Desert oatcakes

Friday 10th July

Yesterday, flying 35000 feet above the Sahara Desert, in a Dutch aircraft called “Piccadilly Circus, London” I looked down on the brown mottled plain below and remembered that I had left some food in the fridge. I think it was the oatcakes that triggered that thought – brown and bumpy. (Soon to be green and bumpy – the oatcakes, not the Sahara, sadly)

After many days of planning, list writing, finishing things off and general frantic activity it is a strange contrast to do nothing for many hours except read, doze and watch in-flight movies. Not to mention being fed regularly and well by KLM and their ever cheerful cabin staff who can balance things and avoid spilling anything on anyone in air turbulence whilst still smiling.

It was an uneventful and smooth journey. Everything worked out as it should and by midnight last night we were unpacking our bags in Banana Village, a pleasant tourist lodge just north of Entebbe airport. Today we shopped in Kampala for essential supplies such as sim cards, dongles, money (bureaus de change like £s and give us a good rate) a laptop computer and printer cartridges. I am sure 150 years ago they shopped for food and water before setting out for the heart of Africa but these days such essentials are taken for granted when we are guests of the country.

And then, we were asked for money by a one-legged beggar in the street. How do we handle this? With difficulty and guilt, is the answer, having spent so much in the shops on our “necessary” electrical gadgets.

Having spent enough money to finance a small Victorian expedition into the interior we checked in at Namirembe Guest House, a location very familiar to me as I spent a week there after my Di had passed away. I felt that when I was there before that I was carrying a great weight on my shoulders but now it has disappeared. Not to say she is forgotten – constantly there are little reminders – but it is OK.

Later we (Richard, Amy & I) climbed the hill behind the guest house and watched the sun set through the charcoal cooking haze of west Kampala. It is a better effect than watching the sun rise through the diesel fumes of east Kampala, but that is a treat for tomorrow.

A good first day. Thank you to everyone who got me this far.


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