How many times in your life can you text the following words to a friend as a means of apology for being 4 hours late for brunch?
“We got lost on the way to the equator.”
It is a 75km trip from the centre of Kampala to the equator, a simple white line drawn across a highway and lined with arts and craft shops and a café. There is the classic signpost, perfect for that “facebook shot” that everyone loves to see. Plus there is something quite cool about knowing that you are standing at the centre of the earth. We thought it would be a fun drive out of town, something simple that would get us back for our late brunch at 2.30. How wrong we were. We learnt some valuable lessons last Sunday as we lost our way.
- When looking for Masaka road, first buy a decent map.
- Promptly ignore said map and ask for directions. Many times. When asking for directions the phrasing is very important. If you ask “is the equator this way?” the answer will always be yes. I think it is considered impolite to say no to a stranger.
- There is no concept of sign posting in Uganda. It is therefore perfectly easy to get lost.
- Allow double the time. 75km on a Canadian smooth-as-a-pebble highway. Driving at 120km in a car that doesn’t rattle is a completely different 75km to a pot holed, red, dusty and muddy road lined with slow moving trucks.
- Once you realize that you have driven over 100km in the wrong direction, it is best to turn back and call it a day. When you are driving with a very determined husband whose sole ambition was to go to the equator then nothing will stop you.
- Papyrus swamps are green.
- People who have just purchased fish attach them to the front bumper of their car. I can only imagine that this is to reduce the scent of raw fish inside the car.
- Food takes just as long to arrive south of the equator.
- A Ugandan traffic jam turns 2 lanes into 8.
- Gas is expensive. The beast likes gas.
- 75km can turn into 300km. Easy.