Thursday, January 27, 2011

compliments, little bit cripsy and afternoon movies.

Yesterday was a public holiday as Ugandan Liberation Day was celebrated...although I didn't actually see or hear much was still nice to have a day off work!

1. "You kept a really good pace today" says my running buddy. Advice and compliments from a more experienced runner are gratefully received and makes me very happy!
2. I sat by the pool in the morning with my friend for a good old catch-up. It was still quiet and not too hot, but I still managed to get a bit of a pink nose... nice to be a shade not as pale as white!
3. The Kids Are All Right...but the parentals sure aren't. I laughed out loud in my flat.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Weekend 3BT

Yesterday I was sick as a dog. I boiled two eggs and even though they smelt and tasted funny- I still ate both of them. Clever! I think it was because I was distracted by an e-mail I was reading!

  • Reading this anytime is always a beautiful thing..."I would like to formally offer you a position at..." Reading this from a school that you would actually love to teach at is even more exciting!  Worries of being jobless, or even worse...becoming a supply teacher are gone!Phew!
  • I love watching films and crying my heart out.Yesterday I watched Sex in the City,the movie (the first one of course!)- I thought my neighbour might knock on my door to see if I was OK. I was!
  • "Do you want to see what I have extracted",says the beautician today.Mmmm, no thanks but thank you for making my skin feel beautiful!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Today's problem

Since today I do not want to have to deal with any real problems; like...I don't know...finding a job!! I have found a new one that I can enjoy solving!

What shall I wear to my brother's wedding?

Obviously this day is not ALL ABOUT ME...but still, I want to look nice.

I do get worried about being introduced as, "This is Robyn...She lives in Uganda," and with a nod of sympathy I will then be excused for my outfit, made more so with the addition of Jesus' sandals! Actually sod it, maybe I should go wearing a friggin' gomesi!!!

Waiting for the buffet at the wedding...
wearing the Ugandan national dress.

I don't have this worry for my fabulous friend Jo's wedding, that outfit has been chosen for me.

Jokes aside, I am thinking fabulous shoes from  Chie Mihara and a simple yet tres chic dress. The wedding will be in Ireland, ceilidh dancing will not be occurring (actually this needs double checking)-so I am not going to be wearing flats.

Obviously my outfit will not be found in the online hunt begins!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

White Noise

I joke that I live in the 'ghetto' of Kampala.
The white noise of night, of grasshoppers and toads, are often blocked by the deafening tones of the compound gate constantly opening and closing, the truck horns blaring, the church congregation singing at any and every hour of the day (usually off key), the mosque and its call to prayer, my bachelor neighbours being loud and inconsiderate, the stray African dogs barking to their friends, the local bars trying to attract the punters etc etc.

My brain then decides to make white noise of its own and turns and turns and...this is some of the nonsense that I thinking about and fretting about as I lie in my bed...
  • I really must lose some weight-where has this belly come from!? I have three summer weddings and I of course want to show everyone that I am looking after myself in Africa.
  • I am actually not going to stress about losing weight for the round of summer weddings coming up. No. Instead I am going to work hard at looking very brown, thus giving the impression that I am in fact slim and healthy!
  • My class assembly...bullocks! I must write that this weekend! Will ignore that one for 2 more days.
  • If that rat attacked me what would I do???I bet it would bite me with its two big front teeth, I would then spin and spin and spin and just like in a cartoon it would not let go!!Oh god, I cannot go back to that bar for at least a week...or instead I could go, get really drunk and forget that I saw a rat the size of a small pony there! Yes..good idea!
  • I really should unpack my bag from the weekend...I will get up and do that now...I'll give it five more minutes...I should really try to sleep.
  • I am so lucky, my new gadgets that I got my Christmas are great! My garmin watch is pretty and I ran much faster wearing it yesterday...but how does it work? I really should read the manual.Where is it? I will do that on the weekend. I must also sort out my new phone so I can read my email on it...yes...I will also do that this weekend!
  • I really should SKYPE more...yes, Esther in the staffroom said she had a SKYPE date with wine and everything-that sounds fun. OK,will make more of an effort with the technology thing...this weekend!
  • Where is my white ronhill running cap...?

All nonsense of course! 
I usually ware myself out so much that I can then sleep through the noise outside!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Today's day dream

Today I am day dreaming about how I can bring one of these beautiful pieces to Africa. Aren't they just so unique and pretty?

I can imagine sitting on a white wooden chair at this very cute desk. I also think the Patchwork desk is fantastic!

Maybe I could break one up and put it in a suitcase??? Day dreaming...

Oh...I should add; the reason I am day dreaming about pretty wallpapered furniture is because last night I saw a rat the size of a small pony...all that was missing was the saddle...I kid you not! It gave me nightmares!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

More from Nairobi

Weekends outside Kampala are treasured. I am always planning them; a wee fishing trip with friends  and some time out with my African Adventurer , (who wants to see what keeps me here in Uganda) are next.
Last weekend I was back in Nairobi.
This is the same day as wandering around a couple of cute shops in Nairobi, I went for a wee walk in a forest, in a suburb of the city. I was also taken to a pretty little dam just outside the city, to row a rubber boat and catch some fish. Shiny malls, boutiques and the countryside...heaven! (I went for a swim in the dam too..but that was not planned!)

After five minutes afloat, I caught my first fish!


A cute picnic spot

Due to the elections I am moving RUT temporarily to Kenya for my next client..the name may have to change! I am looking forward to seeing more of the country and spending more time in Nairobi. I am not the only one that enjoys the fresh air and clean streets of Kenya, the diversity and beauty of the country.. my friend shares her similar feelings in her lovely post.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Weekend Spots

I am planning a mini-break in Uganda. The only criteria is that it has to be in close proximity to Kampala...this is the tricky part!
If I could, I may go…

here. A favourite of mine, Ndali Lodge at the crater lakes, to stroll around the plantations and a swim in the lake…


Lake Mburu to count zebras, swim in their beautiful pool and maybe take a boat ride to see the hippos…


Jinja; (the closest option) to kayak watching the sun go down on the Nile and eat lots of yummy food…

Hmmm...decisions, decisions.

If it was a long weekend I would love to go to Sipi Falls and stay here…I haven’t been yet, but doesn’t it look pretty?

Sunday mornings, first fish and delays.

My 3BT from a wonderful Sunday in Africa.
  • Waking up early on a sunny Sunday morning, knowing that you are able roll over and sleep more; the whole day is ahead of you..but it will wait a wee while longer!
  • I was taken, by my African Adventurer, to a beautiful dam outside of Nairobi to go trout fishing. The rubber boat had a leak so I strategically placed my foot on top of it to stop us from drowning. As I did this I reeled in the first catch of the day and my first ever fish! It was gutted on the water and saved for dinner.
  • My flight was delayed...not for long, so really not very bothersome...and I just love watching all the different characters in the airport; safari groups, holiday makers, volunteers, missionaries, families returning to school, the busy and important suits, the muzungus who have been at the beach too long and now have dreadlocks and  braids. Those excited, confused, bored, sad, hungry and tired faces. With this live show to watch, I could only read a page of my book.

Friday, January 14, 2011


I have been having a wee bit of 'writer's block' with regards to my blog and writing about my adventures in Africa.

Power cuts and dry taps quickly becomes the norm; the white noise of living creatures at night is easily ignored (along with the calls to prayer from the mosque) and safari stories are really only fun for those that went on them!

I thought about writing about my running routes again..but I am still just finding my feet and haven't yet worked out how to use my fancy new Garmin.

Then school, such a major part of life, is really a 'no go' area.

Reviews...hahahah! I have learnt from my mistakes and a critic I am not.

This weekend I am off to Nairobi for a mini adventure, and I am determined to be like a tourist, not only in Kenya but once I return to Uganda; to look at East Africa with some fresh eyes and share my stories. I also will charge up my camera and take some shots of everyday life. You can hold me to it!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Location, location, location

After all the 'ups and downs' of safari on bumpy Ugandan roads, at the first opportunity I jumped on a plane to Nairobi to make the most of the rest of my holiday. I watched my parents fly back to Kuwait, then grabbed my own bag and headed off to meet my African Adventurer.

I do realise that, like many cities, Nairobi has its slums and leafy suburbs, and the contrasts are vast. But for me, coming from the ghetto of Kampala, Nairobi (with its smooth roads…most of them!...rubbish- free streets, green spaces, shiny shopping malls, good customer service, fresh hummus and Dorset cereal) to me is the perfect mix of the modern world in Africa. 10 minutes in the car from said flashy mall (with shops that you might actually want to spend money in !!!) and you can be spotting giraffes and searching for lions or less than an hour away, having sundowners looking over the mass barren expanse of the Rift Valley.

However, there are some pitfalls about Nairobi after the convenience of living in a small city like Kampala. Size being the biggest downer. With no traffic (yes, it can happen) it can take over 45 minutes to cross from one part of the city to another. So rather than asking, like we do in Kampala, how long (new) friends are intending on staying in the country…the question may be “Where in Nairobi do you live?” ,not out of snobbery but for pure logistical reasons!

But of all this doesn’t really matter...

I came back with three boxes of Dorset cereal..!

Not a bad place to relax and read!
That is the outdoor bath!

An escape to the country...not far from the hustle and
 bustle of Nairobi.

Monday, January 10, 2011

hugs, beautiful things and packages

It felt like the start of winter in the UK this morning. A storm seemed to be brewing so Kampala was unusually dark and the cockerels morning alarm clock did not go off. But after checking the time on my watch, my phone and on the Internet...and some strong coffee...I made my way to school for the first day back after the holidays.

  • Happy-New-Year hugs and kisses in the staffroom and in the playground. Nice to see people you have missed and to have been missed!
  • My class and I shared our 3 Beautiful Things from our holidays; hard for everyone to whittle it down to 3. Some of them..."Falling into the lake when I had a fish hooked on my line", "Building sand hills at the beach", "Getting up early on Christmas day to climb the tallest building in the world" and "Jumping up and down at the visa counter, excited to be met at the airport by someone special".
  • Knowing I have two parcels at the post office waiting for collection...guessing who they are from and what might be inside!!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Beautiful Uganda

RUT are back from another successful safari.

I sometimes think that I am not exploring enough of Africa or taking full advantage of the continent I live in. But as soon as I leave Kampala, I am reminded, once again, of the beauty that Uganda boasts. I will, soon, leave Uganda to explore more of Africa, but just now I am more than happy to play host to friends and family visiting the Pearl of Africa.

This is my Africa; I love showing it off and I know I am so lucky to live here! always the tour guide/driver has learnt a few lessons from the recent safari:
  • When writing the packing list for safari clients, be VERY specific; even list possible accessories. (The phone call the night before my parents left Kuwait to come on safari:  "Diamond ring, to bring or leave?" asks Mum!!)
  • Plan no more than four hours of driving a day. Just because it is an inch on the map, does not mean it will not take you all day! 10 hour days are too much and may compromise the tips!
  • Don't warn clients of flying creatures and their nasty habits, it just makes them paranoid of tsetse flies and the such like.
  • Never tell clients that you have just seen a snake when you are having sundowners, wait and tell them the next day!
  • Do not rely on clients remembering to carry mixers for sundowners; rather than a G&T you will end up with soda water and no gin...solution, do EVERYTHING yourself!
By the end of the safari, my VIP guests were pros at spotting the birds and game; they could even tell the difference between a waterbuck and an impala, or a giraffe and an elephant!!! I joke, I was very proud of my novice safari clients...only once did they not come out of their tent as they were worried about stray buffalo climbing to the top of a rock! Well done Mum and Dad!

Some photos of our trip, if your interested.

We tracked the rhinos on day one. Mum was busy checking out
which tree would be best to climb if need be!!

Then we headed to Murchison to spot giraffe and see the falls. 

On route from Ndali Lodge we got a puncture, mum kept herself
busy as the photographer for the trip.

We spent our Christmas at Ishasha
Elephants enjoyed splashing around by the river at our camp  -
safari from the comfort of the bar...ace!

Christmas morning safari in Ishasha-  spotting sleepy lions
(My blog won't post these photos for some reason!)

Our view of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

More elephants, this time on route to Lake Mburu

One of our favourite lodges, if not our favourite, was Mhingo Lodge
 at Lake Mburu.

Binos at the ready!!!

My two favourite times of the day; sundowners and morning coffee.

Safari guide is on holiday until February. is your turn next!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Thousands of potholes, one flat tyre, one visit to the local hospital, dozens of giraffes, a couple of sleepy lions, parades of elephants, hordes of Ugandan kob, just a few zebra, too much tasty food, five comfortable beds and 1700 KM later; RUT has returned back to Kampala from a great safari!

Stories and photos to be posted shortly.

Happy New Year from Uganda!