Monday, January 03, 2011

Cathedrals and Jungles

Yesterday was Monday for us. We spent the day running around the city and a little siteseeing. Our first stop was to convert our American dollars to Ugandan Schillings, a bit of a disconcerting transaction. The weirdness is because of the exchange rate. We decided that my daughter and I would combine and exchange 100 dollars, so when we arrive at the bank, PD bargains with the guy a bit and we get a rate of 1 to 2300. This means my 100 bucks is now 230000 schillings, quite a wad of cash, in fact the smallest denomination is a 1000 dollar bill, this gives new meaning to a 'pocket full of cash'(at least for me it does).

We then head out in the van again, heading about 40 kilometers out of the city to a patch of rainforest and some hikeing. The trees are amazingly huge, 200 feet up in the air. In fact they are so tall it is uncomfortable to look upwards as much as you want. We wandered the path for an hour or so, looking at butterflys and lizards and spiders. The air was very humid and we became sweaty within minutes of walking under the canopy. After a while the sky seemed to darken and the guides suggested we go back because a sudden rain storm would be bad for the cameras we had(yes I have a camera but the cable to transfer the pictures has disappeared). We had a lunch of granola bars, beef jerky and water then back in the van.

When we eventually made our way back into Kampala our guides took us first to the big Catholic church and we met a man who showed us around and explained about the history of the place and we took many pictures. This place had been there since the late 1700's and sits on top of a hill with an amazing view of the surrounding city and hills. I can imagine the original view was amazing, rainforest for as far as the eye could see and lush vegetation right up to the grounds. Now the city is sprawling all about but the view is still wonderful. We left there and went to the Anglican church built around the same time. It is also on top of a hill and has an amazing view but we could not go in and look around. It sounded like someone was inside torturing an organ, but we dont know that for sure. It did occur to me that the people who worshipped there, the early days, would have had to walk up this large hill each time they would come to worship. It would not have been a walk that I would have wanted to do.

In any case we eventually made our way back to the hotel (after an ice cream stop) and a nice beef stew meal. Bedtime was about 6:30 and that has finally put me on Ugandan time so now the days should be easier.

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