I wasn’t sure if I’d be celebrating New Year’s Eve in Rwanda or Uganda. I was trying to arrange an expedition into the mountains to see the gorillas in either Rwanda or Uganda, but it was just way too expensive.
So I stayed a few days in Rwanda and then headed to Kampala, Uganda on December 30, 2013. Kampala is a huge city. To get around most efficiently you should take a “boda boda.” Boda bodas get their name from how Kenyans and Ugandans say “border border.” The boda bodas used to ferry people from border to border (it’s quite a bit of distance from one immigration point to the other) on scooters when going between the two countries.
Today they offer relatively cheap transport across town, definitely the fastest way of getting somewhere. But with that quickness comes some lack of safety. They routinely drive on the wrong side of the road to pass cars, drive on the shoulder, and otherwise make you close your eyes. On my first ride I nearly got hit by an approaching motorcycle as my boda boda driver cut him off.
In Kampala I couchsurfed with a wonderful Ugandan named Lauryn. She works in IT and lives close enough to the center to be convenient, yet far enough away to see livestock and animals. I love such places!
While in Kampala I was battling yet another cold, so I was often tired. But on New Year’s Eve we had a nice time.
First Lauryn, her boyfriend Dan, and I went to the home of an American guy. He works for USAID, the US Government’s foreign aid division that works on development projects in many countries. He treated us to a very nice dinner and conversation, and some Ugandan friends of his were there as well.
Next we all went to a nearby bar where they were playing live music. The band seemed to play a lot of Whitney Houston music, but it was really nice. We sat and talked and relaxed as the clocked ticked from 11:59:59 to 12:00:01.
Then we went to the home of a friend of Lauryn’s and I met many more Ugandans. It was really nice, though we didn’t stay long. Finally we went to a night club. Night clubs aren’t my scene, but while Lauryn and her boyfriend danced the night away I thought about all the things I want to accomplish in 2014. There are so many things, so much positivity I want to spread.
Before I knew it, the time was 4am and we were on our way back to Lauryn’s place. Somehow I wasn’t tired. I was full of energy and ready to start the new year on a positive, hard-working foot!
This marked the fifth continent I’ve celebrated New Year’s on. I hope to ring in the new year in Australia/New Zealand and Antarctica someday!