9/21/09: Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda
Sometimes it’s good to take a day off. Today we did just that. We did laundry, caught up with the blog, read, and I wrote in my journal. In Africa though, even in days off, we experience many things unlike we ever have before. A few highlights from today:
Laundry: Drying laundry is a pain in the butt in a country where it rains nearly every hour. (I’m still not sure how we made it through the Gorilla Trek with such good weather. We’ve already moved our clothes three times today to avoid the intermittent thunderstorms. Nothing’s dry.
Lunch money: In America, you are given a bill detailing how much you owe after a meal. Not here. After our lunch, I asked the waiter how much we owed him for the food. “20,000 shillings,” came the reply. I knew for a fact that this was incorrect, so I pulled him closer and walked through the meal with him item by item. We owed 15,500 (approximately $8.25).
This reminds me of another interesting habit of many people here in Uganda. If you owe 15,500 Ugandan shillings, and give them a 20,000 shilling bill, they will immediately state that they don’t have change. However, if you talk to them for a while and butter them up a little, they’ll pull a huge wad of cash out of their pocket, clearly having enough change to buy a goat.
Dinner dancing: Before dinner, a large group of children came to the campsite and began singing, dancing and playing drums. They continued to do so for about half an hour, pulling in people from the growing audience to dance with them. We would later find out that the children were from an orphanage over an hour’s walk away. The skies opened up midway through their dance, but it didn’t faze them at all.
Dinner: At this particular campgrounds restaurant, there is bold print at the bottom of each menu telling the customer to expect a wait of 15 – 60 minutes for the food to be prepared. Apparently 60 African minutes is the equivalent of 150 American minutes, as several people at our table weren’t served for 2.5 hours.
During the long wait for dinner, a familiar sight came on the TV at the bar here. I nearly jumped out of my pants when I saw it.
In the middle of the African jungle thousands of miles from home, this was my first reminder of life in the States. As nice as it was though, I’m nowhere near ready to go back. (Which is good, I suppose, since we still have over ten months left on our trip…)
Picture of the Day: Nowhere else in the world can you jump into the East side of Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda from a platform over 20 feet above the water’s surface.