Thursday, 25 February 2010

Rainy Season

Saturday 5am: A man hollers down a loudspeaker from the local mosque. The Islamic religion represents about 10% of the population in Uganda but this morning you’d think this guy was praying for the whole of Jinja. It’s not long before the roosters join in, luckily at a distance. By the time I was looking for long term accommodation I knew what to look out for and a pastoral scene on the front lawn was to be avoided at all costs.

6am: Morning has broken but it’s not getting any lighter. Instead the house starts to rattle and shake - the rains have arrived, with gusto.

8am: The proposed hour of departure for our trip out west to Sipi Falls, the picturesque waterfalls at the foot of Mount Elgon.

9am: Decision made, we're not going anywhere. When it rains here the roads melt away leaving muddy potholes and everyone knows better than to travel long distances.

10am: I venture out to the market to get in supplies. The streets are all but deserted, most people seem to know better than to travel short distances too. Flip-flops and a jumper don’t come close to being sensible attire, I have no grip underfoot and do the half-way splits. After regaining my composure I put my hood up. A local looks at me with bemusement and asks if I’m lost. I make it to the market – not quite Borough, more your small town affair but in shanty form. Today is avocado day, mangos or avocados - but never both - there is no logic to this, it is just the general rule. However the requests have been for mangos and adventures look like they are going to be in limited supply today. I watch the butcher spoon out blood from his basket onto the ground and wade on through. You wouldn’t be able to tell anyway, the puddles are bright orangey red from the clay.

11am: I fail to find mangos, so instead have the innovative idea of making ‘rainy day comfort food’ in the form of caramelised pineapple. I blame the butter/hydrogenated plastic but this was possibly the most disgusting thing I have eaten out here. Worst than the endless plate of macaroni ghee cassava, worst than the fish in a stodgy peanut sauce and maybe even worst than the savoury bananas sitting in a soup of goat’s intestine.

3pm: The sun makes an appearance. The water on the roads is suddenly mopped up like a sponge. Our plans for Sipi may have had to be abandoned but there are some other ‘falls’ not far up the road and this one has a bar!

4pm: Legs in the sun and a cold drink in hand. Sipi can wait, I've found my spot 'til sunset.

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