Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Adventurous Road Trip to Kabale

Last Saturday, we (Catharine, Kate, Kacie, Al and I) took the long trip down to Kabale located in southern Uganda. With our Uganda WorldVenture field meetings starting on Tuesday, we were heading down early to climb Mt. Sabinyo. It would be an 8 hour trip down and we were going to be driving our Prado. At least, that was our plan.

We got the Prado all loaded up with all of our stuff and started it to go pick up Al. Wait, I mean, tried to start it. Kacie says she heard an original clunking noise as she was outside of the car. Besides that, the car wasn’t starting, clicking or making any noise to indicate that it wanted to start. A check under the hood revealed little. We then emptied the Prado and loaded everything into Catharine’s Rav. We picked up Al 45 minutes late and headed on our way. We had given ourselves two extra hours of daylight (driving at night is atrocious and avoided) so we were still good.

We didn’t realize how much we did need that extra time.

We were right before the equator so about two hours in to our long journey. There was a bicycle on our side of the road and a large truck coming from the other direction making it so that there was not enough room for us to pass the bike. Catharine slowed behind the bike and when the truck passed, moved past the bike. A taxi appeared by our side passing us and we heard the CLUNK as it hit us. “Did he knock me?” Catharine asked, using the Ugandan term for getting hit. Kacie, who was mere inches from where the collision occurred. The taxi had already zoomed past us showing no attempt to stop. Catharine accelerated and passed the taxi honking the whole way. She pulled in front of the taxi, slowing down in order to force him to slow down. We pulled over. What happened next was one bit of cultural hilarity after another. Catharine got out of the car to talk to the taxi driver. We looked back to discover about 5 men conversing with Catharine so we told Al to go out and support her. The three of us girls stayed in the car. One of the male passengers in the taxi walked right in front of Catharine’s car, squatted and preceded to um, GO to the bathroom. On the side of the road. Now, we see guys peeing on the side of the road all the time. In Kampala, if we see a guy near a ditch, we just assume he’s doing his deal and we look away. This was no #1. This guy was straight up doing #2 approximately 2 feet away from us. What was happening behind the car was apparently more interesting, as we found out when Catharine got back in the car about 10 minutes later.

When she got out of the car, the taxi driver stayed in the taxi while a few of the passengers got out. They told Catharine that everyone in the taxi agreed that it was their fault but that they were on their way to an event so couldn’t she just forgive them and let them be on their way? Dead serious. That’s what they said. They kept repeating that everyone agreed it was their fault. We were thrilled there was a consensus. The huge dent in Catharine’s car wouldn’t allow her to agree to their form of forgiveness. The taxi driver came out at some point telling Catharine that he had no insurance (most likely a lie). He stated that he knew that it was his fault but couldn’t she “please just accept me as I am”? We’re not sure exactly what that means. Accept that you’re a crappy driver and hit us? Done. We can do that. Driving away like nothing happened? Um, no, we can’t do that one. Catharine got their vehicle information and we all drove off. A phone call to Robert, our kick awesome business director (referenced earlier as the one who took care of all my passport stuff) informed Catharine that she needed to report this to the police. Ah yes, another stop on our long journey. We then searched for a police post, which is way easier said than done. We at last found one underneath a sign for Sleeping Baby. Can YOU find the hidden police post?

We waited in the (hot) car while being surrounded by children who kept repeating “mzungu” over and over again. We were like our own little mzungu zoo. The police promised to track down the taxi driver and we again headed on our way to Kabale.

With all that behind us, we stop for lunch. Stopping for lunch here is no quick McDonalds stop. We knew it’d be a bit but again, got more than we bargained for. Three of us ordered fish and chips, Al ordered a hamburger and Kacie ordered a tomato and cheese sandwich. After a LONG wait (even for Ugandan standards), our food arrived. My tilapia looked…weird. Like this:

Cutting into it was tough and we soon realized that there was no way that this was fish. Chewing it was another indicator. Catharine went to find the waiter who went to the kitchen area to see what happened. All of the kitchen staff looked at the order sheet and agreed that yes, it said fish but instead, they had given us pepper steak. So glad that again, we have a consensus on that they were in the wrong but alas, again, who was to pay? Us. Al wasn’t much better off than us. His hamburger consisted of mystery yellow meat (oh yes, yellow) on sandwich bread. It looked like-a this:

The only decent meal was Kacie’s tomato and cheese sandwich. She utilized that moment to try to convert us all over to a vegetarian life. No dice, my friend.

After all that, the rest of our trip was happily uneventful. We arrived at the Slater’s house in Kabale excited to spend time with their family with no extra adventures included…

…well, until we climbed a 14000 ft. mountain two days later…

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