July 24, 2011

12 Months ago today…

Filed under: Trips,Uganda — pearsey @ 6:01 pm
Tags: ,

12 Months ago today I left for Uganda! It doesn’t seem like that long ago, but it is. So for the next few weeks, I’m going to try and post “what I was doing 12 months ago” and hopefully that way I’ll catch up on posting my Ugandan (and Kenyan/Tanzanian) photos.

It’s interesting heading off on a holiday – because you never really quite know what is going to happen. And as I commented on my brothers blog yesterday, it’s often the unexpected curveballs that makes for the most memorable parts of the trip and gives you the talking points when you return!

I flew Melbourne-Dubai-Entebbe, a total of about 24hrs in transit, 22 of those flying. The long haul MEL-DXB flight is a total of 14hr 15min flying time, that’s a long time in one of the seats and I was a bit annoyed that I didn’t get my aisle seat that I’d pre-chosen! I guess getting to the airport slightly after the recommended “2 hours before flight” time didn’t help there… Then when I did get there, I had to dump some of my luggage (2kg over) or pay an excess baggage charge of $70 per kg. I had weighed it all out so carefully, then rearranged things just before I left. Oh well, it meant that a few cool things like the lollypops and cheese didn’t make it… Then the check in people weighed my luggage on a different scale and I was 2kg under GRRRRR coz I certainly hadn’t dumped that much so I reckon that first check in counter’s scales were wrong! The joys of flying and being at the airlines mercy. They wouldn’t even let me on with extra even when I said it’s for missionaries over there. Surely they could have some compassion! Come on, Aussies stuck in a foreign country need some Aussie goodies like a footy, cheese (this is Uganda, no decent cheese) and tim tams! Anyway, I won’t complain too much, coz I did have extra hand luggage and I was late. But I have learnt that when you’re late to check in, the queue is extremely short and you don’t have to wait around long!

Apart from that, Emirates service and on flight meals were exceptional. Definitely no problems there and absolutely nothing to complain about at all, they’ve become my airline of choice.

So got to Dubai (no sleep on the plane of course), wasn’t sure where to go, accidentally went “into Dubai”, so got an extra stamp on my passport, but then had to go back through customs again. Made it to my connecting flight and the final leg of my journey to arrive in Uganda began.
When you’re on the plane and it takes off, I love that feeling of anticipation. So many adventures await and new people to meet. My trip was also a missions trip, so I had the added bonus of knowing that I’d get to do other stuff that I loved as well – that is some preaching in local churches, encouraging local pastors and blessing our local missionaries Mike and Shirley. I wish you could bottle that feeling of excitement as you leave for a new place, on a new adventure, it’s such an amazing feeling…

Landed in Adis Ababa in Ethiopia, watched half the plan unload, and now we were left with those going to Entebbe. Just 2 hours to go!!!! By now, most of the plane was African, most of the people were black and I was almost a lone white man on the plane – something that you don’t really notice, except that there are some Ugandans who love to point out that you’re muzungu (white man).

Anyway, the plane was a little late I think, but nothing too serious. Got to see first glimpses of Uganda from the air, landed safely in Entebbe, then had to make my way out of the airport… Right… Got through customs quick enough, paid my USD50 for a visa, then – waited for my luggage. And waited. Thought the last of my suitcases was never going to make it… Finally though, gathered my stuff, and by then there was no point hurrying because the line to actually get out of the airport snaked around nearly the entire airport. There’d been the bombings in Uganda a few weeks earlier, so they were checking everybody’s luggage at the scanner. One scanner. Fifty thousand suit cases per person – ok, not really, but I’m sure almost everyone had about 3 or 4 and security staff who were in no hurry at all. Didn’t they know we had people to see! I still never saw the point of scanning luggage on the way out, I mean really, we’d all just flown on Emirates, most of us came from Dubai, the luggage all would have been scanned there. Finally, as the line became unmanageable, they just let everyone leave – but still pulled over random people. Today I didn’t want to be a random “chosen one”! Security averted, I made it out into the lovely warmth of Uganda! So much better than the freezing weather I’d left behind in Melbourne.

Then began the trip from the airport back to Mike and Shirley’s. One will never know why I didn’t take any photos on that trip back, but maybe it had something to do with the police with machine guns stationed every 100m for the first 10km of the trip… Or maybe I was just soaking up the atmosphere, relieved to finally be here!

Here’s some photos of the beginning of the trip!


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