Friday, December 3, 2010

On the Buses

This wasn't going to be my first real post, I know I have posted an introduction, but an intro isn't a chapter is it? It's merely just the prologue. So as I was saying, this wasn't going to be my 'chapter one' but then events happened and I simply couldn't not have it as my first post. This is the tale of my recent bus journey to Uganda's capital, Kampala.

Usually I'm not all that fussed about travelling to Kampala. Firstly it's a bloomin' long way away (about 10 hours by bus), secondly I am used to living in Kabale where admittedly it rains a lot but the air is fresh, the temperature generally very pleasant and where I don't have to cope with the 'wild west' traffic that the capital is infamous for. Also, for a large city, there actually isn't that much to do in Kampala. However, this time there was something to travel for - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Chinese food.

Bellatrix after her night bus journey to Kampala - picture courtesy of mugglenet
I have learnt from experience that the best way to travel to Kampala is on the night bus. This way you can fall asleep as the bus hurtles towards the capital and as it is dark you don't even have to concern yourself with looking for potential dangers outside of the window. In true Ugandan style, the boyfriend and I drank some gin before getting on the bus to aid the sleeping process. So after a bit of pushing and shoving and some musical chairs we were seated, quite comfortably ready to being the journey. Shortly after setting off the gin worked its magic and both of us dozed off, if only we could have stayed in this blissful state.

After about 2 hours a mother and daughter duo got on the bus. In order to seat the pair the conductor decided it would be a great idea to shove a bag containing books (and other heavy items) in the aisle next to my seat. This not only woke me up but he also managed to crush my feet in the process, not to mention the fact that my right leg had previously been luxuriating in the aisle. So the daughter took a seat and the mother the makeshift one in the aisle. From this point I spent the majority of the journey with this lady's elbow embedded in my thigh, to make matters worse it quickly became apparent that the daughter had some mental issues. I should have read the warning signs when she kept grabbing at my wrist and hands... Instead I allowed myself to get drawn into the conversation she was trying to have with me. This did not go well. So I tried another tack, ignoring her, this was made considerably more difficult that at this point she had hold of my collar/hair. This fared a little better and after a while she stopped trying to converse with me and settled for sporadic stroking of my arm.

When she wasn't stroking people (another man was also her victim) she was singing religious songs very loudly and out of tune, thus setting off a screaming baby towards the front of the bus. It mightn't have been so bad if the singing had been constant but I'd just be drifting off and there it was that godawful sound again - the kind that sets your teeth on edge. So you can imagine when we finally arrived in Kampala a little after 6 am, I am seriously sleep deprived and the wrong side of grumpy. Now this is where things take a serious turn for the worse. How you may ask, well here's how... Whilst we have been enduring this frankly, nightmare of a bus journey, some disgusting degenerate has thought it a good idea to urinate on the floor. This means that when I come to pick up my bag, its soaked through with someone else's piss, to the point that my clothes inside are also sodden. Then to top it all off later in the day I notice that I've ripped my cardigan repeatedly on a jagged nail on the arm rest, such joy!
Never mind about Voldemort, if Harry Potter had to suffer this kind of torture he'd have been in St Mungo's long ago.

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