12 May 2011

Kampala, exploring the city, part 2

Kampala is the largest city (1.6 million people) and capital of Uganda. The city is said to be built on seven hills, although as the population continues to grow it's now more like 24 hills. Kampala has a diverse ethnic population, although the Buganda - the local ethnic group - make up over 60% of the greater Kampala region.

This is the view from Ryan's apartment balcony.

One day we hopped on 3 motorbike taxis to head out for lunch. While we ate our two scrumptious pizzas at a nice outdoor Italian place, a plane did aerobatic flight maneuvers right overhead. Although we're not sure what the occasion was, we enjoyed the entertainment.

A clever sign indicating the location of the men's "water closet".

One evening, we again hopped on 3 motorbike taxis to have dinner at Ryan's favorite pork joint. The pork is in the round compartment in the center. Starting in the upper righthand corner of my tray and going around clockwise, there's also avocado, matooke (cooked banana) with a sauce, a small pile of salt, cassava, greens, and sliced tomato. ALL very delicious and very inexpensive!

We also stopped by Ryan's favorite "street food" spot! There were numerous small kiosks preparing a large variety of foods and also a few selling other items. In this photo, I'm waiting for the young man to prepare a "rollex" - a clever way to say "rolled eggs". It consists of 2 fried eggs with chopped tomato, rolled up in a chapati. It was quite delicious!

Ryan is a diehard Manchester United "football" fan. Julie and I joined him one evening to watch Man U vs. Manchester City in the FA Cup Semi-finals (the most prestigious knockout tournament in England). He took us to one of his favorite hangouts - Yigona Guest House in the Mutundwe neighborhood. The place was jam-packed with well over 100 fans... all eyes glued on one of two TV sets. Manchester United lost to their local rivals Manchester City 1-0. It was an upset of sorts and Ryan was a bit disappointed with the outcome.

While we were in Kampala, there was a lot of unrest in the city. In many locations, we saw a lot of armed police and military. This large armored vehicle is designed to shoot teargas at crowds. The cost of basic commodities and the price of fuel has been spiraling in Uganda. Low-income families are really struggling to survive. Peaceful "walk to work" demonstrations have been held in the city twice a week during much of April. One of President Museveni's key opponents - Kizza Besigye - has been arrested numerous times as he participates in the demonstrations. Museveni ordered the police to crack down on the demonstrators, causing rioting, injuries, and even some deaths.

If you want to see some great videos from Kampala, please visit my video page!

You'll find a video of the flooded downtown streets that Julie and I encountered the morning we left the city, two very fun - and spontaneous - traditional dances at the church we attended, my wild and crazy motorbike-taxi ride in the downtown traffic, and one of a child entertaining himself with an old tire. Enjoy!

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