When writing a serious travelogue, one is always on the horns of a dilemma - does one dwell on specifics, providing local flavor at the risk of losing over-all perspective or is it better to give the reader a reliable general idea of the place and avoid the dynamics of change?
Luckily I'm not writing a serious travelogue. I've had too much Zappa for that. Ah, I see you are not familiar with that little tissue restorer. Well, Zappa is an aniseed liqueur that the manufacturers have, no doubt from the best of motives, colored blue. It is also several notches more concentrated than regular booze, causing a sudden disconnection in the circuitry responsible, among other things, for balanced and rational conversation.
Coming back to the Diary. Our hotel in Kampala, the Golf Course Hotel, turned out to be a lavish and well appointed place. It overlooks a Golf Course (duh) and I could spy, outside the starboard window, a portly white gentleman cussing like a trucker, his ball having gone where no ball had been before. Most picturesque. Panning the camera 180 degrees and into the room, the scene was one of raucous debate. For Tom had rounded up all his Ugandan friends and initiated revelry.
Amongst the invitees were a couple of party animals who found the Golf Course Hotel too tame for the red-blooded. They decided to relocate and presently I found myself ushered into an Irish Pub. I swear. The place was full of Mzungus which is Swahili for "White people", and like white people all over the world, they were dancing like something pulled out of a morgue and treated with electricity. Not happening, we decided, though I had taken a shine to an excellent beer called "Tusker", and further relocation was carried out.
The Kyoto bar, which we went to next, was a lot more lively. An elderly Mzungu, who had evidently been drinking stronger stuff than lemonade, decided to undress progressively while dancing. This livened up the place considerably, especially when a young lad who looked like a Filipino or Malay or something, decided to join him. Soon, matters reached a point where a substantially muscled member of the management regretfully decided to apply eviction and these two worthies urgently vacated the premises. But one of our friends who, it turned out was a part time DJ used his contacts to get the DJ to play Punjabi Bhangra music to a gathering which, with the exception of about a dozen of us, was ebony and ivory. To my great amazement, the entire crowd started gyrating to the beat and for the next hour or so, we had the "Oye Balle Balle" stuff that most of us have learnt to recognize and dread. And the Ebony and Ivory crowd? Danced like there was no tomorrow. All that you hear about India's cultural hegemony is true. Brown people shall inherit the world, amen, though the specific brown people are likely to be the ones connected with the movie business rather than those of us fiddling with computers.
And then, someone ushered me to the bar counter where there were little liqueur glasses filled to the brim with an ink blue liquid I later learnt was Zappa. Someone lit it with a lighter and asked me to extinguish it by placing my palm over the mouth of the glass. I did the needful and found that the glass had stuck to my palm. The flame drove out the air and caused a vacuum etc., though at the time, my problem solving skills were a bit beer impaired. Cool, I thought and yanking the glass off my palm, proceeded to guzzle its contents. "Whew! Strong stuff", I said but the rest of the entourage was busy taking the lead from me. Several rounds were repeated and I staggered out to occupy the dance floor which was mysteriously floating around.
I realize that I carry an enormous responsibility, being such a respected historian, but for some reason, all world events that happened in the next 8 hours are a mystery to me. You'll have to find someone else to fill you in on the developments in Iraq or the sub-prime crisis that happened during this period. But if you care to hear about my trip to the equator, drop in next week and
JOIN ME FOR A ROUND OF ZAPPA