jueves, 14 de julio de 2011

Somethings are just the same everywhere.

A very short thought, last week we were in Kampala, Uganda's capital and largest city (2 million or so). We were spending the weekend in Jinja (a sort of industrial center by the Nile riverside). We tried to make the most of our trip and had scheduled a meeting with someone in the forestry ministry. The meeting was a complete disaster: the person never showed up and his cellphone was off... No comments.

What I really want to talk about is that we had the chance to explore the Bugologi neighborhood in Kampala. Huge houses with neat gardens, reminded me of some areas of Mexico city. I guess that somethings are just the same everywhere...

Please notice the water tanks.
Different from the Rotoplas tanks in Mexico or the beautiful,
enormous Cedar water tanks of New York.
Why are there on a different structure and not on the roof?
One more question that probably has a very logical explanation.

I have absolutely no idea what is this tree doing here.
It is of course not to be found anywhere else in the city - maybe even the country (looks lebanese).
It seems some eccentric Ugandan or Expatriate decided to "be original".
On sunday, we were desperate to go back to Mbarara, we had absolutely no clue how to get back to the bus station that brought us here. The Boda-Boda (particularly dangerous motorcycles that originally transported you through East African Borders --- Border-Border ---> Boda Boda!) guys we took obviously took us to the wrong terminal, then a guy told us to get into the wrong bus for which we payed the wrong price. Typical scam, I felt like a stupid amateur. The longest ride to Kampala of my life, we stopped in every single Trading Center (what in Mexico we call rancherias or Hoyo del Puc). Of course we got early to Kampala to do the traveling by day, got to the bus station at 2 PM, the bus left at 6 PM, no reimbursements of course once we learned he was not leaving right away. Stupid Muzungu, having travelled to 27 countries in three continents, lived in three of the largest Megalopolis in the world (NYC, Paris and of course, the "City of Hope" or "el Defecado", Mexico city) and still got scammed like a peasant seeing the big city for the first time.  We got the see the old taxi park, an area where all public transportation gathers and start all the routes inside and even outside the city. It is definetely not the nicest spot in Kampala, reminds me of Mexico City "paraderos" of  "microbuses". A sort of orderly chaos that you can only find in the developing world. Masses of people, cars, bicycles, walking, shoping, honking... And you wonder how can this disaster work? And yet it does. In in it's own, very particular way but it works. El "Realismo Magico" of Latin-america can be found in Africa also, here it has a different name and feeling that a Muzungu would take years to fully understand. I guess that somethings are just the same everywhere...

The streets are not paved though!
During the more than 3 hours wait for the bus to finally leave,
I just stood in that spot and started taking pictures undercover.
People don't like Muzungus taking pictures of them - I completely understand.

The noise and movement of people, motorcycles, minivans, bicycles.
The market, the sound coming from the mosque,
the songs in the background from a place that was having a Sunday party.
Images say more than 1,000 words
but they can't completely transmit what this moment was truly like.
You are missing the sounds, the smells
and the feeling of frustration I had at the time.
In 20 years I will also have forgotten the full scene.

1 comentario:

  1. Oh Stephane, so sorry to hear about the scammage and the bus drama - it happens to even the savviest world travelers, and it always feels crappy (and so familiar...). Fuerza! These will all be funny stories by the time we're on a beach in Zanzibar :)