Day 2: The Road To Paradise.
The day awoke to the sound of a LIVE full-scale African choir chanting a’capella in the atrium of the hotel – which one has to say has a superb acoustic. I believe the choir had a conference and liked to set the spirit and tone of the day in this eclectic fashion.
The hunt for the Ugandan shilling then went into full search mode. Some of us were pleased with ourselves for obtaining forty thousand out of a hole in the wall only to be brought down to earth with the realisation that the sum amounted to about ten quid. This was put into perspective later, though, when our evening meal, for twelve with drinks, came to £80. And it was a great meal: whole blackened Tilapia – fresh from the Nile – is highly recommended.
Our journey today took us from Kampala to Jinja with an excellent stop on the way to visit the Uganda Cricket Association’s National Stadium. Reece couldn’t’t resist trying out a leg-break on the vast pitch. A batsman once scored 365 on it: but then again he didn’t have to face Reece. The bus this time was of ample proportions and our redoubtable driver Joseph showed his prowess at manoeuvring, at speed, around and through oncoming traffic.
Apart from the occasional modest modern shopping centre/mall shops tend to be shacks at the side of the road. Whereas we might have a couple of manikins in a window the Ugandan way is to line up two or three dozen on the side of the main road all bedecked with brightly coloured clothing of a myriad styles. A kind of extended but static London fashion week.
Between shops you often find neatly planted allotments growing produce that is sold direct to the passing customer. We passed through sugar plantations and fields of tea. And resolved to try and find a coffee plantation too.
And then we came across the Nile. Vast, silent and serene one has to concede that, in the end, Nature wins.
This really feels like an epic journey into the heart of Africa: tomorrow, though, the real tasks begin as we meet a group of teachers for our first coaching session. Timba (Steve Williams our Tutor) has prepared us well and we are looking forward to entering the fray
At the Paradise Nile View hotel the day ended with the rhythmic sounds of a near-by bar’s house band’s live set which delivered a fusion of reggae beats combined with European riffs and the kind of enigmatic chants that began the day. This is Uganda. It is very different. And very comforting.