Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Internet has been spotty the past few days and tomorrow we're headed to Egypt for vacation. So this is it until the end of next week. Look forward to lots of pics and stories about pyramids and sphinxes and things.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Mystery Date

The New Vision is full of gems today, including my favorite.


"Since this was my first time to go for a date, I did not have much expectation. I knew it would be challenging, but I still had to prove my worth. Everything looked strange. In fact, I kept wondering what topics to discuss with her. But since Betty is friendly and social, we shared sweet moments. I enjoyed myself very much. Indeed, she made my evening.

Tell me more about the sweet moments you shared

(Loud laughter) I remember the moment we looked straight into each other�s eyes. We then used our forks to feed each other. It was very romantic. Before the photographer arrived, she was very free. When she saw the camera, she became very scared and tensed. But I reassured her that all would be fine.

When are you taking her for another date?
(Hesitates) Hmmnnn�.! I would be willing to take her for a date but we did not get each other�s contacts. I did not ask for her phone number because a friend of mine once advised me that I should never ask for a lady�s phone number. It is the lady to give me her number or ask for mine; not vice versa. Asking for a lady�s phone number would make her feel proud.
However, she directed me to her workplace along Nasser Road and I shall try to trace her from there. If she is interested, we shall keep in touch and remain very good friends."


"When I walked into Kyoto Restaurant, my heart almost skipped a beat. I was scared stiff and I did not know what to expect. It was my first time to meet a stranger on a date.
When he arrived, our initial conversation left me quite disappointed. He was not asking me any questions at all; I took the lead in the conversation. Even when I asked him simple questions, he merely scratched his head. We are agemates but he is not as sharp as I expected.
I would like a man who asks me questions and challenges me to think but he did not. (shakes her head) Maybe he is still young. How about arranging another date for me with an older man who is sharp? I did all that I could do to make him happy and to enable him feel free but he remained tensed.
He kept telling me about his childhood but little about his present life. That was not bad but I was more interested in knowing the present person.
I was amazed when he told me he is a student at Kyambogo University. I imagined a university student would do better than that.

Anything you liked about him?

(Brief silence then takes a deep breath) Have you ever been in a situation where everything is negative? There was nothing good to remember. I did not bother to get his contacts.
Actually, I did not like him. He is still young. Maybe we can be friends but I don�t see myself keeping in touch with him."

How did I know from the beginning this would not work out? What makes Ezra laugh: Jokes. What makes Betty laugh: A person with big teeth.

Pic of the Week from the New Vision

"READY FOR CHOGM: A worker of Sekanyolya systems Ltd installing street cameras at Clock Tower in Kampala ahead of CHOGM. Several cameras will be installed in most parts of the city."

And what will these cameras do exactly? Granted that there's electricity and they're functioning correctly?

I can think of SO many other things that would be at the top of my list ahead of traffic cameras, if I were in charge of CHOGM. They still have more than half the roads in the city to repave, for example. But obviously I'm not in charge of CHOGM...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

New England 38, San Diego 14

J and I went to bed at 9:30 Sunday night in order to wake up at 2:30 in the morning to go over to a friend’s house to watch the Patriots-Chargers game live on ESPN. You know, Pringles taste pretty good at 4:00 AM; sour cream and onion-flavored are way preferable to BBQ at that time of day. Take my word for it.

I was so tired on Monday, but I can’t tell you how good it felt.

Go Pats!

(I'm too depressed about the Red Sox to even talk about it. I should have known they'd put us through the wringer AGAIN.)


In the Letters section of the Daily Monitor, the paper includes SMS feedback to specific questions. Yesterday the question was, “What’s your view on gays and lesbians’ demand for their rights?” I thought I would share a few of my favorite responses, so you could get the tenor for what people are saying in these parts:

“Human Rights Watch should know that nobody can have rights do wrong! Homosexuality is worse than Osama and nuclear combined together, all able bodies should fight that witchcraft.”

Come again? The real tragedy here is this person’s lack of command of the English language. Education breeds understanding, no?

“There should be specific anti-homo law, like the anti-terrorism law and also set up a gay crack unit to prohibit the media from giving them publicity.”

Um, dude, there is a specific anti-homosexuality law. This is a big reason why the gay community has no rights in this country. Which is why you’re being asked to respond to this question.

“It’s a shame to legalise such. That behind thing is very dirty.”

And now my blog is very dirty.

“These gays and lesbians all over the world are unbelievable. In science we learn that same charges/poles repel as unlike ones attract. So?”

So…No, I’m still lost.

After reading the paper, I picked up Vanity Fair from July of this year, the special issue dedicated to Africa, which a friend recently lent us. And now I’m going to include a quote from that issue, from the Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa:

“I come from a situation where for a very long time people were discriminated against, made to suffer for something about which they could do nothing—their ethnicity. We were made to suffer because we were not white. Then, for a very long time in our church, we didn’t ordain women, and we were penalizing a huge section of humanity for something about which they could do nothing—their gender. And I’m glad that now the church has changed all that. I’m glad that apartheid has ended. I could not for any part of me be able to keep quiet, because people were being penalized, ostracized, treated as if they were less than human, because of something they could do nothing to change—their sexual orientation. For me, I can’t imagine the Lord that I worship, this Jesus Christ, actually concurring with the persecution of a minority that is already being persecuted…I think God is weeping. He is weeping that we should be spending so much energy, time, resources on this subject at a time when the world is aching.”

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mystery Date!

Whoa. There was a mystery date last weekend and I almost missed it. A good one, too. I’m basically going to excerpt the whole thing, but you can also view it here.

“We had a nice time except she wasn’t very free with me. She even refused to reveal her occupation and her surname. She claimed she was a student in some college but I didn’t believe her. I shall carry out my own private investigation to establish what she does for a living. Otherwise, I really had lovely time in her company.

“Brother, that girl has a figure that can sweep any man off his feet. She moves with a catwalk that left me breathless, simply beautiful! Her cute attire blended so well with her beautiful figure. I call it ‘figure eight.’ I loved her disarming smile, romantic eyes and sweet tender voice. She sat in an appetising posture that gave me a chance to drool at brown thighs. Eh eh eh…! Her smooth skin was so tempting that I wished we could spend a night together. Ha! Ha! Haaa….! I was taken up! She is lovely, friendly and sexy.

“In fact, I am planning to take her for another date.
“We need to be in some romantic hide out for at least three days. But I still want to know her surname and her occupation. I am concerned about the surname because of the risk of dating my clan mate.

“Otherwise, she is a girl I would love to be with. In fact, after this interview I am going to call her.”

Now Gloria’s favorite movie is Spiderman 3, so she either hasn’t seen very many movies or there’s something wrong with her.

“It was a nice date but with several disappointments. Raymond began by talking about his work and I found that boring. When he changed, it was about the places he wanted us to hang out. But the problem was he wanted instant intimacy and such discussion rubbed me the wrong way.

“He said he was willing to drop his girlfriend to be with me. When I told him I was in an intimate relationship with a caring guy he said there was nothing wrong with cheating on my guy. Can you imagine? I can never cheat on my boyfriend because he is simply perfect. I found Raymond’s behaviour very strange.

“He was forcing me to take more beer than I wanted. He also kept persuading me to go with him to his place even after I had told him that I wasn’t interested in that. On the first date?! Horrible! Relationship is a process; you don’t get everything on day one. His hands couldn’t rest in one place. I was so embarrassed by his constant touch that I told him to stop it but he kept forgetting. (takes a deep breath) Oh!

“He gave me his contacts but I don’t think I am ready to call him. I don’t mind casual friendship but he seems to be out for instant intimacy, not mere friendship. I am not ready at all to walk down that path. It is therefore safe to avoid any future contacts with him.”

What’s confusing to me is why either of them chose to go on a date if they’re seriously involved with someone else. I get Raymond, but Gloria (with her “simply perfect” boyfriend)? Is just the free dinner? Are they really after friendship? The glory of appearing in the New Vision?

Gloria is an artist and her surname was printed in the paper, so obviously Raymond was going to find out eventually. Also, when asked the question, what makes you laugh, she answered, “Jokes.” Go figure.

I like Raymond because he answered, “If my girlfriend tells me the truth.” At least there was a little thought put into it. At least he has a personality, even if he is a dog. The stock answer for the question of what makes people laugh seems to be “Funny movies,” or better yet, “Comedies.” Or “when someone says something funny.” Maybe it’s just a bad question.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Why the Red Pepper Sucks

Saturday morning J and I stopped by the side of the road to buy the newspapers from a guy. We asked for the Daily Monitor and the New Vision. He was out of the New Vision, but brought over a Red Pepper and, for amusement, we took that instead. (Newspapers are less than a dollar and cost the same on weekends as they do during the week.) I had read the Red Pepper only once before. It’s a gossip rag, total garbage, but the one other time I had read it, I remember being impressed with its treatment of women. They seemed more comfortable with modern female roles than most other media.

I’m not sure where that came from. The Red Pepper is basically pornography. A columnist called the Hyena describes incidents in which he “shafts” women because they just can't stay away from him - it's all clearly fiction. Which is whatever, as far as I’m concerned. It is what it is. The worst part about the Red Pepper is its treatment of the GLBT community.

A few weekends ago I was talking to a friend who told me the Red Pepper had published a list of homosexuals in Kampala, most of which suffered much abuse and many of which also left town. I remember my friend adding that it was only a matter of time before they did it again.

Well, they’ve done it again. In Saturday’s paper we noticed an ad for Sunday’s paper, which promised to out the 500 homosexuals living in Kampala, their full names and addresses, where they work and what cars they drive. We bought the paper again on Sunday; the list included some 50 names with the promise to continue it next Sunday.

Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda and many people really believe it’s a sin. There has been a lot of controversy over it recently (you can read about some of it here) which I suppose is what prompted the Red Pepper’s repeat performance. What really seemed to irk the paper was the image of a party of homosexuals sitting around patting themselves on the backs for evading the media. A war between the press and the gay community in which the gay community thought they were winning. So this is why the Red Pepper is really going to show them. The paper also portray gays as modern day vampires—insanely rich, intelligent, beautiful, well-dressed, love to party, and constantly trying to lure non-gays into their clutches. Like anyone can be turned gay.

The whole thing is beyond absurd. A few choice snippets so you all can see how sick the Pepper is:

Under the heading “Characteristics of a Gay Man:”
“—They rarely get drunk for they are always watching for their prey
“—If they spot a sexy looking man who is not a gay they will make sure he becomes one of them
“—They watch beauty contests simply to learn how to walk.”

But this is my favorite
“—If you get used to hanging with them you can tell that you are gay. They are sexy, smart, sharp, handsome, loaded, and stylish; they know all the designers in the world.”

Well, then, I must be gay. Who knew?

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Garbage Saga Continues

Some of you may recall my run-in with Bin-It, one of the local trash collection agencies in town, and how I eventually gave up on them in favor of Simon, a man who works on the grounds of our apartment complex. Simon picks up the trash every day, or at least every day we have trash to put out. We leave it right in front of our apartment and it’s rarely there longer than 30 minutes before Simon sees it and takes it away for us. It has been a very convenient arrangement.

A few weeks ago a man came banging on our gate one Saturday afternoon. He told us he would like to arrange to pick up our trash. We told him we had a guy and we didn’t need his services. He told us his company had all the legal rights to central Kampala and using anyone else was illegal.

“It’s illegal for us to use Simon?”
“That’s right.”
“We’ve been living here for four months, where have you guys been?”
“I have been by, often, but no one is ever home.”
“I work from home,” I said, “I’m here every day. You’ve never come by.”
“I am here now and you must fill out a contract.”
“We’ve paid our other guy through the end of the month. Why don’t you come by in a few weeks when we’re ready to start using you?”

The guy seemed to fall for this and he went away; we figured we’d see him a few months later and we could maybe use the same trick again. But he came back right on schedule. Simon seemed to take the news alright. With our new service, we must use the trash bags they give us and they only come twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays. They give us one trash bag at a time.

Last Friday, we loaded our trash bag and put it out back of the apartment. Monday and the garbage was still there. J called and yelled at them. The guy came by in the afternoon and apologized. There was a new guy working the grounds and he didn’t know which house was ours. He had a gray bag with him, which I assumed to be ours as he said he had picked up out back. A few minutes later I walked up to the car to head out for a few hours and there was our trash bag from Friday.

They’d picked up the wrong bag. Where the hell they got this other bag, I have no idea. It’s beyond inept.

Oh, Simon, how I miss you.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Global Voices

I didn't even know about this Global Voices business until Glenna told me she had written about me. (Thanks, Glenna.)

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Goat Races

The web site wasn’t lying. The Goat Races was a total scene.

Saturday morning proved unpromising weather. A low haze had been hovering over the city since the night before and it was muggy and felt like rain. It also smelled bad. But by the time we arrived at the Speke Resort—sans sunblock because we’re really stupid—the sun was shining over the lake and we were sweating before we reached the racetrack.

It’s a rare occasion to dress up in Uganda. Even at the nicest restaurants you can wear pretty much whatever you want. But there was a best dressed contest at the Goat Races and people went all out. If I were a judge, I would have voted for the Casino Simba dancers to win.

But seriously, the categories included Best Dressed Male, Female, Couple, Child, and Best Hat.

The races ran shockingly on schedule. The track was a furlong and about 10 goats ran in each race. A barrier pushed the goats around the track when they proved reluctant to run on their own, which was most of the time. The goats had names like The Viking, Glavanized Sheet, and Cell Phone.

It was a fantastic place to people watch, eat some Turkish food, and drinks lots and lots of beer while getting entirely sunburned.