Friday, March 25, 2016

How to choose your taxi driver

I'm at a really lovely backpacker's lodge right near Lake Victoria and Uganda's airport. It's very gentile/colonial around here with gardens, birds and fresh breezes. I was going to try and pick up some books to read while here. In most of Uganda a "book shop" is a stationary store with notebooks, pencils, envelopes etc. With this many expatriates in one area I was certain I could find some novels or the latest Hollywood confessional memoir. I did find a "bookstore". Each book, regardless of beat-up paperback condition, cost more than a night at a hotel or two pork dinners.  It's kind of the same thing with cheese. And chocolate. Fruit, however, remains the go-to gorge for the budget conscious.
Here are baby Jackfruit on the tree. I looked up what family of plants these trees are in and it turns out they're related to figs. An ugly pouch filled with tons of seeds. Hmmm

How to pick a boda-boda taxi driver:  as you climb out of your bus or matatu, or at cross-walks, intersections, heck--almost anywhere when you look sweaty and foreign--mobs of men on motorcycles crowd you yelling YES! MADAM! YES! BODA! As they honk and rev their engines. Most in Gulu now understand I like to walk so leave me alone. But Kampala is entirely different and much, much larger. Yesterday I figured out how to handle the insanity. Go through crowd and ask their age. Not only does this seem to neutralize the shark-tank mentality but it becomes a game "Eh, how old do you think I am?" They ask me. Then they tease each other. "He is forty-five hahaha!" Or boast "I am 20! A mature man!"  To choose, pick the oldest one in the bunch. If there's s tie pick the one with bad teeth. You will be picking an honest winner who can use the support of your business.