And Its Not Even Valentines Day

There are a high number of people finding my blog through the following search terms in the past week:

 

 

And a simple google search shows me that “kırmızı gül resimleri” means red roses too. Is there some rose infested festival that I am not aware of at the moment? Or just a spike in potential romantics googling about red roses?

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You Know, That Film

After work yesterday I went by the local DVD shop to see what they had stocked. As I was  perusing through their DVD collection I overheard a rather heated conversation another customer in the shop was having with the sales person. The poor sales person was being accused of having insufficient film knowledge, as she was not able to recognize the film the customer wanted to buy by the following description the customer gave her:

You know that film, the one with the big explosion in the middle. You must know the film with the explosion. You do not know the film with the explosion? Do you even watch films?

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The UN Weighs In On The Great Austrian Australian Divide…

…and in the process bestows a new Prime Minister on Australia.

Yes, this actually happend. AT THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY.

 

 

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Evacuate, Evacuate

On my most recent flight with Air Uganda (which was incidentally a 35 minute flight delayed for 5 hours due to a storm and when the storm passed further delayed because they had no available pilot to fly the plane), I got a seat in the exit row. This has not happend to me on  a flight for quite a while (with my height there is not really any argument I can make to warrant the extended leg room). Therefore, if what I describe below is an entirely normal description of the procedures to follow when sitting by an exit row, then forgive me. However, if they are, then I cannot help but find them a little strange,  to say the least.

Stewardess: Madam, do you realize that you are sitting by an exit row.

Me: Yes

Surprisingly, the big red sign saying “EXIT” gave that one away.

Stewardess: Are you willing to help us and your fellow passengers during an emergency?

Me: Yes

I guess its not every man/woman for themselves then.

Stewardess: Ok, I will now show you how to take the window off in case of an emergency.

Stewardess proceeds to show me how to take the window off.

Stewardess: But Madam, please only take the window off if the pilot says the word ‘evacuate’ three times. If he only says it twice, do not take the window off, then it is not an emergency.

Really? I mean, which (sadistic) pilot would go on loudspeaker and say “evacuate” not once, but twice, on a plane, when it is not an emergency?

Stewardess: In case the microphone is not working, the pilot will flash the fasten seatbelt sign three times.

I wanted to ask whether there is some time interval for the succession of blinks that I need to be looking out for and whether they would provide a complimentary stopwatch for this. But I thought I best leave it.

Stewardess: You can also only open the window if we are in the air, on water or land and only if you cannot see any debris or fire from your window.

I had to follow up on this one.

Me: So if there is debris or fire outside my window, what can I do to evacuate the aircraft?

Stewardess: You will have to find another option Madam.

Duh.

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Austria – Some People Know It

My very good friend (and a reader of this blog) has just weighed into the whole Great Austrian Australian divide. She was having a conversation with a colleague who noted the following about Austria:

There’s a place called Austria. Not Australia! Austria. And it’s towards the end of the world. Beyond it nothing exists. There’s just ice.

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The Royal Ascot Goat Races

 

The Friday before last I got a emails, text messages and phone calls reminding me of the “Goat Races” the next day. One of the annual highlights of Kampala’s social calendar.  I did double check whether “Goat Races” actually involved goats racing.

It did.

And not only goats racing but ladies in fancy dresses and big hats (and men dressed to tees too).

What is funny though, was that my first thought about goat racing was thinking back to all those times we had to manoever our cars around the goats in the road in South Sudan or even get out to physically move them out of the way because they would not move for a massive 4 by 4 vehicle. How on earth were goats going to race?

 

Yes, they were motivated/encouraged along the track by a man pushing a mattress (note to self for the next time I take a road trip in South Sudan: attach a mattress to the front of the car).

You could also bet on the goats.

Given my little knowledge of the attributes one should look for in a fast goat, I went for either names I liked (e.g. the Goat called Kiprotich) or my lucky number 2. In the last race my lucky number won at odds 6:1 and I not only won back, but actually doubled my investments of the day!!

Oh and on goat names: The name of the day has to go to the poor goat called “Goat Stew” (who incidentally won his race). The only name that I can think of that may possibly be on par (or worse?) than that: Nyama Choma.

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Full is a Relative Term

Another post about transportation, you say?

Of course, I say, as last week I got my first matatu experience in Uganda.

Now, matatus are little mini vans, with 4 rows of seats for 3 people each a driver and a passenger in the front  – i.e. they are licensed to take 14 people.

In theory.

As readers of this blog will know, this theory rarely holds up and the last time I was confronted with a ridiculously overcrowded matatu situation, I got a car.

But there were only 18 people in this matatu.

In the matatu I got in last week, there were four people in each row a conductor and two people plus the driver at the front making it a total of 20 full people. Then there were 3 children on laps too. And my colleague informed me that hopefully we would leave because the matatu full yet. They only leave when they are full and apparently Ugandan matatus take the word “full” very seriously.

Oh and additionally to the people, there were also large bags of cabbages stacked behind me (as I was in the last row). When I say behind I mean they pushed our seat forward to stack the cabbages and so I had a couple under my feet and on my lap and had to sit myself diagonally sideways to fit.

Thankfully, post-cabbage inclusion, the driver and the conductor decided that we were now “full” and so we, i.e. 18 full passengers, 3 children, 1 driver, 1 conductor and numerous cabbages, hit the road, stopping at a petrol station first.

And we got exactly 3km out of town when the matatu sputtered and stopped in the middle of the road. Therefore, 18 full passengers, 3 children, 1 driver, 1 conductor stepped out of the matatu and the numerous cabbages were unloaded to the side of the road. Apparently we had refueled with diesel instead of petrol meaning that this matatu was not going anywhere anytime soon.

My colleague and I were standing at the side of the road contemplating our next move. My colleague said that it was ok, we would just hail one of the matatus on its way. I pointed out to him that if the matatus only leave when they are “full” how were going to find space in one that had just started out of town?

In the next two minutes a matatu pulled up and took me, my colleague and 3 other full passengers from our stranded matutu.

Now we were 4 rows of 5 people with 3 people sitting in the front with the driver. (Remind me never to complain about a matatu with 18 people again).

As I was sufficiently squished and half way on the lap of the old man next to me I looked to the door and saw that the conductor had not entered the matatu yet. I began to wonder where on earth he was going to find space in the matatu.

Silly me.

On my lap of course. Was that not obvious?

Yes dear readers, “full” really is only a relative term.

 

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