Howdy, and welcome to Kampala. I hope you had a great flight, or a series of great flights, depending on where you came from and how many planes you had to board. You will find that Kampala will be a nice place, if you heed the few tips I am going to outline below. So take out your paper and pencil and take down a few notes.
Firstly, in Kampala, things are happening at a much faster rate than you might have anticipated. People are rushing to beat deadlines and hand in proposals. So if you stand in the middle of the pavement with your large bags and water bottles and start taking pictures with your fancy cameras, you’ll be jostled out of the way by the likes of us. Kampala’s pedestrians can actually run over and kill you!
Speaking of fancy cameras and taking photos, I suggest you don’t do that either, unless of course you are ready for what might happen next. Be careful not to get carried away. There’s folks here whose arms are faster than Ironman. One moment, you’ll be looking at a scene through the little screen on your digital camera, and the next you’ll be looking at the said scene directly through your sunglasses, assuming they too don’t get nicked off your face!
You are probably here on holiday, so you are probably dressed in flip flops, shorts, straw hats and flowery shirts. This also makes you the perfect target for sharp con men. Beware if you are approached by an overly nice chap willing to take you around the city. Beware if you are surrounded by a gang who seem to be in an argument. Beware if the fellow who you gave your rucksack to begins straying away. Beware if you are approached by a fellow selling golden diamonds(yes, golden diamonds!)… beware.
You probably went to a forex bureau with a few hundred of your dollars and walked out with wads of Ugandan shillings in yellows, reds and light purples. That IS a lot of money. Your fears should be confirmed if you were followed all the way from the forex bureau by suspicious chaps. They’ll probably bundle you into an armoured truck and make off with you to a dark warehouse, where they’ll proceed to strap you into a chair and conduct electricity through your body via your gonads… (the rest of this paragraph has been deleted due to its graphic portrayal of theft)… after which they’ll take your money!!
Next week, we’ll be looking at where and how to walk or drive in Kampala. Please be sure to attend in person. Otherwise class is dismissed for today. Enjoy your stay.