Wednesday, August 27, 2008

10 Thoughts From the First 24 Hours

1.    My trip into another culture started out a little rough when the African ticket agent at the Ethiopian Airlines desk in Dulles asked to see my credit card.  I could not for the life of me understand him.  He did not have a very thick accent, Alicia had no problem figuring out what he wanted, but he had to repeat "credit card" about five times before I realized what he was saying.  Alicia thought that this did not bode well for our trip to Uganda

2.    Somehow I managed to book our seats on both flights one row in front of the exit row.  I had thought that I had gotten us exit rows, but I guess I misunderstood the airlines seating diagram.  It wasn't too bad, but I think we would have slept a little better on the way over had we had more leg room.

3.    The coffee was by far the highlight of the flight for me.  One perk of flying Ethiopian is that they serve real Ethiopian coffee, and they serve it strong and hot.

4.    One of the first things I noticed about Uganda was how red the soil is.  The country is very lush and green, but anywhere the soil is exposed is a bright burnt orange color.

5.    Driving in Kampala is crazy!  I need to devote a whole blog entry to it so I won't even try to describe it here.

6.    There are lots and lots of birds.  I'll plan to devote another post (in honor of my mom) to the birds we have seen just in Kampala.

7.    There are no American chain restaurants in Uganda.  No McDonalds, no Burger King, no KFC, no Starbucks.  That blew my mind.  There can't be many countries left on earth that can say that.  Pretty cool!

8.    While coffee is the number one export of Uganda, there are very few places to get good coffee in country (according to Dan).  Uganda is a tea drinking nation, being a former British colony and they export their beans unroasted.  I guess no one has mastered the art of coffee roasting here.  Probably because there is almost no demand for it.

9.    The exchange rate here is about 1635 Ugandan Shillings to 1 US Dollar.  That makes for some difficult math at the grocery store.

10.    Walking in Kampala, people pretty much ignore you. This is a refreshing change from my experience in Thailand and Alicia's in India where people would stop and stare as you passed.  I don't think it's because the people here are so used to white people, it seems like they just don't find it that strange that your skin color is different.  That doesn't mean that taxi drivers won't still try to rip you off for being an inexperienced tourist.

More to come.  Thanks for reading.


  1. Love you guys! Definitely enjoying the blog so far....

    (aardbei is strawberry in Dutch and the name that I apparently have set up for blogging purposes...)

  2. Hey guys!

    It's so great to be able to read about your travels even while we're out here in Philippines! Hope you have an amazing time.

    Tom & Kristin


See Where Our Pictures Were Taken