Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Four Lines Feelings Check On A Bus In Uganda

This one’s for the Open Sky crew.


I’m sweaty, I have to pee, and my calf is throbbing where I burned it against the exhaust pipe of the boda boda (motorbike) that took me to the taxi (Ugandan matatu) from my friend Laurie’s place this morning. There are little raised bumps and scratches all over my right forearm where her adorable but bitey puppy Kit used me as a chew toy last night. I’m a little sunburned, especially on the tops of my knees. I have that slightly hollow feeling that comes with being a bit hungover. I’m thirsty and hungry. There’s a wonderfully cool breeze blowing in my face from the window and I’m being bounced around as I watch the little farms just outside Kampala speed by, all red earth and big green leaves and rolling hills divided into neat fields. My ass, already tender from horseback riding yesterday, is not pleased. My shoulders are sore from paddling the Nile the day before and my hips are still a bit out of joint from bungee jumping. I hear people having low conversations in Luganda in front of me and behind me. I’m listening to “Tabasamu.” I smell exhaust and ME, and I’m not sure which is gnarlier.


I’m wishing I could drink the bottle of Rwenzori water sitting so invitingly in the seat pocket in front of me, but I already have to pee, we just left Kampala, and I have no idea how far out our first stop will be. I’m wondering what ungodly hour it will be when we get into Arusha and if it’ll be late enough to skip getting a room somewhere… but I’m also in dire need of a shower. I’m marveling at the beauty of the landscape. I’m hoping that Mama Pili will be home this time when I go to Bangata. I’m thinking about last night’s hilarious escapades and already planning on trying to make a “Rolex” when I get home – essentially a Ugandan breakfast burrito with eggs rolled up in a chapatti (think “roll-eggs). Because it was AMAZING.


Nervous, elated, amused, giddy about all of the above. A little irritated that my phone continues to function only when the mood strikes. Relieved as hell that I made the Akamba bus with zero minutes to spare after a mad boda boda ride through Kampala’s insane traffic. Missing my friend Eva, who I left behind in Jinja and is the best travel buddy anyone could ask for, but happily anticipating meeting up with the next friend in Arusha.


When I get older, I will be stronger, they’ll call me freedom just like a wavin’ flag.

Happiness hit her like a train on a track. The dog days are over. The dog days are done.

I followed you into the park through the jungle, through the dark. Moats and boats and waterfalls alley ways and pay phone calls, I’ve been everywhere with you. Laugh until we think we’ll die, on that summer night  everything is sweeter when with you. and in the streets we’re running free like it’s only you and me, the truth is you’re something to see. Home, let me come home. Home is wherever I’m with you.


Turns out I’m in effing Nairobi again. When I bought the bus ticket, they neglected to mention that it wasn’t a direct trip. It’s 4:16 am and I’m sitting groggily in the 24-hour restaurant above the Akamba station learning the hard way that just because it’s open all hours doesn’t mean it actually has food that whole time. My visions of a hot, hearty breakfast spread (“Spanish omelette with chapatti and beans, please?”) got a rude awakening in the form of a samosa and chapatti made somewhere back around Nam, a hard-boiled egg, and instant coffee with no milk.

I’ve got two hours and change before my connecting bus to Arusha gets here. It’s cold as balls out – I’m already nostalgic for nice, warm Uganda – and the bathroom in the restaurant is locked. Oh, travel. You’re a little brat, but you’re MY little brat and I love you.

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