Monday, April 22, 2013

Laws are like sausages. It's better not to see them being made.

The meaning of that title comes into play at the end of this post, just to clarify.

Well, I had all those "imaginary travel" posts planned, and here I am in Uganda! Real travel trumps imagined travel ;)

Last week was an emotional whirlwind, and a very draining whirlwind at that. Then my flight to Uganda left at 8am on Saturday, so I arrived at the airport at 6am after three hours of restless sleep. (Evidence of my fatigue: I teared up when the airport lady told me, arbitrarily, that my carry-on was too heavy. She also threatened to call security when I asked to see their new regulation in writing!)

We flew 8 hours to Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, and then I took a connecting flight to Entebbe, Uganda. (I left my carry-on at security for ten minutes...! So tired.). The airport in Ethiopia was really modern and interesting, mostly for the people passing through: Europeans, Africans, Lebanese, Indians, Chinese, South East Asians... There were international flights going all over the world, and apparently Ethiopia is quite the gateway between Africa and the Middle East, and Africa and Asia. Fascinating! On my way back I plan to stock up on coffee, which according to airport TV, is sold to Starbucks ;) Also, Amharic, the native Ethiopian language is beautiful (especially written) and the airline magazine makes me want to visit Ethiopia some day, especially to see these coptic Christian monasteries only accessible by leather rope up a cliff. I mean, seriously:

I arrived in Entebbe at 1am, cleared customs by 1:45am... and low and behold, there was no one waiting for me, even though I double checked before leaving! Thankfully a driver on hand called my hotel and offered to drive me the hour to Kampala, the capital and the site of my conference. By night, the tree-lined streets driving to Kampala reminded me of home {outside Boston}. I forgot they drive on the left hand side of the street here! You can't help but worry a car coming in the opposite direction might swerve into your lane at any moment, as if there are no rules to the road.

Greenery seen through my rather gaudy hotel window. So, so green!

All said and done, I was in bed by 4am (1am Senegal time) and slept until 2:30pm today. The hotel is gaudy but spacious and well-equipped. I haven't explored much as I feel exhausted and weak (just ordered room service... hallelujiah), but the green hills out my window are refreshing. I also love the English people speak here; its very gentle and proper, and sounds a bit antiquated to my American ears. The driver was describing local food and he kept saying "potatoes mingled with vegetables" and other such phrases. The menu at the hotel describes dishes as "masked with sauce," "laced with mustard," "grilled to preferred doneness," and "gratinated" (didn't know that was a verb?!). Love it!

So far, so good, here in Uganda! Will keep you all updated as I discover more! My room service beckons!

My "well decorated and arranged" room service. Average but convenient!
Update: Its Monday morning and I predict today will be one of the worst days of my life. I was up until 4am, a mixture of jet lag and catching up on work... and then I find out we're expected to be ready to leave at 7am. I was so worried about sleeping through my alarm, and then stressed out that I wasn't going to get enough sleep... that I just didn't fall asleep. At all. I haven't pulled an all nighter since college!

And guess what I'm doing today? Assisting in a meat technical visit. Last time I did that it looked like this:

I made it small so its not as revolting.
That quote up top... I heard it on the West Wing and though, yup, I can attest to that as somehow my life involves seeing how sausages are made. Times like these I'm not sure how I got here.

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