Up early, had breakfast, and went looking for a phone. Tried to call home, but just couldn't seem to find an international line. Guess I'll have to try from Kampala. Spent a frantic 45 minutes on the internet trying to at least read the new stuff. Rushed to meet Henry (my taxi driver) and get to the airport thirty five minutes before the scheduled departure - none of the two hours early for international flights here!
After a twenty minute wait on the runway the rest of the flight went smoothly. The clouds began to clear just as we started to pass over Lake Victoria - it is big. At the airport I finally opted to take a private hire taxi - it's expensive, but dealing with my expanded luggage would be very much a pain any other way. The drive was beautiful - Uganda is an incredibly green country. There are bananna trees everywhere giving the countryside a very tropical feel. In Kampala found a reasonably nice if basic guest house and checked in.
Walked around central Kampala. The city center isn't really distinguishable from any other city. The ride into the city showed lot's of green, but it seems to be mostly absent from the center. I went to a safari company to see what could be done about the gorillas. There are permits available for Bwindi early next week - but they're expensive: US$300 ($250 straight from the park office). Getting there is also difficult as the daily bus isn't running daily. I'll go, but I'm going to put off until tomorrow to commit to a day. Had a nice lunch at a Chinese restaurant - it was great, except as usual I was reminded of how disappointing dinning on my own is - think I'll stick to street food.
Walked around the central market - just outside my guest house! Strangely enough it seems to specialize in shoes. Everyone is very friendly, but one thing is already starting to bother me, just like West Africa, everyone calls you the local equivalent of "White Person" - except here it's Mazingo (in W. Africa it was Toubab or Toubabo). They did the same thing in Kenya and Tanzania but not nearly this much - I feel like I'm being called boy, and at times it's hard to maintain the proper attitude. I really think people are just trying to be friendly, but that makes it worse. Did learn that busses don't run on Sunday. That means I have to go to Bwindi tomorrow sans permit - hoping I can get one there, or wait until Monday - which might be a bit tight on my schedule.
Went out to the sports bar Just Kicking - it's a way out of the center, and quite difficult to find with local help, but eventually made it. I was supposed to meet Michael (met in Zanzibar) here. Had a beer, the two more, found my self actually watching Wimbledon! Was about to leave when finally he showed up. Met lots of people - many who I'd met on my own anyway - and had a couple more beers, but really didn't learn anything I wanted to (i.e. how to get to Bwindi easily or when the rafting trips leave). My current plan is to try and catch a rafting trip on Sunday, then leave for Bwindi on Monday - backwards from what I originally planned, but it seems likely that there will be a raft trip on Sunday and a bus on Monday - and it gives me some slack if I don't see the gorillas the first day. Back in bed around one.