Sunday, 24 April 2016

Kennedy Sibling Reunion Tour 2016 Part Two: The Kennedy Kids take on Kampala

Well, after a busy, hit-the-ground-running sort of few days, Mike and I weren't disappointed when the rains prevented us from departing on our day-long tour of Kampala. The only problem, was that we didn't have any breakfast foods, and the heavy rain was preventing Michael from giving in to his new-found addiction to rolex. But, alas, the rains calmed down, and we found ourselves in front of my rolex guy's* stand.

Our first stop, post-rolex, was Lubiri Palace. This is supposed to be the home of the King of Buganda, but it turns out, he doesn't actually live here. In other words, we didn't get to accidentally meet the King this time. What we did get, was a tour of the Palace grounds, which included a lot of history about Idi Amin - an aspect I was pleasantly surprised about.

Lubiri Palace
I don't think I'll be taking this one home with me... but it is rocking a pretty stellar weed garden!
This is Amin's torture chamber. The details are pretty gruesome.
It was kinda freaky though, when my camera started recognizing faces that we couldn't see... 
Squint your eyes and you'll see Buganda's Parliament Building. (More on that later!) 
The Royal Mile, with Parliament at the end.
After this little adventure, there was a bit of confusion about where we wanted to go next. I had asked them to take us to Parliament, which I assumed our escorts would know I meant the Buganda Parliament, but instead we ended up at the National Parliament Building. It was cool to see, but not what either of us were keen on doing. 

So, instead, we hopped back onto our bodas and made our way to the Uganda National Museum. Here we browsed around, while being followed by a swarm of elementary school kids - all of which were eager to stroke our hands or just say hello. It's very difficult to concentrate on a museum exhibit when 20+ adorable kids are trying to get your attention! This time, at least, the diorama area was actually opened. And while they weren't overly well done, at least I didn't fear for my life

Next we took a quick lunch break, which gave Michael another opportunity to enjoy the local food. Then we took a bit of a drive to the Bahá'í Temple. It turns out this is one of only 7 in the world! The tour included a brief history of the faith (which I'm interested in exploring further...) and a few minutes sitting in on a prayer service. Then we took a look at the cemetery, before our walk back down the big hill to our bodas. 

The Bahá'í Temple - one of only 7 in the world.
Our final stop of the day was our intended first/second stop - the Buganda Parliament Building, also known as the Bulange Building. This serves as the administrative headquarters for the Buganda Kingdom and is a place to learn about its cultural aspects. Here we learned about the various Clans found within the Buganda, including my personal favourite - the Shit Clan**. I'm not joking, either. It's unfortunately no longer in existence, but I would like to make it a personal mission to revive it. It is interesting, though, because one cannot eat the symbol their clan represents. For example, the Monkey Clan cannot eat monkey, the Dog Clan cannot eat dog, and the Shit Clan cannot... well, you can fill in the blank!

Anyway, further to this we were able to enter the room where Parliament takes place. Here we learned that the King of Buganda only attends two session a year - the first and last. We also learned that to become a Minister, you have to fulfill the following five criteria: Be from the Buganda Kingdom (aka speak the language), be married, live within the bounds of the Kingdom, be rich and one more that my jet-lagged/under-caffeinated brain cannot remember. Point is, I, obviously got sworn in as the Minister of Canadian Tourism/Mzungu. (Joke's on them - I'm not rich, married, or of from the Kingdom of Buganda!)

A few of the Buganda Clan symbols, featuring the former Shit Clan
My swearing in ceremony. The boys are obviously interested in this...
Where the magic happens. 
A statue of the current King of Buganda in front of the Bulange Building,
featuring our boda drivers - Adolf and Isaac. 
The following day we attempted an early start to Entebbe, but were once again rain delayed. Our mission for the day - the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre. Yes, you have heard of this place before if you've been following my blog over the last couple on months. This time, however, we opted for the Behind the Scenes tour, because well, lions. And this time my failed attempt at a lion snuggle was successful!

The Behind the Scenes Tour is a bit more pricy compared to the general admission (US$70 per person vs. UGX30 000, or approximately CA$12). But - it was well worth the money! We spent around 3 or 4 hours feeding the animals, enjoying a little play time, and even a few up close and personal encounters (aka lion snuggles!). We even had access to the cheetah cubs, where Mike and I were challenged to a race***. Anyway, this included some fun and exciting times and some not so enjoyable moments. Holding a snake was one of those moments that I'm glad I did in hindsight, but in the moment was not so thrilled about. Of course, it didn't help that, as I was trying to decide if I was crying or laughing, I turned to find a random group of Asian men taking my picture. Not one of my finer moments!

All suited up - time to get to work!
Photo credit: Mike Kennedy
Two of the 18 white rhinos in Uganda.
Photo credit: Mike Kennedy
Nope. Not loving this.
Photo credit: Mike Kennedy
Excellent facial expression, Mike!
Mike, laughing like a moose, and me being Britney Spears.
Photo credit: Mike Kennedy
Chimp Island... where I learned that this beings are far more intelligent that I.
In the video below, you will see one scooping an orange out of the water using a
tree branch, because they don't like to get what. I would have just looked at it and given up...
Photo credit: Mike Kennedy
One of the rarest birds in the world - the shoebill stork. This sir is Sushi,
and was so soft and fluffy. He liked me more than, Michael!
Photo credit: Mike Kennedy

Dreams DO come true... meeting my lion friend. It was love at first sight!
Photo credit: Mike Kennedy
Yummy - it's fading time!
Photo credit: Mike Kennedy
Photo credit: Mike Kennedy
Siblings hard at work.
Photo credit: Mike Kennedy
Feeding Albert, the G-riffy!
Photo credit: Mike Kennedy
Hoisting up the Giraffe feed. It took me a minute and twenty-six seconds to complete this task.
Photo credit: Mike Kennedy

The final days involved a visit to the craft market, climbing the many stairs in the National Mosque, and visiting my office. The good news is that I think Michael now understands why I love this country continent so much. The bad news is that I think he now realizes why I want to live here... permanently.

-the Orange Canadian

*I know what you're thinking - she's got a rolex guy? Yes. Yes, I do. And when I don't come for a few weeks, he gets worried about me.
**I apparently was the first person to correctly identify what the symbol of this Clan was depicting. They didn't see so keen on putting my photo in the office to commemorate this overwhelming accomplishment!
***I obviously beat the cheetahs, although I think they were bored by the time it was my turn!

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