Wednesday, January 2, 2013

January 2013

It has been a while since I last trawled through the city. The last time I did it was in a moment of madness on Christmas day. Seeing that we were in the festive season, was there really ant need to go into town especially at night when the city limits were crawling with police breathalyzer units?

I stayed in my hood for the best part of the holiday and thus, when January 2nd 2013 arrived, it was more of a shock when I had to go back to work.

I have to pass through Namuwongo to get into town, and the Namuwongo of December 2012 and the Namuwongo of 2013 were far different. Admittedly, Namuwongo is not the cleanest suburb there is in Kampala, but it is cleaner than Kyebando on Gayaza road and Dr. Ian Clark, under whose authority Namwongo falls, has tried to do a decent job in keeping it clean.

However, I drove through it, Namuwongo should surely be renamed ‘Plastic Bag’ city for it seems that just about every plastic bag that is handed out in this city will eventually float and find a place to gracefully die in Namuwongo. Perhaps people from other suburbs dump their plastic bags in Namuwongo because it is well known that there are not enough pit latrines so some people have to make do with using plastic bags? Hmm, I better clarify with Ian Clarke on that – he ought to have the figures.

The sober reality of ushering in a new year is that it is going to be another 365 days before we get to say ‘happy new year’ again. Last year and for some strange reason, I chose not to go out. I was in bed by 8:30pm and not with my usual TML for company but a big bottle of Coke and that was it. Somewhere round 11:00pm, I dozed off and I was awoken by what I thought were gunshots – they were fireworks and people making a racket!

It really peeved me off because I was trying to get some sleep and it was late – past midnight. And the blooming idiot outside my wall could not stop blowing his vuvuzela and shouting out ‘2013’ every two minutes.

That was it. I was out of bed, in my jeans and storming to open up the gate when common sense prevailed. Okay so he was making a racket while I was trying to catch some shut eye, and fireworks were going off all over the place and all because it was New Year’s Eve, but did that really necessitate I storm out of my gate and assure Vuvuzela Blower and his friends to relocate somewhere else?

It didn’t because I too have my own misdemeanors that tend to happen at 4:00am after a night out on the town. I have been ‘lost’ going home on a number of occasions and ended up at the wrong house, blared my horn and only when the gate swings open and there is some grumpy old man with a metal bar in his hands wanting to smash up my ride that I have gone ‘oops’ and sped off.

I think it might also be prudent to apologize to Grumpy Old Man and if you are reading this, can I buy you a beer or two? Drop me a line.

And here were are, 12 days into the start of the year and to be honest, I am not thinking about if the economy will change for the better, lower power tariffs or an improved infrastructure but when is the next public holiday and more importantly, I hope it falls on a week day – preferably on a Monday or Friday!

What A 2012 Christmass

Of course, I didn’t go to church on Christmas Day. Why would I when all I had to do was go the information superhighway and catch an hour’s service on LTV or one of the Christian channels on DStv?

Luckily enough for me, somebody at UMEME thought it a good idea to do a spot of load shedding and that was it. I was out of bed and in the ride while cruising town and looking for some action.

I ended up in a suburb that I have never been to – Kyebando. For the people who live in those suburbs, you really have to give yourselves a big pat on the back because you live in one the filthiest suburbs that Kampala City has!

There was rubbish strewn all over the roads – everything from matooke peelings to entrails, shoes and whatever filth people throw out of their windows.

This now necessitated a trip to the carwash not only to have the ride cleaned but to have the tires fumigated lest I took some germs back to the affluent and clean suburb that I live in.

I drove to Speke Resort Munyonyo thereafter and it was a nightmare! It appeared that everybody in Kampala and regardless of social status, wanted to be in the resort. Of course for the owner, Sudhir Ruparelia that is, wherever he was, he must have had a smile on his face because the sound of ‘ki-ching’ (the till opening and closing) sounded every few seconds.

And there was competition as to who went out and bought the best Christmas wear. I have to give up to Chap who wore a yellow jacket, a purple polka doted shirt and a black tie! What was he on? Even security gave him more than a once over but that did not perturb him for as far as he was concerned, he was in his element – he was an extra in the fashion movie Prêt-a-Porter.

Speke Resort had a buffet that was fit for a king. I also felt a trifle unfair because while we feasted I felt guilty for the number of homeless I had passed on my drive through town and who would not be feasting on veal, turkey, the finest imported sea foods and the best deserts that Akilesh Malik and his staff came up with.

But what the heck, I could either wallow thinking about those who don’t have or I could fill my plate, waffle everything down and then spend the afternoon passing wind over a bottle of TML. I was not a hard decision to make. I filled my plate. I waffled everything down and I spent the afternoon passing wind over a number of bottles of TML.

And that was my Christmas – well not quite. I got played when I went to see a mechanic for air con gas for the ride.

When he turned up, Mechanic who had called him told him in Luganda something to this effect: “That one speaks English so you know what to do.”

Mechanic smiled and after doing a diagnosis he told me it would cost s120,000. What is that word I like using? Ah, tumbavu so I spat at him and assured him that just because I spoke in English, it does mean I don’t understand Luganda!

We eventually settled for 70k. I thought I had done well but it was Mechanic who had the last Christmas Day laugh. My air con now works so well except that it blows out hot air!

And with that, I guess I have to wish you all the best for 2013? Dam, people will think I have gone soft!