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  • Brandon


    Mon Sep 13, 2010 04:45:52
    So, the scariest thing I saw today was a five year old girl holding a 6 month old baby and crossing the street with heavy traffic.
    Imagine seeing a child and a baby dodging traffic, guess its all just part of the culture.
    Speaking of a different culture, saw a little girl last night walk out onto the sidewalk, pull down her pants, squat down and pee right there on the sidewalk.
    No wonder the Chinese take off their shoes before walking in their house.So, I have had trouble logging on to my blog these past couple of days, so I will do my best to catch everyone up.
    Last Friday, I was invited by my friend Rebecca to accompany her and her friend to the outskirts of Shaoyang county to visit the countryside.
    I told her I had no problem going as long as we were back by 04:30pm so I could make my dinner invitation at Phoenix's house.
    So I spent that morning meeting with Candy to help her with her English and around 1pm, Rebecca called me to meet with her and her friend to first have lunch and then head out to the countryside.
    Since Candy was already with me, I invited her along.
    We met up with Rebecca and she introduced me to her friend, an older man who was actually her boss for an English training school.
    They took us to lunch at a very nice restaurant on the top floor of a very nice hotel here in Shaoyang and from there, we made our way to the countryside.
    It wasn't long before I realized that this was not a leisure trip and was actually a business trip to many different elementary and middleschools for Rebecca and her boss to promote their English training program.
    And guess who was the prime advertisement.
    So we pulled up to the school and they gave me a quick tour and led me to a classroom where they asked me to say a few words.
    And let me tell you, I may as well have been the President visiting because I was actually the first foreigner any of these children had ever seen before.
    When I walked into the classroom, the kids went wild with excitement, laughing and applauding and staring with wide open eyes of wonder.
    When I left the classroom and began heading back to the car, all of the students in the school, not just the classroom, but in the entire school came running out of their classrooms and followed me down the steps, across the basketball courts, and to the front gate where I got back in the car.
    I've never felt so much like a celebrity and actually, it made me feel quite good.
    Then we went to another school, an elementary school, where the reaction was even greater than before.
    I was mobbed quite quickly and no matter where I walked, the children encircled me, staring and giggling.
    Some of the little girls would push the other girls into me, trying to get them to touch me.
    And so I started playing with them.
    I would walk up three flights of stairs just to see if they would follow, and they would.
    Then, I would walk down a flight of stairs and walk to then end of one corridor, and of course, the mob would follow, only to grow in size.
    Then, I would walk to another side and they would seperate to let me through and collapse back into each other to follow me whereever I went.
    I felt like Moses parting the Red Sea.
    So, it was all in good fun and I felt great about being able to expose the children to something they had never seen before.
    That is, until we got back in the car and the boss man told me to take a nap and rest.
    This did not sound good.
    It was already close to four and I was tired and really didn't feel like having to drive much further, but as it turns out, we were about to drive a lot further, about another hour and a half.
    Of course, they wouldn't just come out and tell me how far it was.
    Instead, anytime I asked, Rebecca would tell them something in Chinese, they would answer in Chinese, and the answer always was, not very far, or we are very close.
    Lies, flat out lies.
    The problem was, there was no air conditioner, so we had the windows down, but we were driving on an extremely bumpy dirt road, so dust was constantly coming through the windows and I kept hitting my head everytime we hit a pothole, which the road was mostly made of.
    To make matters worse, Candy started feeling faint and asked them in Chinese to turn on the A/C, but then, I saw her eyes get very dizzy and she put her hand over her mouth.
    A sign that I took to be internationally known for being sick.
    But no one else seemed to pick up on this and I'm yelling, "Stop the car, pull over!
    She's not feeling well, PULL OVER!"
    And do you think Rebecca was keen enough to translate this for me without me having to tell her to?
    No, of course not.
    I had to directly tell her, "Tell them to stop the car!
    She's sick"
    So finally, she tells this to the driver and he pulls over and Candy, who is sitting in the middle of the car, is leaning over Rebecca, trying to make it to the window, with her hand still over her mouth and Rebecca just sits there, as if she doesn't understand that she should be helping her out of the car.
    So I yell at Rebecca, "Rebecca, open the door, she's sick"
    Poor Candy, who knows how much of her own bile she had to swallow since Rebecca, her boss, and the driver, have no sense of intuition or empathy.
    So Rebecca opens the door and Candy jumps out of the car and throws up on the side of the road.
    And do you think Rebecca gets out to hold her hair back like any decent American girl would do...No, of course not.
    I have to get out and take care of her.
    And so, I feel just awful, since Candy is my guest and now she's not feeling well because we have been driving on such a bumpy, dust ridden, god awful road for over an hour now.
    So I'm pissed, to say the least, and I'm not smiling anymore and I ask forcefully, how much longer and the answer I get is, not far at all, which apparently means, another forty minutes.
    And at this point, the only thing I'm concerned about is finding Candy a store to buy her something to drink, like a Coke to help settle her stomach.
    And the sweet thing she is, Candy is apologizing for getting sick and is still smiling and keeping a positivie attitude.
    That is, until about a half hour later, when I see her eyes roll back into her head, her hand go over her mouth again, and I say, "Stop, she's getting si..." and the poor thing throws up right there in the car.
    And do you think they had the fucking courtesy to stop the car and let her get out to compose herself?
    No, they say we're almost there and make her sit there, with vomit at her feet, for another 20 minutes until we get to the third school.
    And we keep passing stores that sell drinks, but not once to they give it any concern.
    And I'm thinking, screw this.
    I didn't sign up to be anybody's poster boy.
    I'm not being paid for this and as far as I'm concerned, I was misled into believing this was simply a nice trip to the countryside, not a chance for these people to whore me out for their own personal gain.
    So, we pull up to the school and I tell Candy to come with me so I can go buy her a drink, but as soon as I begin to walk the other way, the boss calls me desperately and says, "No, this way" and I say, "You guys go ahead, I need to get her a drink for her stomache" and they say, "Oh, we'll take care of it, they will get her a drink inside" and Candy says, still smiling, even with her eyes, "It's ok, lets go inside"
    So, we walk into the school, same song and dance.
    A bunch of little Chinese children who have never layed eyes on a foreigner, and when Candy and I sit down at a table, all the kids come running up just to sit around us.
    Of course, by this time, I'm not feeling that happy about the situation, and the little bastards who are slapping me on the back, just to touch a white man I guess, are not making the situation any better.
    So, Rebecca comes back with a water for both of us and I snap at her that she needs to bring Candy a Coke, or something with carbonation to help with her stomach, so she comes back with a can of green tea.
    Then, I check my phone to see what time it is, and its already 5pm.
    So, I step outside to call Phoenix to let him know I've been kidnapped and am not in Shaoyang and hand the phone to Rebecca to let her talk to him and figure out when we will be back.
    She talks to her boss, speaks to Phoenix in Chinese, and hands the phone back to me saying she told him we would be there by 6, since the trip back to Shaoyang isn't that far.
    It was only far between the two schools in the countryside, but that Shaoyang is rather close.
    So, I think we are about to leave, but instead, Rebecca gets up in front of the school and starts talking in Chinese to all the students.
    I ask Candy to translate and apparantly, Rebecca is telling the children if they calm down and be quiet, the nice foreigner will get up and say a few words.
    And of course, this is the first I hear about it.
    So, before I know it, all the children are clapping and I'm being brought the microphone.
    I say a few words, since I'm not at all enthusiastic about being here anymore, feeling completely used and misled and expect to leave, but instead, they initiate a question and answer portion of the presentation, where the students ask me questions about America and myself.
    The same generic questions I am always asked out here.
    "Do I like Chinese food?
    Can I speak Chinese? Do I like China?"
    And I give them the same answers I always do, "Yes, I love it.
    Yi Dian dian.
    Yes, China is great."
    And we head back to the car, finally.
    But the driver is still cleaning out the sickness from earlier and we take a stroll down the street, and I'm thinking, Shaoyang better be very close because its already 5:40 and dinner starts at 6.
    So the car comes and picks us up and as we're waiting to leave, I notice a dirty young man with a scar leading from his mouth up his cheek, just like the Joker from Batman, and he is sitting right in the middle of a pile of trash.
    And I'm trying to figure out why, out of all the places to sit in the street, he would choose a pile of trash.
    I think about getting out of the car to give him a little money, since he looks so pathetic, but the car starts moving and I can't take my eyes off him.
    Then, as we move, I notice that right next to him is a paper bowl and chopsticks.
    He was not only sitting in garbage, but he was eating his meal in it.
    Then, I noticed not only was he eating and sitting in a pile of trash, but that his pants were pulled down to his knees and he was actually sitting bare assed in the pile of trash, and I was very happy I didn't go over there because I think I would have gotten sick myself.
    I guess he was just plain crazy.
    Or as my brother Jon would say, "I always knew you were crazy, but now I can plainly see your NUTS"
    So, we head back to Shaoyang, which isnt as close as they wanted me to believe because we didn't get back until after 7pm and I'm just pissed.
    Candy had gotten sick again on the drive home, threw up bad on the side of the road, kept smiling still, though I could tell she was not feeling well at all and was extremely tired.
    We drop her off at her home and head to Phoenix's house.
    Lorne had invited Rebecca to come along so she follows me to the flat all the while telling me to slow down and I tell her, "Rebecca, we are already an hour late, I'm not slowing down"
    So we get to his flat at half past 7 and all the food is sitting for us at the table with Lorne, Jessie, Phoenix, and his wife Summer, waiting patiently for my arrival.
    I apologize profusely and we eat.
    Afterwards, Phoenix treated us to a night of playing pool and a nice Thai massage.
    Actually, it wasn't that nice.
    Thai massages are the ones where they walk on your back and use their feet.
    It was actually quite excruciating and not relaxing at all.
    The most interesting part of the whole thing was when Phoenix asked if I wanted to have one of the girls clean my ears to which I said, "Sure, I'll try anything once."
    I thought the girl was going to use Q-tips, but actually, she used a long needle to scrape deep into my ear, and a tuning fork to shake loose all the crud.
    It was actually quite uncomfortable and scary.
    I was so afraid she was going to stab my ear drum, but let me tell you, she definetely cleaned my ears.
    In fact, at one point, all the girls were gathered around in awe at the amount of dirt she took out.
    Definetely only trying that once.The next night, Lorne, Jessie, and myself decided to go out for a night on the town.
    Back to the Bobo bar.
    Well, first we hit up the local campus bar, took down a couple of pitchers of beer, and Jessie, the diplomatic foreigner that he his, offended Candy by using the word "Fuck" and "China" in the same sentence.
    I tried to explain to her that Americans typically curse when we speak to each other, but honestly, he did say some offensive things.
    Really, he's just not as enthusiastic as myself about experiencing different cultures, so much of what he sees in China is construed by him as being negative.
    I guess thats why Americans have a reputation for being offensive while abroad.
    But nevertheless, I straightened everything out, and after dropping Candy off at her house (she felt uncomfortable being the only girl going to a nightclub with three men and understandably so.
    Such a thing is frowned upon in China) we three headed out to the Bobo bar.
    Only this time, I made sure to take a few shots the "American" way.
    See, I had heard a rumor that the bottles of Whiskey were actually fake and wondered if that's why the bars were so keen on mixing most of it with ice tea.
    Turns out, it was just a rumor.
    I had two beers, 4 shots of pure whiskey, and a countless amount of "Chinese" shots and by the end of the night, I was dancing on the stage with my shirt off and swinging it around my head.
    Yes, I was a sight to see and the Chinese locals loved it!
    I was dancing all over the place, with women, with men, with myself and they kept pulling back onto the stage to dance with them.
    And as soon as I would climb up there, a dozen women and men would follow suit and dance around me.
    In China, its quite common to see two men dancing with each other, just as it is common to see two male friends walk down the street with their arm around each other or two girl friends holding hands.
    I suppose the whole dancing with men thing has something to do with the dynamic of East meets West with a bang.
    See, even the whole nightclub experience is quite new in China.
    It wasn't too long ago when such a thing was unheard of, but the country is rapidly becoming Westernized and yet, is still holding tightly to their traditional values.
    So yes, they go to the bars to dance and drink, but hitting on girls for their numbers or a one night stand is still not part of the scene.
    So, I'm thinking, since the idea of multiple lovers is still out of the mental grasp of the Chinese, the night scene doesn't boil down to strangers meeting on the dance floor to hook up.
    Since this is the case, it seems reasonable that two male friends who are close, can be often seen dancing with each other and with one swinging the hips or hands of his friend in rythmic movement.
    Quite similar to how girls in America will dance with each other instead of approaching a man they don't know in the bar.
    So, there were a couple of times where the guys would come up and start dancing with me, putting their hands on my hip, and when they'd dip, I dip, and we'd dip.
    No, not really,
    There was no dipping, but there was defintely hip swaying.
    So, by 10:30, im soaked in sweat, my shirt is soaking wet, and its twirling around my head like propellers on a helicopter.
    The guys in the bar are pulling over the girls to come dance with me, and they were really excited, let me tell you.
    I even gave a few a kiss on the cheek and then they asked if they could take a picture with me, since it was their friend's birthday.
    All in all, it was quite innocent, but really a lot of fun.The next morning, all three of us met Phoenix to introduce ourselves to our part-time students, with Jessie being the only one hungover.
    The guy had continued to take Western style shots throughout the night, and instead of dancing shirtless on the stage, was walking up to every girl in the bar with his cellphone, and using his American to Chinese translator program on his phone to ask the girls if they had boyfriends and if any wanted to be his girlfriend.
    Needless to say, there were no takers.
    So we introduced ourselves to the class, gave the kids English names, then headed to McDonalds for breakfast, which it turns out they don't serve here in China, and settled with a shake and coffee and proceeded to joke how we are going to start giving English names to the students like, "Homer" and "Bart" and "Patty" and "Selma" or maybe something like "Shaniqua" or "DeWayne" or "Latoya".
    It actually sounded like a pretty humorous idea.
    Besides, how would they know the difference?
    Later that afternoon, we met up for another shot at basketball.
    We spent about ten minutes getting the fundamentals down and then hit the courts for some serious game time.
    We were determined not to lose face again, and we creamed the competition.
    We played three on three with about four sets of teams.
    Everytime we beat one team, the next three boys would eagerly stand up for their chance at the Westerners, and we kicked all their asses.
    Of course, I think most of the kids we played were still in middle school, but hey, thats not the point.
    The point is, we won!
    The next morning, Sunday, I met with Phoenix again as he wanted me to go by myself to teach a class.
    It was quite easy.
    I gave them a lesson on the four seasons, the 12 months of the year, and how to describe weather as being "hot", "cold" "cool" "rainy" or "sunny".
    Then Phoenix payed me in advance for four classes which was 500 quai or yuan.
    Quai is slang, like calling a dollar a "buck" and I think it sounds much cooler.
    Though, when I use this word in class, the kids have a tendency to laugh at me.
    And that pretty much brings us up to date.
    Sorry if I wasn't so detailed, but its a lot of days pushed into one blog.
    Oh, by the way, at the nightclub, I guess I was buzzed enough to chew on a chicken claw.
    Interesting is all I can really say.
    Well, that and that the spices were so hot that I accidently rubbed my eye and it left it burning for the rest of the night.
    Think about touching a jalapeno and then touching your eye.
    Now do that over and over and over again and you have an idea.
    Ok, talk to you all soon...Love Brandon

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  • stephengmarshall

    Mon Sep 20, 2010 08:24:03
    The next couple of days in St Maximin were spent looking (saw Peta Mathias doing cooking classes in Uzes) around and generally just having a chill out of a time.  However we did visit another Museum, this time Haribro and this time for fun – it actually was very interesting, they showed all aspects of lolly & Licorice making, some wearable art and even an acrylic toilet seat full of jelly teddies.  At the end of the tour we were given a coin so we could get a free bag of lollies, hardcase though the machine was broken and could spit out anything from 4 – 8 bags of lollies at a time, the kids were in heaven.    Unfortunately our stay drew to an end much too quickly and Hester (host see previous blog) put on pre dinner drinks at her place with the rest of the guests staying at Abso Fabulous (2 more kiwi couples).  We were unable to sit outside that evening as we had a tremendous thunder and lightning storm the previous evening and things were only just drying out.  Well poor Hester probably thought an hour and it would be over but as kiwis go you don’t get rid of us that easily.  Well the couple of bottles of champagne turned into many bottles of wine and then carafes, I would hate to say how much was consumed between the 7 of us.  Then as kiwis do we threw some sossies on the bbq, made a salad and bread and voila a meal was produced about 9.30pm.  The storm arrived again just after dinner, we sat outside Le Cave under shelter and watched the electrical storm and the rain – Hester arrived with dessert, frozen Limón cello that would surely finish us off. The storm was invigorating while some were quite frightened, the power went on and off, time for bed as an early start the next morning with a long drive into Italy.   Wednesday morning it’s 7.00 am and we have no power and it’s dark and I am not sure how I feel.  Steve is amazingly well considering how much he drank and he is not  a drinker we pack our bags, have a shower and clean up around, I think I am not well, then I know I had too much to drink perhaps I need a paracetamol and that will sort things, I definitely was unwell and had to sing to the big white telephone before we left.  Steve wants to know who bill is because he says that I was calling for bill quite often, umm feel much better and ready for the long drive now.  Steve says how bad is that when you vomit the next day.   We are off to not sure where in Italy but somewhere close to the Cinque Terre – pronounced Chinka Teara - and for those that do not know this means five villages and they are all on the world heritage list.  The villages have been built along the coastline of Italy.  Cinque Terre is quite famous for it’s walks between the seaside villages.   A couple of people that we met said to stay at Levanto where the accommodation is a bit cheaper so that’s where we thought that we would head.  I thought I must have had it wrong cause I couldn’t find this place on the map and the closest was Sestri Levante, aha this is what they must have meant so that’s where we headed.  We arrived late afternoon after doing about 500 kms so now to look for a hotel – we came across this one near the promenade so I ran in to find out if they had any rooms and what might be the horrendous price as it is so close to the beach. The lady on reception couldn’t speak much English but we established we could get a room with breakfast at a reasonable rate, fantastic. Parking always an issue, but the Manager appeared and I worked out he had a car across the road and he would move it so Steve could park there, up a one way street the wrong way, no worries for Steve and the manager even came over and helped us with the bags.  Steve said did we get a sea view, let me show you he said for 10 euro more you can have a window with a view, for 60 euro more you can have a view and a balcony, the window was great we took that one.  Hard to believe that someone was so obliging, we later found out that his grandmother had started the hotel in 1951 and the family was still running it.  So we said we would give him a plug, go to www.hotelceleste.com excellent value for money, great service and location.    Thursday we caught the train that was literally 2 mins walk from the hotel to the Stazione to catch the  to Cinque Terre, 26 Euros for the day, gave us walking rights to the tracks between all the villages, unlimited train use and our tickets to the village.  What a great day, we started at Riomaggiore the furthest village and the shortest walk, we started walking along a narrow pathway above the roaring sea.  Along this pathway you are to declare your love to your partner, kissing as you go, the pathway is a scattered mass of tangled padlocks attached to where ever imaginable.  The locks came in all sizes and some had even been engraved specially and left on the track.   The rain came and went over the day but we managed to keep dry, probably the rain helped to keep us cool.  We had a lovely lunch at Corniglia and then headed to Vernazza a steep and windy path which took about an 1 ½ hours, we finished our walk there and a train ride took us back to Sestri Levante, we had a fantastic day and probably needed another couple of days here but it was on to Montecatini.   Montecantini near the Leaning Tower of Pisa, went there on the Trafalgar and we liked this place so wanted to come back. Stayed in the same hotel but not the same room in fact it felt like the basement cell and we weren’t that impressed, I suppose we have been too spoilt.  The couple of days were spent at the park, a trip up the funicular to Montecatini Alto 300 metres straight up from the town, had a coffee and a look around not much else.   Then on to Cervia pronounced Chervia, on the Adriatic Sea.  Not far to get there, a couple of hours drive which was great.  This seaside resort probably has 8 kms of beach dressed with thousands upon thousands of deckchairs and umbrellas and concessions, unbelievable the population you need to fill these.  It costs 15 euros a day as a casual to hire two chairs and an umbrella and that can be quite a way back from the water, up to 200m back.  As it was coming to the end of season we got upgraded to a sea view with balcony, very nice indeed.  Our last chance to catch some rays before heading to the UK, so our day was spent in the sun walking and enjoying the seaside.    

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  • Alinafrica

    Living it up in Mbale!

    02 Mar, 2012 General — Posted by alinafrica
    Hi all, sorry for the delay but have not been able to get internet in last couple of weeks. Hope all is well. ///// I have been having a few more issues with my accommodation, such as lack of food, lighting, drinking and bathing water and sanitation, but apart from that it's grand. I now understand why nobody I work with lives in the District. I have therefore made an agreement to spend the week days in Bududa and the weekends in Mbale, which isn't the nicest town in the world but has such luxuries as food, running water and electricity. ///// Friday 17th February, I did some more field work with Bosco and Marian. I mentioned that I was planning to go back to Mbale for the weekend and Bosco said that he was going to do some more engineering work later that day before returning his friends car to Mbale. I agreed to tag along for the experience and get a lift back and avoid the extremely uncomfortable commuter taxis. Long story short, we met with a well know local businessman at a quarry and then was taken to his land and had a meeting with workers regarding the construction of a bridge. It was around this point that I realized that we were outside of our district and that the bridge was for access to private land so I couldn't understand why Bududa District would be involved in its construction. It then dawned on me that Bosco and his colleague were being private consultants for a wealthy individual, and all of which was being done in work time. I had even chipped in with some free environmental advice. I had also mentioned that I intended to see some of Kenya after my assignment and had preliminary agreed to stay in his place in the hills, which I was quickly regretting! ///// The whole time I was there I felt very uneasy and wanted to leave but instead was invited into the family home and fed and watered, which I had to accept gratefully. We were there for sometime and it became apparent that this businessman had a lot of influence in the area and was widely respected, to the point that people would kneel down with bowed head when shaking his hand, for which they did the same for me. I was starting to feel like I was in the fillm 'Last King of Scotland', and we all know how that one ended! Two weeks in and I am already tangled up in a bit of corruption! ///// The weekend was well spent relaxing, eating nice food and drinking cold beers. We also went out with a couple of guys from South Wales who were head and deputy head of schools that were linked to area as well as a couple of Canadian girls who were working as Occupational Therapists in the local hospital. Mbale is really off the beaten track as far as tourism goes so when you come into contact with other muzungus, it is worth sticking together, which we did and had a very enjoyable weekend which was a million miles from what I was used to! ///// Monday morning I went to speak to the Environment Officer for Mbale as Marian is turning out to be as useful as a chocolate teapot. I worked the next couple of days in a quite district office still trying to understand what was needed within the district, what my imput could be and where the hell everybody was that should have been in work. It seems that the few people in work are more interested in sitting outside under a tree chatting or napping. O well, I thought, I will have to do this the hardway, so I wrote letters to all the heads of departments insisting on meetings with all of the them. To use the only printer in the office I had to use a pendrive to pass my files to Planners computer. Bad move, as soon as I plugged his pendrive into my computer it was game over! I have been warned about Africa viruses (electronic ones that is) and how bad they are. Within a minute of using the pendrive nothing worked on my laptop and it wouldn't even start up. So much for the Agencies antivirus software! I spent the rest of the day trying to fix it and failed miserably and had a realization that without a computer I was as much use as Marian. ///// The next day Dani came to my District to research case studies as part of her TACC project. Dani had kindly offered my services as the official photographer for the day, which I did not mind as it was good to get out of the office. We visited some rural areas and looked at their seedling cultivation schemes and the energy effiecient stoves that are being invested in by TACC all to combate deforrestation. After dragging Marian, the girl working with Dani and Fred the driver around a couple of villages like 3 stroppy teenagers we called it a day. Since I needed to get my laptop fixed and Dani had already said that it was the Welsh teachers last night and they were all going out for a few beers that night, I made a spur of the moment decision to go with them back to Mbale with not much more than the clothes I was wearing. I'm glad I did as even though we arrived back late, we had a cracking night. ///// The next day I spent walking around Mable with a sore head trying to find someone to fix my computer. By Friday, I had had the computer rebuilt and was working again. However, I was not able to retrieve the work I had done over the previous couple of weeks but on the plus side I had a newer version of windows and no stupid Agency software that had been causing problems all along. The man who fixed it was in the back of the shop/shack about 10 foot by 6 foot that also had a seamstress and mobile phone shop in. 6 hours work and Windows XP installed with all Office apps and antivirus came to a total of 10 pounds. Not bad! I can't wait to see our IT departments face when I hand back their laptop with an illegal version of windows installed. ///// The rest of the weekend was spent at Mbale resort which is the poshest place to stay in Eastern Uganda and expensive at that. However, it only costs 5,000 Uganda Shillings to use the pool (and more importantly pool bar). Sounds expensive? It only costs 1 pound 40 and well worth it considering the conditions I live in during the week. I finally got a taste of the "holiday" everyone told me I was going on. I also treated myself to an hour long full body aromatherapy massage for just 6 pounds. Which was a bit of an experience as it was, near enough, a FULL body massage and the lady who was doing it was not exactly petite. I have never been in so much pain and fear in my life. I have also never been straddled during a massage before either or rearranged for that matter! ///// After leaving the massage room dazed, in agony and slightly violated, I returned to the pool to watch more locals trying to swim, which to be perfectly honest and for some unknown reason they just can not do. It was uncomfortable to watch as most of them looked like they were drowning but at the same time having fun. I was challenged to a race by the best swimmer there who had the body of Usain Bolt and could probably run as fast too. It wasn't much of a challenge and he was widely mocked for being beaten by an out of shape muzungu and by such a huge margin. It is obvious Ugandasns aren't taught to swim so they would watch me and try to emulate. I have even been thinking of moonlighting as a swimming coach during my assignment, working conditions would probably be a lot more desirable! What was amazing was that not one Ugandan could do a proper dive into the pool but instead choose to do back flips, which I tried and failed miserably on a number of occasions which meant it was my turn to get laughed at. ///// Dani and I did try to watch the rugby that weekend but it was not to be. The internet was so bad we couldn't even get the commentary or even updates, kind of glad we didn't as Dani would have gloated with the victory with her Wales shirt, flags and even a WRU teddy bear! On the positive, Saints are back on top! ///// Send me some emails of updates of how you all are and even some news. I have just heard from someone local about Witney Houston, so news doesn't travel quick out here. Unless it's football which the Uganda's can't get enough of. I did watch the impressive Arsenal comeback with some locals which they were very animated about. Keep in touch Read more »
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