness. I practice being pissed off with a smile. Maybe it’ll work. And also practice “ou est l’hotel gloria?”