Tuesday, October 23, 2007

New Format

Boats being built by our house

So, my children have told me that my blogs are boring and I have had some encouragement from several friends to really write about what life is like here and to post more pictures. I haven't done this in the past because I thought that it might scare any of you that might be thinking of coming for a visit and you might decide to stay home. Anyway, I have decided to tell you like it is and let the chips fall where they may.

This is the first in a series of the different aspects of life here in Uganda. I will start with transportation since this is the #1 complaint and source of stress for all ex-pats(ex-patriots or foreigners living here) in Uganda.

There are several modes of transport here in country.

1. Buses

2. matotos (sp?)

3. special hires

4. boda boda's

5. taxi bikes

6. your own two legs

7. your own car (which everyone aspires to)

I'll start with the buses. These are like the big Grey Hound buses for those who live in the USA. They are old, falling apart (like most everything here in country) smoke horribly and smell BAD!

They carry people long distances. For example...Kampala to Rwanda, Kampala to Sudan, Kampala to Kenya... you get the idea. Most trips are at least 4-12 hours without stopping time. You buy a ticket for these buses and that doesn't necessarily mean that you will get a seat on the bus let alone get you on the bus. No refunds. If you are lucky enough to get on the bus and get a seat you will be crammed into a space that should only be for 3 and you will share it with 6 and maybe even some livestock. The people next to you will not have bathed for days, months maybe years:) I am not exaggerating about this either. Sometimes they smell so bad you literally can't breathe. ( I find myself holding my breath a lot here) Your clothes will smell when the trip is over and they will be dirty as the other peoples clothes will rub against you......for hours. Then the other option is that they have crammed in as many people as they can fit in the seats and you will get to take the trip standing up in the aisle with all of the other people that didn't get seats. You will stand for the ENTIRE trip.

I have found myself on many occasions watching these buses driving along the very badly paved or unpaved roads at speeds that would scare most race car drivers. The buses are so top heavy that when they go around any curve it looks like the bus will come off it wheels on one side and be riding down the road on the other ones. It literally sways as it goes down the road. If you can find a SAFE vantage point to watch from, it is really quite comical. The bus will be barreling down the road and all of the natives that would normally walk in the road (at a snails pace) and make you drive around them will all of a sudden get new life and great speed and start running off of the road as far as they can get for safety. It looks like the parting of the Red Sea! You really have to get a good mental picture and it is very funny. To keep your sanity here you have to find humor in everything or you will go mad.

Next time I will talk about the other modes of transport......... Have fun viewing the new pictures posted and let me know what you think about the new format.

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