Here are my impressions of Fort Portal:
– We’re staying at pretty much the nicest resort hotel — Mountains of the Moon — but I still feel like in the US, it would be rated much lower. It has wifi, electricity, and plumbing but its sheets are also stained, the hot water only lasts a minute at the most, and there are only 6 channels on the TV including Oprah’s channel and muted CNN.
– Fort Portal is very city like with a definite distinction between rich and poor. There are a lot of busy people zooming past us while still blatantly staring. The main streets are very tourist friendly and therefore more expensive. Today we explored a little deeper into their sketchier area. We found Club Ecstasy Knights and a stand that sold rice and beef for 2500 Uganda shillings (opposed to the 8000 meals we’ve been paying). We walked along dirt roads right past clusters of mud huts where families live and hang their laundry outside on wires. We saw goats, larg[er] heaps of trash, and were more aggressively followed by boda boda (motorcycle taxi) drivers. These are the places that make me feel guilty that I get good, filling food every night when they most likely get much less.
– There are essentially 4 places we’ve stuck to eating at so far; The Gardens, The Dutchess, a pizzeria, and our hotel. All 4 sell mzungu food. It’s a little limiting but we’re basically making a choice between being adventurous and contracting food poisoning. But chipati, sorta like a tortilla, is basically my favorite food ever and it’s African and offered everywhere so it’s okay,
– The people are much more friendly in Kaihura. There people smile and wave at us, accepting us. There are even these cute little kids who also jump up and down to greet us every morning on the way to Home Again like we’re celebrities. Here, they stare and sortof glower at us like “why aren’t you buying anything from me?”.
– This is the first place I’ve seen religious diversity. There are at least 3 mosques and a couple people around town dressed in more traditional Muslim attire. I’d like to visit the mosque but somebody pointed out that without a guide, we wouldn’t really know what customs to follow or even what to wear.
We’ve also pretty much broken every “rule” Dr. Schaad gave us. I rode my first boda boda in the rain today and it was pretty awesome especially since I didn’t ride side saddle. We’ve eaten the vegetables and fruit at the restaurants. We walked home in the dark without anything close to trouble and somebody went into town alone. Honestly, I’m on my guard here but I don’t feel threatened by anything. Friday we saw a group of police academy trainees next to the poodle tree (mine and Lucy’s name for this awesome plant) but nobody bothered us. It’s just a little different here.