04.27.2017 24 °C
Woke up this morning after a wonderful sleep in a bed, not on a hot bus. Josh decided to go to a gym we saw close by so I made myself a delicious avocado toast and sipped Ugandan tea and enjoyed the sunny balcony. The birds were out and they sound just like monkeys it's very tropical! Those birds are smaller but there are some massive birds here that just chill.
The breakfast here is basic, but yesterday we had stopped for some groceries and I got produce at the stand out front. I paid 74 cents Canadian for a massive avocado, at least double the large ones at home, a tomato that tasted like a tomato, a mango and a lemon. All their lemons are green here, why are ours yellow? The produce was all fantastic.
After breakfast and Josh's gym fix we were picked up by Walter's Boda Boda Tours. I had heard fantastic things online about them and while they seemed pricey, I still wanted to do the tour to see Kampala. We told them what we wanted to see and they add it to their standard list. Saw a monument on our way to our first stop.
First stop was the King's Palace. Our guides told us we would only hear "good things" about the king on this tour and that he would tell us the rest later. Women are not allowed to wear trousers, so they wrap a sarong around you for the tour. The palace was nice, the view was amazing, and our guide told us about the history of the building. There was a lot of torture and deaths on this property, so the king doesn't actually ever stay here. The building is kept up and cleaned, but he only ever visits for an hour or two at a time.
The palace was overtaken several times and used as military barracks. In those sieges many of the artifacts or assets were demolished. But they managed to keep the remains of some of the kings old 50's cars, like this Bentley and the rims of a Rolls-Royce, plus this canon.
We walked down the hill through the staff's quarters. Mostly the security guards live here with their families. There was a really cute duck family passing by! The babies were cute but the adults were not like ducks at home...
We entered down a long path towards a dark hole. This space was originally used for storing machinery, but only for a short time. When the grounds were seized the new captor outfitted them to be holding cells and torture chambers, and over 6 years he killed over 19,000 soldiers. He tortured them using electrified water which the soldiers would be forced to wade in. Sometimes he would turn it on full time and let the stringers soldiers push the weaker ones in from their holding cells to make more room, as many people died from suffocation in the cells. It was an eerie place and the history left us with goosebumps.
I can't remember the full details, but another king took over the grounds and continued to torture for 1 year, killing another 6,000 people. So in 7 years this place killed 25,000. People come now and leave messages for those who have passed on that may have been in their family. Did I mention this all happened from 1973-1979? Unbelievable.
Posing at gate of the palace and looking down the Royal Mile.
Next we went to he Gaddafi Mosque. It is the second largest in Africa, and only recently finished being built, I think late 2000's. upon entry they outfitted me in a skirt and a head scarf. Josh really liked the outfit, thinks it really suits me.
Shoes off to walk into the mosque.
We walked in and it's massive. Fatima our guide walked us through the faith and the mosque and the city's history. Gorgeous chandeliers.
Next we walked 267 steps to the top of a lookout with our guide Mike. Thank goodness they let me remove the headscarf for that part! They said otherwise I risk fainting. I believe it!
At the top of the lookout Mike pointed out the seven hills of Kampala, and a bunch of history. Kampala gets its name from the animal Impala, this used to be called the hill of Kampala and over time it changed to Kampala. Great views from above.
Next we weaved in and out of traffic on our way to downtown. Lots to see, lots of people, lots of curvy mannequins!
We got to a spot called organized chaos. It's where the matatu taxis go to fill up and then depart and one fills its spot. It was insane! So many matatus, so many people walking and everything was so tight.
After that we headed to lunch where the guides took us to a really local spot. Dungy and with no menu, our guides assured us we could get something vegetarian and with no dairy or egg. What came was a huge plate of starch - rice, pumpkin, arrowroot, casava, sweet potato, and ugali (the staple food of east Africa. I'm not that picky but it is not good!). We each got this plate of starch and then our main, mine was a split pea dish and Josh's was a pinto bean dish. We're almost certain each were vegan and they were both tasty enough, but not a ton of flavour in Ugandan cuisine. Mostly just filling food. We had 3 large meals, Josh didn't come close to eating his so our guide took over and ate the rest, and one of our guides ordered a coke, and it cost us 18,500 shillings or $6.90 Canadian. We tipped her 3,500 shillings or $1.30 CAD and or waitress was thrilled.
Next we went through a small slum. Something we've noticed is Kampala is a lot cleaner and more garbage free the Nairobi or Kenya in general. Even their slum was "nicer" than what Josh remembers the Mithare slum to be like.
We then went to the Baha'i temple where we learned about the Baha'i faith. They believe that all religions started as one, all people are equal no matter what religion or background, men and women are equal, there should be no prejudice, and that science and religion should be harmonious. It was very interesting to learn about and they never preach they only teach. There aren't that many temples around the world as they believe you should pray daily but from anywhere comfortable, and that prayer should be something internal for yourself and you shouldn't have to go somewhere or see someone to do it. It was very interesting!
Finally we hit up a market which was so busy and not what I had in mind so we didn't go in. Instead we went to a local store where I bought some Ugandan tea and curry powder and masala mix.
Finally we were dropped off at a beer garden I had researched. Tiny shot glass-sized tasters of their 4 beers were 2000 shillings or 75 cents Canadian each, so we both tried it out. Unfortunately the beer was not good at all, something we've found in craft beer in Africa! A little disappointing to end our day this way!
We took a short Boda Boda to the mall where Josh had a huge meal and indulged in desert as well. We tried to shop but everything was Canadian priced but not good quality. Our tour hides had told us to buy second hand from the markets as then it is Ugandan made instead imported. I'm starting to think he had a point!
Even though our Boda Boda back to our hotel took a while to get through traffic we waited for him and he took us home. We said goodbye and came upstairs to play cards on our balcony. Josh won one and I won one and we're calling it even to head to bed so we can get a decent sleep tonight. There was some sort of lightening type light in the sky in the distance but no sound or thunder, were wondering if it's a bomb fight or...?
Up early tomorrow for our ride to Jinja where we have a full day of river rafting down the Nile planned