Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Swanky Stays and Overdue Reunions

Since returning to Uganda, I’ve had some wonderful reunions. Of course, these have mostly taken place by way of my Ugandan friends. But towards the end of last year, I was reunited with my Manchester best friend, which was both unexpected and welcomed. This year has started off in a similar fashion, only this time with one of my favorite Acadia people – my good friend Lyndsay!

I had just returned from Ghana when I last saw Lynds. Shortly after my return she went home before classes resumed, and by the time she came back, I was on my way to Manchester. That was 2014. Over the years in between then and our recent reunion, we kept in touch off and on, but plans to meet up seemed impossible, as I no longer lived in Canada, and she no longer lived in my part of Canada. So when I received a message from her asking if I’d be in Uganda at the end of January, I was pretty pumped!

When the big day arrived, I boarded a taxi and waited (im)patiently for it to fill so we could set off*. Usually this takes under a half an hour, but on this particular occasion it was closer to an hour and a half. And, as luck would have it, once on the way to Kampala, every slow moving vehicle found itself in front of us – further prolonging the much anticipated reunion! But eventually I arrived and made my way to where we would be staying – the Serena Hotel.

Now, I should say, the Serena Hotel is the oldest hotel in Kampala. It has been modified quite a bit over the years, however, and is now most likely the fanciest hotel in the city… err country. For those of you who know me, fancy isn’t quite my thing**, so, staying in this level of accommodations was quite an experience – for both of us***! It also made things interesting when setting up meetings throughout the few days I was there, as my Kampala friends were quite shocked to learn I was staying there and confused as to why I would be!

Anyway, we had two days to catch up and hang out, which was great! The day she arrived was pretty low-key. We hung around the hotel, enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere of the poolside, and explored a bit of the property. For being in the center of the business district, it did not feel like we were near the city at all!

The poolside view!
Sparkling water AND Alvaro?! Life is good!
Left: Lyndsay checking out some of the on-site vegetation; Right: one of the ponds found throughout the property
Left: Another shot of the property; Right: the view from our terrace (said with a snooty accent!)

The next day we intended to have a bit of a sleep in, and then take to the mean streets of Kampala. We had set out a plan to go for breakfast at a coffee shop near the craft market, and then visit the National Mosque and the Baha’I Temple. Since Lyndsay’s job doesn’t usually give her much time to explore the cities she visits, she was pretty excited to do a few touristy things… and with someone accompanying her! But…Mother Nature had other plans for us. It was raining when I woke up, so we lazed around for a while hoping the rain would subside, which it did.

Eventually we moved out and made our way to the coffee shop for breakfast and a good cup of Ugandan brew****. When we arrived, we were informed that our options were limited because the power was off. When the power is off it usually means the power has gone out, likely because of the rain, but will return semi-shortly, so we decided to wait it out a bit. It was a while later when we tried to order again that we were told that the power was off, as in the bills hadn’t been paid, so it was cut! Regardless, we enjoyed a good cup of coffee, and I had a questionable sandwich that was meant to be served warm, but definitely wasn’t…

Our next stop was across the street to the craft market, where we ended up spending the rest of the day. This wasn’t because there was so much to go through – although there is a lot to take in! – but because those beautiful rains began to fall once again we pretty much got “stranded”. Instead of visiting the Mosque or the Temple, we ended up chatting with some of the vendors while we waited for the rain to ease up – it was awesome! It also enabled us to score a few deals!

The following day, we were on our own – Lynds was working, and I had a number of meetings scheduled. But that evening she treated me to an incredible early birthday dinner, which involved more food than I needed to eat. It was our last shot at spending time together as she was leaving the next day.

The restaurant was outdoors, but under a beautiful canopy surrounded by what I can
only describe as a moat. There were birds chirping nearby, and it was all quite peaceful!
Also, the chef gave us a full tour of all the food options (it was buffet!) - so sweet!  
I will say this, spending a few days with this lady was amazing! It’s really quite something to have people in your life that you can go years without seeing and it’s like no time has passed when you eventually reunite. It was so great to catch up and just enjoy a few days of fun together, while being goofballs! She is one awesome, kind hearted soul, I’m so lucky to be able to call her friend… and not just because she provides me with bacon… lots and lots of bacon!

The most expensive breakfast I never paid for... but look at all that BACON!!!
Thanks for visiting Uganda, Lynds – hope we can see a bit more next time!

-the Orange Canadian

*I realized just how much I’ve adapted to Ugandan life while waiting, as I, like everyone else who boarded the taxi, sat down an immediately starting phoning people from different parts of the country since it had rained in Jinja overnight!
**I mean I consider it quite the accomplishment if I remember to shower every few days or brush my hair once a week!
***Lynds is equally non-fancy – next time we’re camping!
****I don’t care what anyone says – Uganda has some of the best coffee I’ve ever had!

No comments:

Post a Comment