Monday, January 21, 2013
Here is a link to our hotel's website - http://www.spekehotel.com/. I think it's pretty luxurious.... we have individual air conditioning units which work amazingly well. I actually woke up cold and had to turn it off - a much nicer option than being too hot to sleep.
We went to a craft market not far from the hotel. It wasn't very big - probably about a dozen or 15 stalls but they had some beautiful wares for sale. There were musical instruments, clothing, art, jewelry, beads, toys, knives.... much of it was obviously handmade. Each stall was overflowing with items, it was hard not to become overwhelmed by the selection.
As we were in the market, it started to rain. The droplets of rain were easily the size of quarters - within minutes, we were entirely soaked. But it was so warm that you didn't really feel cold - initially, I appreciated being cooled off by it but it didn't take long to feel like a drowned rat. We decided to have a meal at our hotel - authentic Ugandan food - pizza and beer!
After a brief afternoon nap, we hired a driver to take us to a local mosque that had been build on a nearby hill that overlooked Kampala. Although it was Sunday, the roads were still quite busy - the 'rules of the road' are hard to figure out - it seems that everyone is simply trying to (narrowly) avoid each other as motorbikes with many passengers weave in an out of the traffic.
Whenever we stop at a light, little children would rush up to the windows of the car - their little outreached hands coming through the windows as they said "Hello". It was difficult experience - hard to ignore them but any acknowledgement of them caused their friends to rush over too.
As we passed through some of the poor neighbourhoods, there were tons of people milling about makeshift homes and shops - children and goats running around, men busy fixing motorbikes and bicycles. Culture shock was definitely settling in.
When we got to the mosque, we were welcomed by the Imam. He had just presided over a wedding as evidenced by all of the flowers lining the walkway to the mosque. As we climbed the narrow, spiraling staircase to the top of the tower, I became a little wigged out knowing that if I slipped, I'd be lucky to survive.
The view was definitely worth the climb. I do have pictures of all of this and will share them in another post.
All in all, I had a great first day in Kampala.