Really rapey-looking anti-HIV public service announcement pushing monogamy on the population at the border with Rwanda
View of Kampala from the balcony of my hotel. As of the 2014 census, Kampala had a population of about 1.5 million.
A local company called Walter’s Tours Ltd. offers what’s known as the Kampala Boda Boda City Tour. “Boda boda” is the most commonly used name for “motorcycle taxi” in several East African countries. Pictured here is Chris who was to be my boda boda driver for the day of my city tour.
Hittin’ the streets!
Baha’i House of Worship. According to Wikipedia, “The Bahá’í Faith (Persian: بهائی Bahā’i) is a religion teaching the essential worth of all religions, and the unity and equality of all people. Established by Bahá’u’lláh in 1863, it initially grew in Iran (Persia) and other parts of the Middle East region, where it has faced ongoing persecution since its inception. Currently it has between 5 and 7 million adherents, known as Bahá’ís, spread out into most of the world’s countries and territories.”
The locations of all Baha’i Houses of Worship worldwide. I read that there’s also one in Cambodia but it’d only opened within the past year or two so they need to get off their ass n update this shit. There also used to be one in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan from 1908 until 1938 when the Soviets turned it into an art gallery.
Cruisin’ through a poorer part of the city
There were so many gambling institutions adjacent that slummy neighborhood
And the slogans for each one of these places was always something uplifting like here “Discover your potential” or “Feel at home” as I’d seen on another place. Imbuing the most destitute part of the population with false hope and taking them for all they’re worth. Tisk tisk
Statue commemorating, as Wikipedia tells it, “Major General Sir Edward Frederick William David Walugembe Mutebi Luwangula Muteesa II KBE (19 November 1924 – 21 November 1969), who was Kabaka of the Kingdom of Buganda from 22 November 1939 until his death. He was the thirty-fifth Kabaka of Buganda and the first President of Uganda.”
Uganda gained independence from Britain on October 9, 1962
Lots of melons as well as the same guy in the red shirt from the photo previous
The helmet I wore
Ridin’ out to Lake Victoria
Another, larger, furniture store
Bae goin’ for that Marylin Monroe windy skirt action
The fish market
Choppin’ ’em up
This guy came up to me, called me Jesus and then began dropping freestyle raps on my ass in Swahili or some other shit I didn’t understand and I asked my guide Chris what he was rapping about. He just said, “It’s not important. This guy is very high from smoking.”
His name was Star Moving Bar
Boda bodas with a meat shop in the background
Just lettin’ it all hang out
The sign on the bottom right of the photo is advertising goat meat which was pretty popular in the area. I thought I’d give it a whirl one night when I was out for dinner and ordered a slab of goat ribs. Sorry guys, not a fan.
En route to Mengo Palace
According to Lonely Planet, “Built in 1922, this small palace is the former home of the king of Buganda, though it has remained empty since 1966 when Prime Minister Milton Obote ordered a dramatic attack to oust Kabaka Mutesa II, then president of Uganda. Led by the forces of Idi Amin, soldiers stormed the palace and, after several days of fighting, Mutesa was forced into exile.”
Lonely Planet continues saying, “After the coup against Mutesa II, the palace building was converted to army barracks, while an adjacent site (pictured here) became a prison and torture-execution chamber built by Idi Amin in the 1970s.” Amin seized power from Obote in a 1971 coup d’état and that’s when shit got really ugly.
Inside the dark hole from the photo previous. Hundreds of prisoners were packed in the elevated rooms to the left and the ground here was flooded with water that had been connected to electricity to prevent escape and, according to my guide at the palace, to make prisoners stand in while subjecting them to varying voltages as they were interrogated. The walls inside the rooms were stained with bloody handprints and desperate messages scribbled by the prisoners.
Stain showing the depth of Amin’s electrified pool. According to Wikipedia, under the rule of Idi Amin, “An estimate compiled by exile organizations with the help of Amnesty International puts the number killed at 500,000…The victims included members of other ethnic groups, religious leaders, journalists, artists, senior bureaucrats, judges, lawyers, students and intellectuals, criminal suspects, and foreign nationals. In this atmosphere of violence, many other people were killed for criminal motives or simply at will. Bodies were often dumped into the River Nile.”
Mutesa’s Rolls Royce as destroyed by Amin during the 1966 coup
Inside a Hindu temple. My good friend Wikipedia wants y’all to know that, “Hinduism in Uganda arrived when the colonial British Empire brought Hindus along with other Indian workers to its East African colonies in late 19th and early 20th centuries to help construct the Kenya-Uganda railway…The largest departure of Hindus from Uganda occurred when General Idi Amin expelled them and seized their properties in 1972…Twenty years after the Idi Amin expulsion, Uganda reversed its laws selectively targeting Hindus and other Indian religions. This policy, offered in cooperation with the World Bank, included a return of properties seized by Idi Amin’s government, such as empty and unused factories, back to the families if they returned and recreated employment.”
Is that supposed to be fuckin’ Saddam Hussein?
Pictured here is a building known as Bulange which houses the Parliament of the Kingdom of Buganga. Both the prime minister and the king of Buganga (which, confusingly enough, is a subnational kingdom within Uganda) have offices here in Bulange.
Thanks again to Wikipedia for the assist here, “The Mengo Palace on Mengo Hill is connected to the Bulange Complex on Namirembe Hill by a straight road, about a mile long, called the “Kabaka Anjagala Road” (“The King Loves Me Road” in English). About halfway, the straight road is intersected by Lubaga Road. There is a roundabout for the use of ordinary travelers. However, there is a strait-way through the roundabout with a gate. That is for the exclusive use of the Kabaka (king) when moving between the palace and the parliament building. Tradition forbids the king from going round the roundabout. He must travel straight when moving between the two locations.”
In Uganda, a “rolex” is an omelette and vegetables wrapped inside chapati
Dude making my lunchtime rolex. The name has nothing to do with the watch and everything to do with how the omelette and the chapati are “rolled” together
Yess Boss…another rolex stand at the market where I grabbed my lunch
Chicken coup at the same market
Uganda National Mosque. According to the 2014 census, 13.7% of the Ugandan population is Muslim. 84.5% is Christian.
Commissioned by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi as a gift to Uganda and completed in 2006, this house of worship had been known as Gaddafi National Mosque until 2013 when the new Libyan administration refused to rehabilitate the structure under the name of the deposed leader who’d been stabbed in the ass and killed by the Misrata militia two years beforehand.
Uganda National Mosque can hold up to 15,000 worshipers
My guide standing in front of the “mihrab” which is the semicircular niche in the wall that indicates the “qibla” or direction of Kaaba in Mecca that Muslims must face while praying
Beginning my climb up the minaret
The top of a staircase that spirals out of sight
View of Kampala from the top of the minaret
Free circumcision…at a dental clinic? Hope they don’t use the same tools for both
On my way to Kampala Taxi Park to catch a ride to Jinja. The most popular form of intercity travel in Uganda is on a minibus like this.
And at Kampala Taxi Park, there are 1000s of vans constantly coming from and going to every part of the country. It’s a madhouse. Once you’re in a minibus and it’s ready to leave, it takes an hour to get out of the taxi park.
Took me a while to find the minibuses heading to Jinja in this massive maze of vans, but I found ’em. Don’t remember exactly the cost of the ride, but I don’t think it set me back more than a few bucks
Portable rack of goods being transported around by a vendor at the Jinja taxi park
“Aleader” better than Amin, at the very least
In East Africa, as far back as the 18th century, “mzungu” has been translated as “wanderer” or “someone who roams around.” Nowadays, it’s used – and used heavily – to describe or address anyone with white skin. And here are two “mzungu” shirts being sold in Jinja by some racist-ass motherfuckers. Man, fuck y’all
Cheap-ass bags of booze
Sitting with friends Kathleen and Hanna at a bar along the White Nile
The Nile as seen from the bar. I was supposed to go white water rafting the following day. This river don’t look so bad!
The owner of the guesthouse I stayed at turned out to be pretty religious. I stayed in a room named “DENNIS”
Just like Dennis Rodman!
“Dear Fred and Family,” – I could be mistaken, there could be someone named Fred to whom this message is directed towards, but I’m almost certain they meant to say “friends”
Gotta sleep under that mosquito net to keep them malaria skeeters at bay
Because of their propensity to hang out in big piles of garbage all day long picking through scraps, Kathleen and Hanna (who’d been living in Uganda doing Peace Corps for the last year and have had plenty of time to observe the behavior of these disgustabirds) referred to these creatures as “garbage birds” and spoke with utter repugnance of the “ballsacks” that hang from their necks
Gin…where’s the juice?
Sticker inside a minibus promoting safer driving
Rafting the White Nile
Receiving safety instructions. ***All photos from this section courtesy of Nalubale Rafting***
One of the lifeguards going down the first rapid ahead of us
Not so bad
Here we had to portage to get past this Class 6 rapid which is not part of the package
Back in the water. The following sequence of photos is from a class 5 rapid, which is the second most difficult level of rapid (behind 6). I’ll refrain from comments here and let the photos tell the story…
It was here that I just chucked my paddle and swam away. A couple people didn’t and ended up getting trapped under the raft…
Our fearless leader climbing on top of the raft to flip it over and liberate the two girls trapped underneath while I floated away to safety.
Serene part of the river just after that class 5 rapid
For the last rapid of the day we had the option of rafting or of floating. We all decided to jump off and float through
That was a lotta fun
Floating to the shore
Game over. One thing that should be noted is that anyone who swims in the White Nile could potentially have contracted a disease known as schistosomiasis and it’s recommended that you take a dose of an over-the-counter drug called praziquantel five weeks after possible exposure to kill any of the parasitic flatworms that may or may not be slithering around inside you.