Thursday, January 14, 2010

hitting the road: from kampala to kisii

Danny and I are unfortunately getting a reputation for being late to things. We were definitely late for our trip - luckily there was no plane to catch - just the Defender sitting in the driveway, waiting patiently. We spent most of New Years Day packing: a trunk with our clothes; a bin filled with canned beans and corn, chili, pasta, oatmeal, coffee, mac & cheese, packets of tuna; foldable camp chairs and table; lanterns and cooking stove; yellow jerry cans of drinking water; "the kitchen" - a backpack filled with cooking and eating utensils; coolers with meat for the early days on the road; our two guitars (in a romantic ideal of our trip, we were musical vagrants), and an inexplicable amount of booze for two people for 12 days (you know, just in case). Neilos hopped in the back seat and put on a VERY depressed face.

We finally hit the road just before dark, and ran into rain on the Kampala-Jinja Road, realizing the headlights were not sufficient to be driving in the dark. So, on our first day, we made it about 90 km. We stopped for the night at our friend Wim's place, staying in his cottage for the night.

2 Jan - time to get serious. We got on the road to Kenya and crossed the border at Busia. Kenya greeted us with rain and shitty roads (yes, worse than Uganda). We drove into Kisumu for money and bread - Kisumu is a lakeside town, and Kenya's third largest city. Then on further south to Kisii. I'd been reading about what an utter crap hole Kisii was - litter-strewn streets, lots of weird unfinished construction - a sort of Tijuana in the Kenyan hills. Unfortunately, darkness was again fast approaching, and we recognized that there was no possible way we'd make it to the Mara before dark. We both shared the dream of setting up camp in some idyllic spot just off the road, with stunning views.

Instead of scenery, we were awarded with an evening at the Kisii police barracks. Danny pulled his international policeman card and we parked the Defender between two buildings housing about ten officers. Surely the highlight of their new year.

The highlight of my morning, however, was when Danny tried to turn last night's mashed potatoes (accidentally made enough for an army) into potato pancakes. Note: mashed potatoes fry up nicely the next day as.... mashed potatoes, nothing more. So we had mashed potatoes for breakfast and hit the road.

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