Saturday, March 31, 2012

Back on track

Okay, so this week was a bit of a killer, but I'm finally back with more pictures of Uganda. This one is the taxi park. It was chaos. We almost got run over/squashed a half dozen times. However, we also got a bus ride for a ridiculously small sum and an authentic taste of inter-city travel in Uganda, so it was totally worth it.

As for life here in DC, I'm just plugging away with 5 weeks left in grad school. I owe you a full update on Pickering stuff soon, but I'll give that it's own post. Otherwise...
*I tasted my first Crumbs cupcake today - cherry blossom flavored in honor of the season - The filling was delicious, but the frosting was a bit too sweet for me.
*I met with a former State employee who just got back from Afghanistan (I wanted a little perspective about FSO work there for future reference.)
*I got ringworm in Uganda, but I'm better now.
*I started voice therapy to help me raise the volume of my voice. I've always had trouble projecting, so hopefully this will really help.

I've got a few more worthy Uganda pictures before I switch to the Istanbul stuff and eventually to all the flower pictures I'm taking in DC. By the time I run out of those maybe I can post something from South America!

Monday, March 26, 2012

What not to eat in Kampala

A couple of adventurous eating 'misses' are worth showing off too.
First is a packet of 'daddies' (pronounced duddies)that look and taste like stale flavourless croutons. These were the only form of packaged Ugandan snack I could find.* Otherwise it seems like Ugandans favor British, American, and Indian junk food.
*Well, this and groundnuts.

Second is a truly amazing find, cheese in a can. It's in Arabic, so I'm assuming that it's a favorite somewhere in the middle east, but it's clearly a Kraft product from the logo (and it says so in English on the other side). It tasted like you would expect, like the single-wrapped processed cheese at home. The only real difference was that it's in a very awkward shape for making sandwiches - especially since it doesn't spread well. Oh, and the fact that it can apparently last forever. Clearly not a dairy product for the faint of heart.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Ugandan food (part 1)

This is our fish friend from the Nile. He was delicious. Next to him, the thing that looks like mashed potatoes is actually posho. It tastes like it looks, namely - potato-ish and kind of bland. It makes a good base for other foods though, like the tomato dish on the right.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Not just your average river...

Somewhere down there is the source of the Nile River (the White Nile I think). I always just thought it started in Lake Victoria but apparently some of the water also comes from a spring. (Clearly, I wasn't really paying attention when they explained it. I was mostly just excited that I got to touch the Nile River in Uganda and claim that I've seen the source.)

This was a day trip from Kampala. We took a public bus to Jinja on Lake Victoria and spent almost the entire day lazing around by the river and eating some fantastic food (picture to follow). If you are more of an adventurer there's also white water rafting I hear.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I'm back!

...and I'm very very tired. So I've decided to take a page out of The Guatemala Holla's book and post a picture a day from my travels. (Except I'm no photographer, so there will be no time-lapse, filters, or other fancy settings involved.) If/when I feel really energetic I might even supplement the pictures with some fun facts.

Above: Kampala
The city is, like Rome, built on 7 hills. I found it beautiful and every expat we talked to said it was one of the easiest cities in Africa to live in. There were comfortable restaurants sprinkled around town, several big grocery stores, and public transportation was pretty convenient.
I also surreptitiously scoped out Embassy Kampala and from the outside it seemed like a nice place to work.

All in all I liked Kampala and I'd love to see the rest of the country. Uganda will totally be a high bid if it shows up on my list in the future.

Monday, March 5, 2012

March update

You probably thought I had already left for Uganda (what with the radio silence and all) but no, I'm just lazy!

I'm actually leaving tomorrow, which is hopefully a sufficient excuse for not writing in over a week. I promise though, it's been a productive week. I finished my mid-terms two weeks early because they're all due the moment I get back. I packed. I cleaned. I also decided on a whim that I need an iPad. (When I say on a whim I really mean that. I was walking past the store and thought 'What is that? ... I should buy one.") I'm not actually very tech-savvy, so I asked a lot of stupid questions, like 'What exactly is an iPad?' and 'What is 3G?' and 'How do you get the screen to come on?' (It was a steep learning curve. I'm still wrapping my mind around the fact that there is no right-click.)

Clearly technology has come a long way since the last time I bothered to pay attention.

I promptly downloaded all of my course readings and research papers and made it into the boring-est iPad ever.

Other than that I have been alternately stressed and excited about the prospect of flying to Africa. Stressed mostly when I think about how much I dislike airports and jet-lag and lost luggage; excited when I pull out my passport with a fancy new stamp and crack open the lonely planet guide.

Even more excited when I realize that I am officially less than 2 months away from turning in my final paper and finishing grad school.

59 days left (it's never too early for the countdown)