Detained in Kampala

"Show me identification!"

“Show me identification!”

“That one is stubborn,” the chubby little Policeman explained to his dozing compatriots. ‘Stubborn’ would be the word of the evening, used again and again to describe my appalling behavior. “You sit down!”

I did so. I wasn’t sure what to think at this point, but the wooden floor of the wooden cell of this wooden police post seemed suitable for sitting. Cool air and mosquitoes leaked in through the gaps between the boards, prompting me to stuff my arms and legs into my shirt for warmth and protection. A necessary measure, though now my shirt was permanently stretched. It was too small anyway, I thought. Now to get out of thisContinue reading

Speke and Me, Explorers We

John Speke’s drawing of the Nile’s source back when. The falls no longer exist for damming.

It was fitting that the book I brought along on my cycling adventure around Lake Victoria was a 1912 edition of John Speke’s memoir of his own two-and-a-half year expedition in search of the source of the River Nile. During lonely sick days or lazy afternoons, I lost myself in his detailed account of trudging through swamps, leading mutinous men, and struggling to appease a series of chiefs and kings along the way. To read about a specific place along the lake’s enormous fringe which was opened up to the Europeans by Speke in the 1860s, and then to pass through the very same place on a bicycle gave my whole adventure context. Hell, it makes my ordeal look like a trip to the grocery store to buy cake mix.

I had fairly smooth roads, for one thing, and wheels to boot. Continue reading

Migrant Work: Preparation and Opportunity

Seneca, Roman statesman and quote generator

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Part of the idea with this whole world traveling game is that I am always on the lookout for interesting opportunities which never fail to reveal themselves. There is always someone somewhere who needs your abilities or your skills, or who would just appreciate having your around. So long as you are receptive, opportunities are abundant. Being prepared allows to you get the most from opportunities, giving you the best chance that the newly opened door will lead you somewhere. Continue reading

Travel Skills: How to Barter

This fellow got these new kicks for about $14. Down from $34.

For a foreigner in another country, the idea of bargaining for decent prices for everything from food and basic needs to transportation may not be easy one to swallow. We are used to clearly labeled, fixed prices on all of our products and services, and so westerners often have little skill in negotiating prices with street vendors. Additionally, locals are savvy to this and have an eye for easy prey. It is often impossible to hide one’s foreign origins in places like Africa, south east Asia, and South America, and shop owners, taxi drivers, guides, and money changers are only too happy to help serve a foreigner since it often leads to an extra buck or two. With persistence and practice, a traveler can become learned in the ways of petty dealings. Below is some simple advice to help travelers in their bargaining adventures. Continue reading