Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Pulled Over

I’ve just made it through the worst of the potholes on Prince Charles Drive in first gear. I shift into second, up a small hill, into third gear as the last of the potholes passes underneath the car’s carriage, and I’m about to really open the old Escudo up in anticipation of the good, long stretch of pothole-free pavement all the way to the bottom of the hill and the turn onto Kololo Hill Road. But then there are three police trucks on the crest of the hill and one of the policemen standing on the side of the road is waving for me to pull over.

It’s my first stop by a policeman! (J has been pulled over four times—more on that in a future post.) Will he ask for a bribe? I’m tingly with anticipation.

“Hi,” I say.
“Fine, thanks,” he says.
I have yet to figure out a response to this so I just sit there.
“Routine check,” he says.
“Okay,” I say.
Again, I sit there. It’s unclear what is expected of me. In the past this has simply meant they look in all our windows.
“May I see a photocopy of your driver’s license?” he says.

No one carries the original. It would just get stolen.

He studies my international driver’s license and looks unconvinced of its validity. My game plan is to be cheerful so I continue to smile.

“Safe journey,” he says and hands back the photocopy.
“Thanks,” I say and am almost disappointed that he has not asked for a bribe. Not that I would have given him one, but I am slightly offended that he didn’t even ask. However, unlike some of the other experiences, this appears to be a legitimate operation. The vehicles are all clearly marked as police vehicles. The officer wears a uniform with a name tag. There is not a rifle in sight.

Before I finish replacing my license in its envelope, the officer says, “Wait! Not yet,” and looks in the way back where I have three jugs of water I have not yet carried into the house from an earlier excursion to the grocery store. Can these be considered dangerous? Is he going to take my water into custody?

But no, he says, “Safe journey,” again and sends me on my way. I barely get the car into fourth before it's time to go back up the hill.

Monday, July 30, 2007


The water is back on after 36 hours without. It is so satisfying to flush the toilet. Sarge has pooped in the tub instead of her litter box. Again. J takes a turn cleaning it up and I am immensely happy. Oh, Monday, happy waste disposal day. I drive J to work before the jam. At home, I sit at the computer and attempt to write but Bea requires attention. She sits at my feet whining, she walks on the desk and knocks piles of books and magazines and papers over, she itches her chin on the edge of my laptop and whines some more. We walk outside looking for Sarge, but once we find her Bea is still not satisfied. She looks at me and whines. I take her into the empty room and she chases the laser pointer until we are both tired of it. I put an empty cardboard box in the middle of the floor. Thankfully Bea and Sarge never tire of an empty cardboard box. At the mall, the bookstore is closed until noon for restocking so I sit in Aroma Café drinking coffee and reading Blood Meridian. I buy groceries and still it is only 11:45. A group of Scottish tourists/aid workers in light blue polo shirts with Uganda 07 printed on the back seems to be following me around. After the café and the grocery store, they also wait outside the bookstore. I have decided that Helen of Troy might make an appearance in my novel, so once inside I search for anything by Homer or some sort of compendium of Greek mythology, but all I find is a coffee table book of World Mythology; the entry on Troy is one column long. Thank god for the Internet. It’s raining so Joan has hung the laundry in the bathroom to dry. There is a pile of dead and dying caterpillars in the yard. Again, I sit down at the computer but by this point Joan is finished for the day so I drive her to the taxi stand. It starts raining again and I have no umbrella for her and she tells me the boda driver is going to charge her more money so I give her more money because I am a sucker. At Kabira the parking lot is blessedly empty; the school is on break for five weeks. I roll up my pants and splash through the mud. The bartenders greet me with smiles; I come here every day.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Poor Sarge

We’ve just started letting the kittens outside and a few days ago Sarge came home looking like this.

I assume she got stung by something, she seemed quite itchy, but it looked like she got into a bar fight. Thankfully she's all better now.

Harry Potter

I was so impressed with Kampala when J and I went to the mall last Saturday afternoon and discovered the local bookstore, Aristoc, had a whole table full of these, the very first day they were available to the rest of the world, too.

Of course, we paid the equivalent of $40 for it, which is more than we would have paid in London (at 18 pounds) with the dollar as pathetic as it is.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Sunday morning we went for a drive. We must remember never to wear a white shirt because, with the windows open, it inevitably turns a dusty red. One of us, also inevitably, forgets. On Sunday it was me, but Entebbe is a dusty place, so I blended right in.

Between Kampala and Entebbe lies urban sprawl, but not like the urban sprawl you might be familiar with in the States. The road is lined with one-story concrete buildings with corrugated tin roofs, some painted bright red or bright yellow, both advertisements for competing cell phone companies. There are occasional gutted structures, held up by dozens of poles made out of cut trees. During the day, people sell produce or meat on a stick from wooden stalls. Women sweep along the side of the road. Small children dart across the busy street.

Since we left early enough and the construction in anticipation of CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting) has mostly been completed, we made it to Entebbe in under an hour and in pleasant enough circumstances. Entebbe was once the capital of Uganda and you might associate it with the movie Raid on Entebbe. Aside from the airport, there is little reason now to go there, but J and I thought we would check out the botanical gardens.

With our trusty Bradt guide (thanks, Nana!) on my lap opened to the map of Entebbe, I was prepared to navigate our way to the gardens. However, as none of the roads are marked and what seems like a large, important road on the map is in reality a dusty little side number, we’d gone well past the gardens before J decided we should turn and I was still on the lookout for Hill Lane. My navigating skills have always been negligible anyway, so my uselessness in this regard was not much of a surprise.

When we found the gardens, we paid the man at the gate (about $3 total) and asked if there was a map or anything to help us find our way around. There was nothing. “You cannot get lost,” he said. So we followed the dirt track, which continued to split off in different directions and we chose at random our destination. Finally we pulled the car over to the side of the road and started to walk. We quickly realized that the guy at the gate was right – the gardens are fairly small. What looked like a path into a dense tropical forest opened almost immediately back upon the fields we had just driven by. We circled the strands of mango trees and coffee plants until we found the monkeys amongst the cocoa trees.

J and I walked down to the lake, where we lamented not bringing a picnic.

Instead we dined at the Windsor Lake Victoria Hotel, which the Bradt guide calls a “plush hotel” that “serves great food.” We found it to be a dilapidated joint that managed not to mess up too badly a grilled cheese sandwich. And then we headed home to spend the rest of the afternoon reading Harry Potter, having determined that Entebbe had little left to offer us. If the botanical gardens were a little closer, I’d visit more often. It’s a lovely place to spend an hour or two.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


No, seriously, I really want to know. I have had enough of indifferent rice already.

Caught in the Act

Friday, July 20, 2007


75 kilometers northeast of Kampala lies the city of Jinja, the fourth largest city in Uganda and home to the source of the Nile. Despite all that, Jinja is a sleepy town with a main drag lined with worn buildings that have received little upkeep since they were built in the ‘30s and ‘40s. But Jinja probably needs more than a simple coat of paint to restore it to the center of industry it once was, when the dam on the river produced more than enough power to feed all of the area’s needs, but is now woefully inadequate.

Last Saturday, J negotiated with admirable patience the treacherous roads on the two-hour drive. Unlike the road to Murchison, it is not a 50-kilometer series of potholes that makes the drive so treacherous, but slow-moving trucks being passed by over-anxious drivers who pay little attention to who might be coming in the opposite direction. There are no center stripes on the road to tell you when you can pass and when not to. Ugandans pass whenever it suits their fancy, particularly on blind curves. It just adds to excitement. It is much less harrowing to be a passenger, when you can stare out at the fields of tea and sugarcane with unseen paths crisscrossing through them, notable only by the yellow jerry cans balanced on people’s heads bopping up and down above the greenery. We passed through, too, Mabira Forest, when the rolling hills suddenly turn into tall, dense trees, lined occasionally with stalls where tourists buses stop and vendors bring their meat on a stick and their gonja (fried bananas on a stick) and their Cokes to the windows of the bus to sell.

Before entering town, we stopped at Bugagali Falls, a much less impressive waterfall after seeing Murchison Falls so recently. Here we are in front of it in a spectacularly cheesey picture:

Still, the sun had just come out after a rainy morning and it was a beautiful spot to sit on a rock with the water rushing past at your feet and contemplate the scenery. And, while we decided at Murchison it would take 2-5 seconds for someone to die going down the falls there, at Bugagli you can pay someone in a red bathing suit the equivalent of $6 to hold onto a jerry can, float over the edge, and get spit out at the bottom.

After lunch in town, we checked in at the Gately, a hotel run by an Australian woman with lawns that overlook Lake Victoria.

In the afternoon we drove out to the Source. Lake Victoria has a number of inlets, but only one outlet, that being the beginning of the Nile.

We hired a boat that brought us out to a small island covered in cormorant droppings where just a few feet away we could see the natural springs bubbling up that marks the origin of the Nile. 4,000 miles and three months later, that very water will reach Egypt. Awesome.

J contemplates the Source:

Perhaps the best thing about Jinja is its Mexican restaurant, within walking distance from the Gately. Kampala has one Mexican restaurant, Fat Boyz, run by a guy from Atlanta, which has edible quesadillas and vegetable burritos, but Fat Boyz’ tortillas have got nothing on the tortillas at the place in Jinja. They’re real, homemade, flour tortillas, a little heavy, but so heavenly.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Murchison Falls - Day 3: Chimp Tracking

Sunday, 5:15 AM wake-up. We dressed and finished packing in the dark. There were noises from the surrounding tents of others stirring, but the hippos had returned to the water. When we stepped outside we felt a spattering of raindrops. Fred, our driver, arrived shortly after 5:30 AM and drove us the hour to Budongo Forest while the rest of us slept in the back of the van.

We arrived in the middle of the forest to a half-built reception building, all blond wood with a stack of boxed Sharp solar panels on the front porch. We were introduced to our guide, Justin, who was keen to smile and had one tooth missing on the right side of his upper teeth. He wore a dapper wool hat, that made me think of Britain in the 1950s, and tall black gum boots. Philip was our second guide, who trailed behind, quiet, but in a way that you knew he was paying attention, and that maybe he knew just as much as Justin, but just wasn’t as charismatic.


The trees protected us from much of the rain. Only our shoes grew damp trekking through patches of fern carpet. Stray drops on our shoulders therefore seemed more noticeable, like they were intentional. We passed trees with roots like the walls of a rate maze—they grew tall and thin up from the ground.

For an hour we saw nothing but a brubaker, a small antelope, trotting down the path ahead of us. We walked like tourists in Times Square with our necks craned up and our eyes trained on the highest branches. Just when I thought our animal luck had run dry, we turned east into the forest and saw the branches sway and then crash together high above our heads as a chimp scurried to get away from us. The chimp was just a small black flash in the green far, far away.

And then these black flashes seemed to be all around us. The group split up briefly as J and I followed Philip one direction and had a few chimps to ourselves. The rest of the group disappeared and we didn’t care. I trusted Philip to get us back to the half-finished building where Fred waited for us, if it came down to it. The guide’s enthusiasm was infectious—Philip grabbed my finger to pull me where I could see every time a chimp came into his sightline. He was as excited to see the chimps as we were, as though it were his first time, too.

When Justin found us again he scolded Philip for separating us. He scolded N. and S. for talking too loud. Justin takes chimp tracking seriously.

Large branches came crashing down the long trajectory of limbs blocking the way to the ground thirty or so yards from where we stood. We could imagine the chimps meant them for our heads.

You know the smell. It’s the same smell from the zoo, but softer, mingling with the scent of wet bark, soaked leaves underfoot, and rotting fruit peels left behind by the monkeys.

For thirty minutes there were chimps everywhere we went, though always far above us, too far for pictures, and always trying to escape us. If you looked down for a second to get better footing, you’d lose the spot between the leaves where you thought the chimp should be. The chimps would just disappear.

For that short time I was able to stop worrying about standing in an ant swarm that would climb up over my shoes and attack my legs, about snakes, about spiders, about insects I’d never heard of biting me. And that was a beautiful thing, too.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Murchison Falls - Day 2: The Nile

We indeed made it to the ferry in time, with minutes to spare. After lunch and a nap back at the Red Chilli, we drove back to the dock where we boarded a double-decker pleasure boat and floated off down the Nile. The Falls create a foam that looks like chunks of ice floating downriver, but these had mostly disappeared by the afternoon. The water is brown and murky and both banks are lined with thick forest. Whatever you picture when you read Heart of Darkness - that's exactly what it's like.

Right away we saw another family of elephants. Elephants seemed crop up every few hundred yards, making up for their absence on our morning drive. At one point we encountered a whole island of elephants. They were too far off for a good picture, but picture a small island with maybe 50 elephants wandering around on it, just off the bank of the river.

But nothing was more abundant than the hippos. At one point J said, “Hippo soup ahead,” and that’s exactly what it’s like: ten hippos all mashed together in the water with just their little ears and snouts and bums sticking out.

I was hoping for more crocodiles. This is the biggest one we saw, which was freaking humungous. Ten feet long? Twelve? Hard to tell from the boat and I didn’t want to get any closer.

The animals petered out the closer we came to the Falls. Foam reappeared. The current grew stronger and the driver had to pull the boat up against a rock outcropping to prevent us from getting too close.

At the very end of the boat ride, we pulled up to the bank and there was this hippo just hanging out. So fat, eating some grass. How do they get so fat eating grass? This picture looks fake, like this is some ceramic statue, but this is how close we were.

There’s a hippo that comes up to the Red Chilli campsite at night. Like their own little pet. N. and S. woke to its noises the first night and looked out their window and saw this ginormous dinosaur lumbering about in the moonlight. Awesome. I’m sure N. will write about it…

We took it a little easier that night and made sure to go to bed before midnight. It’s much nicer to pack and get ready for sleep when there’s light.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Murchison Falls - Day 2: Game Drive

We woke before sunrise, slightly hungover. I peed in the dark for fear of the bugs the flashlight might expose. The kitchen messed up our packed breakfast and put only one sandwich in our bag instead of two. My stomach still ached from my Cape Town adventures. No coffee! Thus a miserable morning began, leading me to say horrible things to my husband such as “I hate your camera and I always have.” (J was kind enough to ignore me until the fresh air revived me.)

We crossed the Nile on a ferry and then it was back in the van, made slightly better by the fact that we forced the British dudes to take the back this time and J and I snagged the front seat, which had at least a little more leg room.

We picked up a Uganda Wildlife Authority guide and headed into the park. Almost immediately we saw a family of elephants and almost immediately felt cheered. I became convinced that if nothing else, we were meant to have a charmed game drive and see lots of animals. My stomach deserved it.

As we were still near the entrance and surrounded by vans similar to ours, we hurried on to a deserted road. We cruised through hilly delta marked often by herds of impala—either the larger waterbuck, which reminded me of reindeer, or the smaller ones, whose name we didn’t catch:

We passed huge herds of water buffalo both close to the road and gathered on a distant hill. We passed Lake Albert and part of the Nile called the Albert Nile, where there were crested cranes and kingfisher and other birds I would have asked our guide to clarify if I hadn’t found him quite so terrifying. I felt he only addressed his comments to me, each time he turned in his seat to explain something, looking expectantly at me for some sort of response when all I could ever muster was a small smile of gratitude and the occasional, “Wow.” Because I was the only girl in the van, maybe he was talking to me specifically, and I feared any further comment on my part would encourage him. He had a broad face and a large mouth and because of the brown uniform and the rifle at his side, I kept thinking of him as a soldier, someone who had maybe killed a person or two in his career, though his knowledge of the wildlife and his enthusiasm for each creature we saw gave me no reason to suspect this was the case.

Eventually we got to a rode that intercepted a huge group of giraffe.

Giraffe, J pointed out and I have to agree, are a great payoff. They’re easy to find and easy to sit and watch, plus they’re big, so you feel like you’re seeing something really worthwhile. Water buffaloes, on the other hand, I have little interest in, but they’re considered one of the “big five” in game viewing. The other big five are elephants, rhinos, lions, and leopards. I guess apart from the buffalo I would be impressed with any of the other four, but I still feel badly for the giraffes for being left off. They are too placid, I suppose.

So we sat there checking out the giraffes. We came across another van of tourists. Our drivers and guides conversed through the open windows and we followed the other van for a ways. All of a sudden Fred turned off the path and went off-roading. Whispers of lions made their way through the van. The guide directed Fred across the field. Fred swerved left and right to avoid rocks hidden in the tall grass. And then there they were. Three lionesses.

Fred drove right up to them and blocked their path into the underbrush. Admittedly I was a little freaked out at getting so close. They had to cross right in front of the van. The van we had been following now came up behind us. The lioness closest to us let out a low growl and I was reminded of our kittens when we feed them pieces of roasted chicken.

The lions disappeared into the brush and we continued on our way. We still hadn’t seen any more elephants since we’d first arrived in the park and since it was approaching 11:00 AM we were on our way back to the ferry. Except we kept seeing more animals—another herd of giraffes, baby waterbuck chilling in the middle of the road, a pack of baboons—and soon we were all looking at our watches wondering if we were going to make it back in time. And then, of course, is when we saw more elephants. Luckily there would be more to come…

Monday, July 16, 2007

Love, According to the New Vision

As far as I can understand it, this article was written under the misguided premises that a) all women want to marry a man and b) all men are worth marrying. There are many other misguided premises inherent in his argument, but I'll let you figure them out for yourselves.

Do Women Benefit More From Polygamy? By Dr. Herbert Mugarura
The New Vision, July 14, 2007

“Polygamy may be criticized but it actually forces men to face up to their responsibility to protect and provide for their women and children.
A forced monogamy is responsible for surplus of women that may lead to prostitution, hatred and quarrels, to intense jealousy in women, and mere physical relationships without the required intimacy and related evils as diseases, abortion, illegitimate children, adultery, and witchcraft.
Polygamy takes account of an excess of women to men which occurs in most areas. Monogamy forces them to become lovers of married men, be prostitutes, go with single or married men and possible end up becoming single mothers. It is a choice of eternal chastity on one hand and loneliness, childlessness and mutual support on the other.
…Polygamy can help those women who want to be in a monogamous marriage. If everybody is better with polygamy, who will be interested in prohibiting it? Who gets hurt if polygamy is allowed? Obviously not the women who are forced to be single! Not single mothers! Not prostitutes and obviously not the deserted women!
…A woman is generally much more particular than a man in giving her love, while the normal man tends to be attracted to coitus by nearly every more or less young and healthy woman. A woman is more sexually focused and it is rare for her to experience sexual desire for several men at once. Even the prostitute has her special fancy man.
In a way, a woman’s monogamous nature plays well into the polygamous argument of man. It is said that woman’s natural jealousy is not at a man’s loving another but at his forsaking her or the future threat of this. And polygamy takes care of this concern.”

Has this guy ever had a girlfriend? For the full atrocity, go here.

Murchison Falls - Day 1

Last Friday morning we went to the Red Chilli backpacker’s hotel to start this trip to Murchison Falls National Park in the western part of the country, northwest of Kampala, at the top of Lake Albert. The Red Chilli package is ideal because in includes transportation from the Red Chilli in Kampala to the Red Chilli in Murchison and we had no desire to drive the six hours ourselves on the pothole-riddled, construction-filled road. Fred drove the eight-seater van; joining me, J, N., and S., were four British college students who had spent the past couple of weeks digging latrines in a village, or perhaps just directing people on how to dig latrines, it was unclear.

After six hours in the car and a stop for lunch in Masindi, we reached the actual Falls. Look how happy I am to be out of that friggin car:

A hike brought us to a spot where we could see the Falls head on. There was a smaller waterfall to the left and all we could see of Murchison Falls itself was the huge spray coming off of it. The smaller waterfall is said to have been created in 1962, the same year Uganda gained independence, and is therefore called Uhuru, the Swahili word for independence. However, my Brandt guide says there are older aerial photos that proves the waterfall was there before 1962.

From there we backtracked and went to the top of the Falls. Behind us the Nile snaked languidly away from us, while we could turn the opposite direction and feel the spray on our faces as the water pummeled the rocky walls lining the narrow gorge.

We contemplated how long it would take you to die if you jumped in. And then we got back in the van. At the Red Chilli we drank beers and played card games until the bar closed down at 11:58. On our walk back to our banda we discovered the generator gets turned off at exactly midnight, leaving us to find the rest of our way to our beds and sweet, sweet sleep, in the pitch dark.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


A pastor was arrested at the airport in Entebbe for trying to bring one of these machines into the country. He wore it under his clothes and used it to send an electric charge through parish members so they think they have been struck by God, or something.

After the Vomiting

I vomited out of a moving funicular!

The conductor then gave me a barf bag—too little, too late, sister—and ushered me first out of the car—very embarrassing—and that should have been the end of it. The feeling of fainting usually comes with nausea, but instead of throwing up I usually faint and then I feel fine. So this time I vomited and then I thought I should have felt fine. Oh, was I in for a surprise.

We got back to the hotel and the nausea returned. JL did not go to dinner with the rest of the group but stayed in with me and ordered room service. We watched Notes on a Scandal, an uncomfortable movie to begin with, but this time punctuated with violent attacks of vomiting.

And this is when I put to rest the theory that I’m pregnant. I’m not pregnant people. Don’t think you’re the first one to come up with that idea.

This is how you know you’re staying in a good hotel: they send up prescription drugs! PJ told the front desk I was ill and inquired about medical services. When they heard the problem, the nurse on duty sent up, via some random guy in a suit, a few pills of Emitrex, an anti-nausea which we had never heard of and if you're still thinking "I can't believe she's taking strange pills from strangers" you're not understanding how bad I felt.

Slept like a baby.

The next morning I missed out on the District Six Museum and watched All My Children in bed. I mean, if you’re going to be sick, it might as well be in a nice hotel with soap operas. I checked out the Cavendish Mall nearby, looking for flip-flops for J, but felt like I wanted to sit down the whole time. I knew I was in trouble when I couldn’t even last in the bookstore. I went back to bed.
JL called to check in on me after lunch when they were on their way to the bird sanctuary. I had planned on meeting up with them in the afternoon, but still wasn’t feeling up to it. JL called back and said everyone was concerned, so I went to the doctor.

The Colinton Surgery was right across the street from the hotel.

The doctor was extremely nice. I told him the whole saga and after an examination, he told me I had gastritis. He prescribed a better (according to him) anti-nausea than Emitrex and sent me on my way. I’m subscribing the whole thing to food poisoning, which led to an inflamed stomach lining, but the doctor could neither confirm nor deny this with any certainty.

This is why all the pretty pictures suddenly end at Table Mountain. The pills the doctor gave me made me nice and sleepy so I had a nice drugged-up flight home—perhaps the worst Fourth of July ever.

If you head to Cape Town in the near future, don’t eat the beef by the Robben Island Museum.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ugandan Wins Caine Prize

Ugandan writer Monica Arac de Nyeko has won the Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story “Jambula Tree,” included in her collection African Love Stories.

After Table Mountain

So you’re wondering on a trip with nine eighth graders, where’s all the drama? It’s coming! And it has nothing to do with the kids and everything to do with me.

So there we were on the top of Table Mountain and now I should note that my stomach has been hurting since I ate lunch. No biggie, but it was annoying. At 4:30 we got in line to head down the funicular to get on the bus and hopefully miss some of the Monday evening traffic back to the hotel. We were not the only people with this idea. The line became quite crowded and now I should note that I sometimes I have problems with crowds. I have been known to faint at concerts or crowded club shows. I started to get that feeling. I let JL and PJ know that I was not feeling completely well. I sat down. They rounded up some water for me. We finally got to the head of the line and JL asked if I would rather wait it out up top until I felt better, but since it was impossible to tell how long that might take, I thought it best just to get to the bottom and get on the bus and get back home. I figured then I would be fine.

So we get on the funicular and JL and another woman M. act as my bodyguards and don’t allow anyone to get too close to me. The floor of the funicular rotates. Pretty cool, except when you’re feeling like you’d rather pass out. On any normal day I love gondolas. And I almost made it to the bottom on this one without mishap. The floor stopped its rotation and by some miracle I ended up next to an open window—through which I then vomited.

To be continued…

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Table Mountain

After Robben Island (and lunch on the waterfront, which I’ll come back to later), we took the funicular up Table Mountain.

In the above photo you can see Robben Island on the right.

It’s pretty awesome up there and the paths extend much farther across the top of the mountain than I had expected. There are varying levels of hikes you can take to the top, as well, though we didn’t have the time to do this.

On a normal day I have problems with direction, but here I was at a total loss. Because the sun remains in the northern part of the sky, I think I kept forgetting this and getting turned around. I got into many an argument with an eighth grader over which way was south and which was north. We were both wrong, always.