Friday, February 22, 2013

Kampala, Uganda

Feb. 21st and 22nd.

Caught a minibus from the car park for the 45 minute ride to Kampala. Crammed into a minivan with 12 other people. Kampala has over 1.5 million people and is built on 7 hills. It was very beautiful while driving through the city but mostly people all of the money resides on the hills and the lesser fortunate are in the lower lands.

Upon being dropped of by the minivan, a motorcycle taxi (boda boda) quickly asked me where I needed to go. He asked for 10,000 Uganda shillings and we settled at 7000. He asked a few people where it was and I knew I had chosen too quickly. At an intersection a traffic policeman stopped all traffic but my driver decided to take a quick left and pulled out right in front of an army convoy. Needless to say the traffic police were not happy and quickly caught up with us, impounded the motorcycle and detained the young driver.....and told me to find another ride. Luckily the person next to me said he would take me to Red Chilli Hideaway and he knew where it was. We settled on 5000 Uganda shillings. I made it without further incident and since I did not have to pay the first driver, save 2000 shillings in the process and had a story to tell. 

Really nice hostel. Staying in an 8 bed dorm but nice group mostly of Canadian and Australia girls. I booked the Big 5 tour to Murchison Falls which includes a game drive in the most popular national park, a game cruise and a walking safari along with a hike up to top of Murchison Falls. Also, includes a visit to the Rhino Sanctuary where they have 8 white rhinos. Everything I had planned to do in a week in 3 days instead and only $325 for everything except food.

The next day I took a boda boda (motorcycle taxi) to the Uganda Wildlife Authority to get my Gorilla Trekking Permit. ($500). As I counted out the (5) $100 bills for the payment she inspected them and asked if I had a different $100 bill since one was before 2006. I knew they had to be before 2006 and had asked the bank for bills only after 2006. My fault for not checking. I had more bills back in the hostel safe but that would require another trip. She looked at me and said she would make an exception. Yeah.

March 5, 2013 Gorilla Tracking is set. Expecting another life changing moment.   

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