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Published: June 25th 2017
Geo: 0.314269, 32.5729
I had a great seatmate in Alan Peaford on the ride from Istanbul to Kigali. He has a long career in middle east affairs in the way of journalism. The flight stopped in Kigali to refuel where he disembarked. We continued on for an hour to Entebbe (Kampala, Uganda).
I breezed through immigration in just 5 minutes after handing over $50 to cover my pre-arranged tourist visa. My driver Eli was waiting for me outside the arrivals hall and thankfully led me away from the crowd of questionable taxi touts. Eli began driving the 2 hours to Jinja town where I wanted to spend the morning. We talked for over an hour about life in Uganda and our own personal background. After a time I feel asleep as he kept driving through the pre-dawn hours. We arrived at the Java House in Jinja around 6am.
Java House is probably the nicest general eatery in Jinja and we had a tasty and safe looking breakfast. Eli wanted to drive me around town more but I was itching to see things slowly and firsthand so I told him I'd walk for a while and text him when I needed to be picked up.
walked south along the main road into town among throngs of children on their way to school. The weather was generally cool and dry and the sun still low or behind the hills. Traffic was light, and I managed to stay safely on the "sidewalk". I walked for about an hour, dodging onto side streets at times, or following an interesting street vendor. Once or twice I had to reverse course due to Google maps not matching facts on the ground. I made it to Main St and walked unmolested past all of the tourist shops that had not yet opened for the day. Eventually I made it to the far south of town bordering Lake Victoria and turned west, curving along the coast. Between the road and the lake was the golf course, not a bad course really. Wide open and poor grass but I witnessed at least a half-dozen golfers.
Eventually I tired out and texted Eli. He picked me up and we went to the nearby touristy attraction "Source of the Nile". I've read many of explorer Stanley's journals, including Through the Dark Continent where he circumnavigated the lake to prove that the only outflow was Ripon Falls
which begins the Nile river. I took a boat tour with Eli and his ex-girlfriend leading the tour. We sailed over to the far side of the river and looked for monitor lizards. We ended up seeing many interesting birds. They took me over to the little island closest to the Nile zero mile-marker where I got a few touristy pictures.
After the boat ride Eli and I stopped to get some water, local currency and some cough drops (70 cents). Then I directed him to return me to my friend Chris' house in Kampala. We averaged around 25mph for the 50 mile drive, most of which I slept through.
At Chris', I let myself in with a hidden key, showered up, and took a solid 3 hour nap to recharge. Nearby his place was the upscale Acacia Mall where I had some lemon gelato and bought some sudafed for my cold. Chris met me soon after and we went back to his place to clean up and then to an expat social event followed by dinner at an Indian restaurant.
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