Uganda Travel Stories, Page 4

NEW Map of Location of Andy

NEW Map of Location of Andy
The Verizon BlackBerry Storm has a GPS function; I can find my location on the map with Global Positioning Satellites, and then email the location to a person. Boy Genius from India, my techie and friend has made a new feature on the Andy HoboTraveler.com Travel Journal that creates an almost real time Google Map of my present location.



Map of the present location of Andy of HoboTraveler.com
Or,
http://www.hobotraveler.com/travel-journal/follow-andy.php

A person can go directly to the Travel Journal and click on one of the maps in the left column which will also take you to this map.

This is cool, anyway I think about it, this cool feature truly hits at the essence or the future of travel writing taking us closer and closer to real time reporting.

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Ishaka, Uganda
East Africa
Friday, May 8, 2009

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I suspect we could generate the real time location of me at any given time; however this makes the maps confusing. In this version this map feature only shows the city where I am located. However, as I understand, I have not had time to play with this inside an internet café; I believe a person can zoom right down to the exact spot where I took a GPS reading.

This is a great way to explore the location or maybe the terrain of a city for great understanding of what I am seeing.

Suggestions and comments are needed, if there is a bug or problem, please enter comments below. I suspect we are having browser compatibility problems.

Note, do not mention the BlackBerry or Opera Mini Internet Browsers to Boy Genius he is not enjoying making pages compatible with these browsers.

Thanks

Blackberry, - How to Travel Blog, - Internet, - Travelogues, - Travel Blogs, - Travel Writers

NEW Map of Location of Andy


Africans are Good at Languages

Africans are Good at Languages
I have now been in 12 countries in Africa, spent about one year of my life on this continent, and I continue to be in awe with the ability of African people to learn languages.

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Ishaka, Uganda
East Africa
Friday, May 8, 2009

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I was sitting outside an Indian owned supermarket in Kasese, Uganda the other day trying to connect the GPS function of the Verizon BlackBerry Storm when this kid start looking over my shoulder.

He says,
“Is that a computer phone?”
I say,
“Yes, but technically I think they call it a Smartphone, however your definition in my opinion is more correct.”

He was polite, considerate and generally helpful, not demanding as is generally a cultural problem here. Therefore, we started to have this intelligent conversation about the map and my present location.

He tells me he can speak eight languages, and he is eight years old, I tell him I can speak English, French and Spanish. And generally as is the rule, they want to know if I can speak his language, I have to say no, and I am not going to try, it is hopelessly difficult for me.

I ask test questions, asking him to explain the words in different languages, and I believe him, he can speak many languages.

I have met many people in both East and West Africa who seem to seamless jump between various languages. I can be sitting here speaking English with a person and suddenly the person starts to speak a local language.



I met three girls in the Holy Leap Restaurant the other day, two from Kenya and one from Rwanda. They are studying at the Western Branch of the Kampala International University here in Ishaka, Uganda.

A person has to ask these students,
“What languages do you speak?”
“How do you talk to each other?”

I am quite sure they are jumping from language to language and dialect as they communicate. I am the simpleton in these conversations; I am the person who is unable to communicate. As best I can tell, they are capable of clarifications in many languages, therefore they will sometimes explain to each other in a local language. Rwandan and Kenyan people do not speak the same language, Ruth the Rwanda girl started to speak to me in French because some areas of Rwanda speak French.

The USA seems to have an acceptance that Black People make better Athletes, that somehow their bodies are better. I cannot say I agree with this, I think it has more to do with an accelerated evolution of American Black because the weak died on slave ships, then masters selected stronger blacks to breed with other stronger blacks. I generally do not find stronger Blacks in Africa.

I however do feel that African people are genetically wired to learn languages twice as fast as white races.

There are three South Korean women who are in Ishaka, their husbands are teaching at the school. The wives do not speak English, and I was laughing as Dickens the manager of the restaurant has learned some Korean words.

There is an Asian invasion here in Africa, Chinese, Koreans and maybe Japanese are here investing and gaining economic favor. The Chinese are building roads; I would love to find out if the local road workers start to learn Chinese because of the inability of Chinese to speak English.

I am naturally mechanical; my genetic makeup allows me to learn computer, engineering, construction and maybe mathematical situations easily. I know I have a gift, I also am painfully aware I do not have the gift of languages. Yes, I can speak French and Spanish, however to learn these language was more willpower and little to do with natural ability. I have readers complain about my English writing ability, this is a good example of my lack of natural language ability.

I do not care if I offend people when I speak of differences between races of people; I refuse to be dysfunctional or politically correct at the sacrifice of honesty. I think and believe the understanding of how we are different allows us to also to know how we are the same. Too crazy, there are tons of Non Governmental Organization here trying to culturally change these countries; however in denial there is a cultural difference. (Whacky)

Sometimes readers think I do not like Africans, this is humorous to me, I have come to Africa now five times, and this is a statement of love.

Hmm, I would suspect that many people would say that Barack Obama is better with language than George W. Bush.

Africans are Good at Languages


Solar Electricity for BlackBerry Storm

Solar Electricity for BlackBerry Storm in Uganda
I think Uganda uses 220, however truthfully I am not positive because the electronic devices I have work both ways. The electricity went off about 24 hours ago and just came back on, it was a good experience for me, I got to play with my two solar panels.

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Ishaka, Uganda
East Africa
Thursday, May 7, 2009

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Solar Panel in window of Park House Hotel in Ishaka, Uganda

I have two solar panels, I have never used them, I have been carrying them for just this type of occasion.
“Did they work?”
“No.”

However, maybe I learned enough today to whereby the next time the electricity goes off I will be prepared. I am rather lazy, or possibly I am effective, I do not cloud up my brain with extra information, I learn when there is a need. The acuteness of a problem motivates me to apply myself and learn, therefore today the subject was Solar Panels.



The goal is to create a 12 Volt off the electrical grid system, this panel has 10 AA 1.2 volt batteries and the output I hope is 12 Volts.

This is the solar panel, my friend Hot Springs Freak Chris purchased for me when was in Africa last time. I think the system cost less than 75 dollars because I gave him strict guidelines, a backpacker would be crazy to pay more than 75 dollars for these toys. I cannot find a brand name on the solar panel; the company does not seem to what a free plug from users like me.



10 AA Battery Pack, Cigarette Lighter Adapter, and the BlackBerry Storm, this appears to be a good combination. The probably today was the Batteries were not already charged; therefore, it would not power the BlackBerry in real time. I need to leave this in the window to charge for a day or two to be prepared.

Problems:

1. There is no LED light or any notification that the solar panel was working. Luckily, there is a light on the cord of the auto adapter cord of the BlackBerry that proved there was electricity.

2. I cannot charge the 10 pack of batteries directly from normal on the grid power; it appears this requires me to use solar.

3. I have no way of knowing when the battery pack is fully charged.

4. I should have had two or three BlackBerry batteries; I only have one and should have found a way to charge outside the BlackBerry Storm.

Solutions:

1. It appears I need to buy voltage meter to test this equipment.

2. Pay 2000 for roundtrip ticket to the USA, get two BlackBerry batteries and come back.

Notes:

1. The solar panel without battery storage is close to worthless.

2. When it rains, the electricity tends to go off; there is almost no sun today.

3. I need to study and make a charging system for the 10 pack of AA batteries; Solar is truly ineffective in compared to normal electricity.

4. I also should be able to charge this 10 pack of batteries from an automobile cigarette lighter or all the power of a motorcycle.

5. The Battery of a BlackBerry Storm with heavy use last about 5-10 hours, and a Computer last about two hours.

6. I may be able to charge my BlackBerry from the USB port of the computer, however may be tricky.

I hope that BlackBerry sells a ready out of the package solar system for less than 100 US Dollars.

Blackberry, - Mobile Office, - Computer, - Electricity

Solar Electricity for BlackBerry Storm in Uganda


Uganda Growing Bananas and Beans

Uganda Growing Bananas and Beans
I came upon some Bananas and Beans growing together here in Ishaka, Uganda.

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Ishaka, Uganda
East Africa
Thursday, May 7, 2009

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Many people warn about food shortages, I tend to believe only about 20 percent of the planets capacity to grow food is utilized. Here is a rare instance where a farmer has decided to grow two crops in one area, this type of farming seems reasonable.



I believe I can rule out String Bean and Peas, I believe this is another type of bean grown here in Uganda.

Agro-tourism, - Food

Uganda Growing Bananas and Beans


People Stink Travel Tip

People Stink Travel Tip
Here is a solution told to me by Buddhist Bob, a man from the USA who has been traveling for years, converted to Buddhism in India.

He told me,
“This is how I survived India.”

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Ishaka, Uganda
East Africa
Thursday, May 7, 2009

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This is similar to a product called Tiger Balm sold in many countries.



The bottom line is this, people in India and Africa are not good at bathing, and they often smell. There are people here that stink so bad it makes me sick, the same for India, this is a real problem on public transportation and a great reason to drive your own car through Africa.

Solution:

Overpower the one smell with another smell, take a small dab of this mentholated rub stuff and put right below you nose.

Bob swears by it, I have tried it a couple of times, however in the end the best solution is to stick your head out the window and pray for mercy.

People Stink Travel Tip


Remember Tea Plantations

Remember Tea Plantations
I visited a Tea Plantation in Kericho, Kenya, this was a beautiful place. On the road between Queen Elizabeth Park to Ishaka, Uganda is another Tea Plantation area.

I am now telling myself,
“Remember, Tea Plantations.”
“Remember, Tea Plantations.”
“Remember, Tea Plantations.”

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Ishaka, Uganda
East Africa
Wednesday, May 6, 2009

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Ishaka, Uganda

I poked the camera out the door of the van as we stopped to pick up some more passengers and took this photo of tea growing.

Tea appears to grow at altitudes between 1000 and 1500 meters above sea level. I think 1300 to 1500 is the optimum level above sea level in the tropics. At this altitude the living conditions are as good as they get, warm days and cool nights, no snow, and in many ways permanent spring.

If I read or hear about Tea Plantations, consider me in, I will be visiting the location.

Remember Tea Plantations


Stupid Locals on Bus Travel Tip

Stupid Locals on Bus Travel Tip
Tourists can be incredibly stupid.
Travelers can be outrageously dumb.

Do the locals know their own country, or can they be stupid?

Often in our misguided understanding of the world we think the locals understand their country; this is an example of this misguided belief. There are two more examples at bottom of this Journal Post explaining some misguided reasoning.

Ask advice from people who use a bus, do not ask not from people who do not use the bus.
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Ishaka, Uganda
East Africa
Wednesday, May 6, 2009

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This a full size normal bus, I rode on this bus from Mubende to Fort Portal, Uganda, it was torture, I had to sit in the back seat and had motion sick the whole way, almost lost the Chapatti I ate before boarding the bus I never thought of Chapatti as being greasy until I came to Africa.

I was in Mubende, Uganda waiting for what Ugandans call a Taxi, what Kenyan calls a Matatu and what I call a van to come and take me to Fort Portal, Uganda when I met a nice woman by the name of Jessica. The trip is about 75 miles, this distance can take anywhere from 1.5 hours to 5 hours depending on the level of chaos both are short trips for a traveler.

If I were lucky, I would get on this large bus, and then possibly travel directly from Mubende to Fort Portal in about one and a quarter hour.



I am sitting in the back seat of the bus, taking a Photo of my new friend Jessica that may need to stand for 2-4 hours.

This is Jessica, truly a nice woman who helped me to find the bus above. I met her at street stop where people board small vans or buses going to Fort Portal. We had and enjoyable talk for about 90 minutes while we waited for the big bus above to come, she kept telling me,
“It is coming now.”

While we waited, three small vans stopped, loaded and left for Fort Portal, she kept telling me,
“The big bus will come and it will pass all the small ones.”
“It will go direct.”

Well, I was thinking to myself, this women is nuts, this is Africa, however 75 miles is a short distance, I will follow along and see if she is correct, maybe I can learn a trick or two about Uganda.

Ok, the big bus cost 10,000 Uganda Shillings, and I believe the small van cost 8,000 Shillings. The bus arrived, they make us pay before we could board the bus, when I get on and discover there is one seat in the absolute rear of the bus and not enough for all the passengers, Jessica is left standing.

The back seat of a bus bounces up and down; this is the best seat on the bus to get motion sickness, and I become motion sick easily.

Well, the only way to know if a new friend makes bad decisions is allow them to lead the way. Generally, Jessica was great person, a happy, generous and helpful person.

I enjoyed the conversation, I enjoyed spending 5 hours with Jessica to travel 75 miles.

I am a traveler, Jessica is a person who lives in Mubende, I probably have taken more buses in Uganda in one week then she took in one year. I made a new friend, and elongated my trip by 2-3 hours.



My thoughts,
“You are upwind of me old woman, I hope you took a shower today.”
“Why do Africans think they will get sick if they open the window?”
“The word you are looking for is Musungo.”
“Yes, white people sometimes get on buses, we do not all have cars.”
“The retarded girl asking me questions next to me is ok, I know she is your friend, but I will watch her.”
“Yes, my eyes are blue.”
“No, the white skin will not rub off.”
“Children deserve seats as much as grownups.”
“If you keep looking at me, I am going to take your photo.”

EXAMPLE OF MISGUIDED TRUST IN LOCALS

First Example:
Tourist will ask locals what the money exchange rate is, why would a local need to know, they do not need to change money. Yes, in some countries, they all seem to be preoccupied with this; however, in a normal stable country, they are not concerned or aware.

Second Example:
Tourist and Travelers will ask people to look at a map and explain where to go, generally the average person on a the planet has never went more than 20-30 miles from their home, has no need for a map, and has never used one.
“Can people read maps?”
Note, if you want to give a nice gift to a friend, give them a map of their country.

Bus Tours, - Transportation

Stupid Locals on Bus Travel Tip


Kasese Uganda

Kasese Uganda
I am now in the city of Kasese, Uganda, about 300 meters lower in altitude at 950 Meters above sea level. I am surely missing something here in Uganda.
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Kasese, Uganda
East Africa
Monday, May 4, 2009
Hotels in Kasese, Uganda
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If you look close at this map, there is a park called Ruwenzori National Park, I am trying to suss out if this is significant. Uganda is one those travel destinations where people sit around at home reading for a year or two before they go visit, then mortgage their home to pay for the trip and say they had a great time.

A South African guy in Isiolo, Kenya said,
“This is the area for monied travelers.”

LATER IN THE DAY

The Lonely Planet guidebook makes no sense for the normal “Lonely Planet” backpacker, it is full of clichés. I cannot separate the hyperbole from the reality. As best I can tell, the Ruwenzori National Park is just a place to take expensive treks and I cannot find any clear reason to do so, except to say you walked in a mountain in Uganda, anyway I do it, I am not going to pay 600 dollars to walk in the mountains of Uganda or any country, this stuff is free.

Kasese is the armpit of Uganda, some nothing natural about it, I think they built this town for the cobalt mine, put it at the end of a railway track and called it a city. I am tired of trying to make sense of the guidebook, I do not have a car to drive around to figure out what they are talking about.

If you have a car, drive up to Kilembe, maybe there is a hotel, cooler air, a tree or two.

Kasese Uganda