At exactly 08:15 hours last evening we started the exciting road trip aboard the Tahmeed Bus. Just like at the airport we had been asked to report at 07:30 pm and leave at 8:00 pm.
We were late by 15 minutes, an event which was occasioned by late comers. This is Africa, they came by the African time.
I had been allocated seat No. 30 which was on the isle but I real preferred seat No. 29 which was by the window. Therefore, I had plans to convince whoever would be my neighbour to swap with me. I wanted to see every interesting event along the way.
After a couple of minutes a middle-aged woman arrived with another lady who I presumed was her daughter because she was younger than her. They humbly, requested me to seat on seat No. 28 which was a single seat near the window. They wanted to seat together since seats 29 and 30 were close to each other.
I gladly accepted without questioning them or showing any unwillingness to shift to my new seat. They did not know that we have killed two birds with one stone. They have got two seats adjacent to each other and I have my window seat. This worked like magic. I know, in her mind she must have thought that I respected her age! That was just one of the factors I considered.
There was absolutely no traffic on the Nairobi-Nakuru highly. Therefore, we moved shiftly through Kenyan towns such as Rwaka, Limuru, Nyambari, Kimende, Kijabe, Soko Mjinga, Fly Over, Naivasha and made our first stop at a petrol station in Nakuru.
By 2:00 am we were reigning the roads in Kisumu like a colossus. We never stopped anywhere along the way. In no time by 4:00 am we arrived in Busia boarder post. This is where we spent nearly two hours of our time trying to get clearance to enter Uganda.
When you arrive at the border post, the first thing you see as you alight from the bus are men wearing yellow overalls written “Money Exchangers” on the back. I was surprised when they handed me a bundle of Ugandan notes. Being my first time I did not know why they were doing this. I came to realize later on that they wanted Kenyan shillings in exchange for Ugandan Currency which they were 100% sure I would need ahead.
Stupid me had already exchanged some Ksh. 5,000 into Kenyan shillings. I later learned that I had made a mistake. I would have exchanged the money at the border or in Kampala City.
Large Scale Sugarcane Farming
When it came to daylight, the first thing I noticed is the largescale sugarcane farming in Uganda. As we passed through Jinja area I saw thousands of acres under sugarcane. This is the territory where Kakira Sugar Limited reigns supreme. You can easily tell that this is the leading employer in the area. I know what Mumias Sugar used to be in Kenya!
In Uganda, matatus are known as Taxi. I noticed that they are smaller in size and they have some blue dotted lines painted across their waistline. In Kenya they are painted a yellow continuous line.
When I arrived in Kampala, the first thing I wanted before finding my way around the city is a sumptuous breakfast. I was so angry to the extent that I popped into the nearest restaurant. Initially I wanted to consume some tea and chapati but when I was handed the menu, I would not see those two items.
I remembered that when you go to Rome, do as the Romans. I order a glass of pineapple juice. I was told it is freshly squeezed from real pineapples and not generated from some form of concentrate. Then I ordered fried chicken rice. In my find I was expecting some real chicken and then rice. They brought and to me it looked like rice only. Small pieces of chicken were inside. Chefs always amaze me. They have Manchurian rice, steam rice, fried rice, mutton biryani and chicken fried rice. To me rice is rice. This reminds me when I visited Pretoria South Africa and I would like associate with any of the food on their menu and we say we are in One African continent. Their food is different! There is no ugali in their vocabulary. They sell in in the supermarket just like bread!
Traveling opens our eyes.
Welcome to Kampala, Uganda.