Uganda Day 18: Getting Ready for the Weekend
Today has been a busy one. I had a bunch of errands to run, especially since we are departing tomorrow for Sipi Falls. But before any of that, I had some work to do. In the morning I went down to my usual spot at La Patisserie and finished making the outline for the section I'm working on. I didn't have time to write it, unfortunately, so that will have to wait until Monday. Shouldn't be too difficult now...just a matter of actually getting words on the page.
Around lunch time I hopped on a boda and headed out to Acacia Mall. It's so much easier to move around this city now that I have the helmet. I don't have to go through the hassle of ordering a SafeBoda, which may or may not arrive. Boda drivers are still trying to charge extra every time I ride one—they jack the prices for foreigners. You can always negotiate them down, but even my negotiated price is still more than the locals pay. It only works out to a few cents or a dollar difference though, so it's not a big deal. It's also difficult to negotiate sometimes, since I actually have no idea how much a boda should cost.
My first stop at Acacia Mall was the MTN store, which is the provider I've been using for my phone. My remaining data had dropped to an alarming level. I bought a larger package this time, now that I have a much better sense of how much data I use (it's a lot). It cost a small fortune, but internet is an absolute necessity.
After MTN I met up with Aliana, and we went for lunch at Cafesserie again. That's three times I've been there now...it's just so convenient, given how often I seem to find myself at Acacia. And it's good every time! I had a steak sandwich, which was excellent:
The main reason we met up today was to work out the details for our trip this weekend. As I mentioned yesterday, we're heading up to a place called Sipi Falls tomorrow, which is about five hours from Kampala. Apparently it's beautiful there. We'll probably spend most of our time hiking and relaxing.
So here's the plan: Tomorrow morning we are meeting at the bus terminal at 9. We need to catch a coach to Mbale, which is a town about 4 hours away. Apparently one particular company, YY Coaches, is the best, so we're going to try to get on one of those. When we get to Mbale, we then have to hire a taxi to take us the rest of the way to the lodge, which should be about an hour. We're staying at a place called Sipi River Lodge. If everything goes according to plan, we should be there by about 3 or 4. It's difficult to say for sure though. The coaches wait in the terminal until they've filled up, so our timing will probably depend on how many other people are going to Mbale at the same time.
With any amount of luck, tomorrow evening we'll be relaxing by Sipi Falls. For all my people back home in Canada, a couple of things you should know. For one, I'm fairly certain that we should have cell coverage out there, but there's a chance that we won't, so I may be inaccessible for the weekend. In other words, if you don't hear from me, don't worry. Second, apparently the electricity isn't terribly reliable. So even if we have cell coverage, if my phone dies and the power is out at the same time, I won't be able to charge it. Again, moral of the story: radio silence is a possibility this weekend. Such is the price of relaxation, I suppose.
We're aiming to be back in Kampala before dark on Sunday, but anything could happen, since we'll be doing the taxi and coach in reverse. I think we'll probably stay for lunch (since the price includes full board) and head out shortly after.
I suppose this will also be the first break in my daily blogging. Rather than write one every day while I'm there and pray that the internet is functioning, I'm just going to write one covering the whole weekend when I get back. It's not really skipping any days, since I'll still be talking about all of them—just all at once. Hopefully I'll have more to tell you about than just the food! Though it is full board, so we'll see. Apparently we get breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, AND dinner. What more could you ask for?
That's it for tonight, I think. I have to go and figure out how and what to pack. I was hoping just to bring a backpack, but my camera effectively makes that impossible. I'll probably have to take my carry-on suitcase, which is not ideal, but at least I can lock it. Here's hoping my camera makes it back with me!
Alright, wish us luck. I'll be back to the blog in a few days!