At coffee the other day, on my last day off, always a bittersweet day, I had to laugh. The cafe was full of tourists. Tourists here fall into three categories.
First we have the young and intrepid. Generally tall, fit and almost always handsome and attractive with that glow of youth and expectation, they all dress the same. The travelers garb here is aglow with African print, in the fabric of their bags, the beads of their flip flops, the headbands that hold back their hair. There are tattoos, baggy trousers with too many pockets or soft skirts purchased in a market soon after their arrival. The jewelry was bought then too, with the excitement of a new purchase in a foreign and new land. They all look brave and weathered as if they already bungee jumped and done all of the rapids. Now they are bargain hunting for the next adventure and they are off to see it, find it all.
Next are the earnest and fresh faced missionaries. These young couples have come with some connection to a church and are planning to stay awhile and volunteer. They are almost always blond, the men often sport beards and they wear no jolly prints of jewelry. They might be in Kampala to get supplies or perhaps they are on their way up country but they have the look of people on a mission. Literally.
Then there are the middle aged do gooders. These people, often from the middle of Canada or Kansas have retired and want to go on an adventure. Combined with a stint at an orphanage or school, they have come dressed for the part. I imagine when they were packing what must have gone through their minds. “ Shall I bring the denim skirt or the kakhi? Perhaps both.” “I am not sure I can find trousers with elasticated waists over there so I’ll bring 4 or 5 pairs, just in case.” Yesterday took the cake, and the cherry pie. The woman who walked into the cafe was dressed entirely in denim, top to toe, the soft overly washed kind, and slung over her shoulders was a giant fish. Yes. This woman had a bag in the shape and colourful splendour of a super sized Nemo. Behind her, she had a friend who carried an enormous Disney Land bag. It could not have looked better coming off a Carnival Cruise ship in Miami.
Of course, they took a table right next to the young travelers, blond, Danish and dressed in beaded flip flops. sliver bangles and the ubiquitous African print head band. Perfect.
Am I terribly cruel? Hope not.