15 October 2008
So we arrived last night in Entebbe, Uganda. We were met by Edwin, and hauled our eight items of luggage and eight carried on items out to the taxi for the one hour ride to Kampala.
Overall the flights went well, although I averted near tragedy twice on the last leg of the trip. As soon as the plane was in the air, we were served beverages, as usual. The girl sitting next to me got orange juice, and within approximately two point five minutes of drinking her orange juice, she vomited. Everywhere. Fortunately for me she aimed toward the aisle, to the great misfortune of the man sitting across the aisle from us. Also fortunately there were plenty of empty seats, so the flight attendant relocated me to avoid the vomit and cleaner smell.
I became aware of my second near miss when I woke from a nap to find several flight attendants talking to the man behind me. Apparently he had been drinking before the flight, then chased the alcohol with a sleeping pill. He was slurring his words and not making much sense. Then he got up and started wandering the aisles, generally getting a little too touchy with some of the female passengers, but he avoided me for the most part. He kept asking for alcohol and they kept bringing coffee, so that by the time we arrived in Entebbe, he was only staggering a bit.
Anyway, we're here now, safe and sound. This was the fastest turnaround between trips to Africa, only three months, and I hadn't worked up quite the same level of missing Africa that I had on previous trips. Also, this is my first trip since Bealy and I broke up (which was a really good thing, and we're still friends), and that changes a few dynamics of the trip. All that being said, I didn't have quite the same level of giddiness that I usually have, and I was worried about that.
I have to say, though, that as I exited the plane in Entebbe, walking through the tunnel to the airport, smelling and feeling Africa again, I almost teared up. I felt home again. All the Africans on the flight who had been speaking English seemed to feel the same and started speaking Swahili immediately, and there was a Dinka man from Sudan on the flight who seemed to be coming home to his family after a long absence, and their welcome of him made me feel privileged and intrusive at the same time. All the sights and sounds and smells were infinitely comforting to my heart. I was totally revived before I'd even reached the outside of the terminal.
Now we're here, and having spent some time catching up with Edwin and Christine and seeing Mama Susan and our friend Esther Basa and Betty and the wonderful children here, I'm so happy. Soon Lasu is coming, one of the most random, funny guys I've ever met, and Edwin and I will be going into Kampala on boda bodas (motorcycle taxis), and I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be.