We have been without Internet for the past six days, so I am playing catch up on writing and posting as the trip winds down.
We are on our last drive through Kampala as we head toward Kabale in Southwest Uganda. Thankfully it is Saturday morning and the traffic is somewhat lighter. For all of the amazing places we have visited, I will not miss these urban bus rides. The pace is not as frenetic as India where vehicles seem to move in all directions and are interspersed with throngs of pedestrians and the occasional sacred cow. The Kampala roads simply have no capacity, with two lanes accommodating four lanes of traffic. And, the system as a whole affords few alternatives for travel in any direction. The rich must certainly have a better time of it than others, leaving the aggravation to their drivers, and never having to take the risks that go with hanging on the back of a Boda Boda,or the discomfort of a jamming into a collective taxi. But short of President Museveni,who can clear the streets for his motorcade of black Range Rovers with tinted glass, everyone gets jammed,
When we finally break free of the city and its gravitational field, everything changes. On the stretches of good pavement, we move easily at seventy to eighty kilometers per hour, slowing occasionally for the speed bumps of a town. A calf grazes along the road staked on a short length of rope. Shopkeepers stand beside wooden tables offering potatoes, tomatoes, tilapia. Men trim roadside weeds with long knives. Bicycles transport everything from water jugs stacked four high to full length fluorescent bulbs. The landscape folds into rolling hills as we approach Mbabara and we keep eyes peeled for zebras.
The road improves again on the last leg to Kabale and we climb into the higher reaches of the green hills. Farming terraces step their way high up the slopes. Homes of rich brown adobe spread over wooden frames are tucked into neatly bounded fields and vegetable gardens. Just before town, the bus engine dies and Mansur must nurse it along to make it to the top of the grade, adding water with curry powder to try to staunch the bleeding radiator. By the time we coast into the boat launch, the moon has yet to rise and it is darkest night. We skim across the jet black surface, smooth as marble, skirting the shore until, rounding the point, Entusi welcomes us with open arms.