The flight to Entebbe was uneventful, though the landing felt like we were riding a giant pogo stick. After hopping about on the runway for a bit, the old kangaroo imitator of a captain navigated us to the terminal. Immigration took hardly any time and we pushed off to the luggage conveyor. There I met my first Ugandan gujjubhai.
A spry old gentleman, sixtyish, but dressed like a teenager with low cut jeans, air nikes, everything. "You are India?" "Yes", I admitted, "I am India". "What you are doing in Uganda?". I love the directness of gujjubhais, even though it is a little disconcerting. I have been asked, among other things, the size of my undies ("you are wearing large, medium or small?"), whether I am "doing planning?" (using contraceptives), my income ("how much money you are making per month?") and many other things usually reserved for my spouse, my doctor or my accountant. This, amongst gujjubhais, is conversation, not confrontation. You are not expected to give answers (polite smiles and nods are perfectly acceptable) but if you do respond verbally, get ready for free advice.
By the time my luggage arrived, I learnt that my friend, Jitubhai Patel, was a major businessman in Kampala, that the hotel I was planning to check into was yujelayss, that I got a raw deal from Ethiopian Airlines, and that I would definitely contract malaria in Africa.
Thanking him for his valuable insights, we shuffled out of the airport and looked around for a friend of Tom's who was to have picked us up. Jitubhai, who was hanging around too, remarked that the flight was "before time", so we settled down and decided to watch the world go by.
The people are smartly dressed, I can tell you that! Regardless of their station in life, everyone seemed to be dressed for a party. The ladies were wearing off-shoulder dresses, halter necks, cleavage revealing tops, the kind of clothes you would find Nicole Kidman wearing on Oscar night. And they were all built like Serena Williams. I don't want to say they were big butted but if there is an international watermelon smuggling gang causing grave concern among policemen around the world, it is definitely headquartered in Uganda. Which is why I named it
THE LAND OF THE WATERMELON SMUGGLERS.
Tomorrow, we will go around the streets of Kampala and find out what else they smuggle. For now, it is good bye from Uncle Naren, who inadvertently had a drop or two over the alloted quota last night at a party and has to make up for it by cooking lunch.