There’s a lot they don’t tell you about Kampala.
Then again, there’s a lot they don’t tell you about Big Square.
I was late for the bus, which was supposed to be leaving at 6 pm. Or at least, I thought I was going to be, and didn’t want to keep everyone waiting. Like a normal person who values their time, and others’. Mostly. And because I knew I was hungry, I called ahead and asked Big Square to deliver to the petrol station where we were convening. Two minutes later, I found myself in town in front of a Subway and promptly decided to cancel my order. But alas! The driver was already on his way. In two minutes. Miraculously.
The driver reached the petrol station before we did (though, in a panic, we called a guy to pick up the goods). I was on time, and happily waiting for the other late ones to arrive. Yay! I’m on time and you suck! type behaviour. I put the bag in the bus as I talked to the others, my mind content knowing that my chicken cheese pine burger (slurp sounding, right?) was good to go. Into my tummy, I mean.
Big Square called me twenty minutes later to tell me they had delivered the wrong food. I was ok with that – though slightly peeved, because clearly they should have just let me cancel my order, especially after not being sure where the order was being delivered to. One of the members of our party was really late, so I figured I had time. How long? I asked. 20 minutes. Are you sure? I asked. They said yes. I said, I am waiting for the bus to leave, so please be here on time. She said the rider would be.
20 minutes later, nothing.
The rider was not picking up. I called the lady who was supposed to be helping me. She called him. He called me and then wouldn’t tell me where he was. He just assured me he was coming.
50 minutes later, the bus to Kampala leaves.
1 hour later, the guy calls me to say he is in the WRONG place with my RIGHT order.
I switched off my phone, after calling Big Square again, to yell. She didn’t say anything, which made me even madder. When I hung up, they both tried to call me back. Which would have been ugly. Unfortunately, I am not a kind person when I am upset – about food, or service, or being lied to.
And so started my journey to Kampala. I took a nap. Because when things go wrong, one must sleep to recharge and escape from the bullshit life regularly stuffs in your face. Also, the bus had the faint smell of somewhere rank rags go to die and it was making me nauseous. Or maybe it was my empty stomach. (nope.) To console myself, I charged my phone in the sockets next to each seat. Whoop.
We stopped in Nakuru. The smell of the bathrooms whacked me in the face before I had reached 5 metres outside them and literally, physically, picked me up and turned me around to head right back to the bus. I was never a Pathfinder/Scout, but I was pretty darn proud of that about turn I made right (get it?) quick. Besides – there was barely anything in me, seeing as the ribs I didn’t order were eaten by other people, because I don’t particularly like ribs, which is why I didn’t order them…Jagero bought everyone a cup of tea and I stole one of Dims’ ginger cookies – it was freezing. I thought of Riva Jalipa and how she was talking about how the world is a man’s urinal – women just have to buckle down and either not pee or flash people on the side of the road if they cannot handle insalubrious bathroom conditions. So true. So fun. Also, no drinking for me on any trip, because peeing. (is it time to get a pee funnel?) (ugh, it’s never time.)
We got on the bus again. Next stop: Kisumu for a hot second. No lights, no bathrooms. But even though no one would see me, I couldn’t see myself peeing on the side of the road.
Next stop: the border. This is where, of course, it really starts to feel like Uganda: different languages. Texts about ridiculous roaming charges (seriously – this shouldn’t be this hard. 45 KSHS for 10 MBS? You’re joking, right? What is this, Kencell??). Men in yellow coats asking you if you want to change money at the (fantastic) rate of 31.5 USHS (I had Tourist Trepidation – you know, the type that tells you to trust no one and give no one your money). BUT, I saw a bathroom! Whoop! I figured I would cross the border then go iiiin.
Until I saw four grasshoppers chilling the passport control office, and Ciku Kimeria said that the bathroom wall was covered in green.
I don’t do grasshoppers. Ever in life. I can’t. I start to shake and then I become a weeping mess. And that’s the little ones. With the big ones which shall not be named, I pass out. I would have probably ran screaming back to Nai, full bladder or no, and cowered in my bed for two weeks of recuperation.
I didn’t pee until getting to the hotel room in Kampala at 10 am the next day.
The moral of this story is my bladder is better than yours.