Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Back in Uganda

I have to say that I like being in Uganda. It isn't home, but the people I work with are wonderful and the weather is great.

My flight arrived a little late and my bag was one of the last off of the plane. So much for the "Emirates First Class Priority" tags all over it. Since I had to wait for the baggage services folks to get the secure stuff it wasn't any great burden. Except for the moment when a woman came over and stood next to me to get her bags. She had also come from Dubai and had on a warm-up suit. It was 102-degrees in Dubai. She also had a baby in her arms that badly needed changing. Between the baby and "aromas" coming from her, I almost got sick right then and there.

I waited until the very last bag came out and went to baggage services to get my power adaptor, but they had nothing for me. They wanted to know if I would like to fill out a claim. Considering I was concerned about missing my ride, and considered the task futile anyway, I declined and left.

I looked all over the arrival lobby and outside for a driver with a sign for me, but to no avail. There were many other hotels there for pickups but not mine. After most passengers were gone, I contacted the office to call the hotel and found that the hotel had mistaken 20:30 for 10:30 and not 8:30 so the driver wasn't there. The good news was we were a bit late anyway and the driver was already on his way so I had to wait another 20 minutes. The weather was nice so I didn't mind. But the taxi drivers at Entebbe airport are extremely aggressive and one even tried to take my bags to put in his car. Security was on the ball though and stepped in to assist.

Robert, the driver, eventually arrived and the drive to Kampala was nice and uneventful. I took the opportunity to call the office. I also asked Robert if he could pick me up at 9am each weekday to take me to the office and negotiated a fare with him for the service. I told him I would sleep in a little later tomorrow though so I would have the hotel call him when I was ready.

The hotel, the Emin Pasha, is a relatively new hotel in Kampala that we had scoped out on our previous visit. A few surprises I got when I arrived were that they no longer accepted American Express and whomever had made my reservation forgot to emphasize that I needed a room with air conditioning.

The room (#10) was a patio room and very nice, complete with mosquito netting. When I walked in I immediately thought of the Expedia commercial with the lady looking at exotic hotels with mosquito netting. This was my tip-off that there was no A/C. I decided to try it for a night though. My stomach was acting up and the pepto wasn't working all that well and I was tired.

I turned on the fan and opened the windows and then immediately hopped into bed after ensuring the netting was done right. I fell asleep pretty quickly. But, the fan started making a loud clicking noise and kept waking me up. I finally got up, identified the problem, and fixed it and went back to sleep.

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