Monday, 16 March 2009

A home away from home!!

It was a busy past few days for us in Kampala. We found a flat for a few days so I’ll tell ye about the craic with that!…..

The title by the way “a home away from home” is the motto of almost every hotel, lodge, guesthouse and restaurant in Kampala. I don’t know if they realise this or not :)

So we got ourselves sorted with an apartment :)! Its a basic flat in the middle of the city center, but to us its like the Bellagio, compared to where we’ve stayed so far!
Its a great commodity to be able to go to a supermarket and cook for ourselves over here. Eating out takes it toll on the good old digestive system, so this change will be greatly welcomed.

We went to the tourist office here in Kampala during the week and told them our situation and that we wanted to rent an apartment for a week or ten days. So Thursday afternoon, I got a call to say come up to an estate agents office, that we were going to be showed an apartment.
So when we arrived the gentleman said that his colleague was going to come by and bring us to the apartment block. The man arrived and he was an old man of about 70+ and wore a brown suit and had a big gold cross hanging down from his neck. He was really nice and informed us that he “knows” the people who own this apartment blocks. At first we assumed that he was a priest. However, we’ve come to realise that people over here are only nice and friendly if they want something(well the 99% of people we’ve met anyways!), and that they are not always WHO they say they are either….
Anyways, as we are walking into the block of flats into the reception area, the man points up to the sign above the entrance which says “Makatumba Suites”. At reception, he introduces us to another man and informs him that we are volunteers in Kampala and asks him “does he have anything suitable for us”. I asked the man behind reception how much was the flat that he was going to show us, and he didn't respond…he just looked at the man who brought us there with an awkward glance! We both thought this was strange that he wouldn't tell us how much the flat was!
So up to the flat we go, while the old man waits at reception. The flat itself is basic and clean…which was more than we could have hoped for. While we were looking inside it the guys phone rang and he walked outside the apartment to take it. Immediately I knew what was going on!
So when he came back in two minutes later, I again asked him how much the flat was per night. $45 per night he quirked back. Our budget is $35 per night so I replied that that’s all we would pay. $40 he said was the lowest he could give it to us. So I said that we wouldn't be taking it. We returned back down to reception where the old man was waiting to see “if we got a nice flat sorted”! We told him that our budget was $35 per night and that we wouldn't pay anything over that. He asked the fella at reception would he “kindly speak with his employer” and see what could be done for us good people volunteering in his city! Nothing could be done the man replied.
So the old man said that he would try and find us something as we “are such good people”. He wrote down his telephone number and signed his name as “
Dr.John Makatumba”!! Ring any bells? You don’t have to be a genius to figure out what this fella was at. He was pretending to be a little old man(which is was!) who went to church all day and had nothing else to do. But in actual fact he was the owner of this block of apartments who was trying to get as much money out of us Mzungu’s as possible. Does he really think that we are that brainless that we couldn't figure out from the big sign above the entrance gates and the reception fella not been able to give us a price while he was there and then signing his name as John Makatumba!

Anyways, to make a long story short…..I’m rambling again, we left the reception with his name and number. I told Flor that we would hear from Mr.Makatumba within 20 minutes! Sure enough ten minutes later the “doc” himself rings me and says that “he has talked the owner into giving us the apartment for $35 per night”!!!
One thing people in Africa hate is losing potential business. They will try and make a sale at any cost. So getting $35 per night was better than nothing Mr.Doc rightly calculated!
So we went back to reception and kindly thanked the little man for all his help and I also said to him to “thank the owner” for agreeing to the price!!
Hahaha….he didn't look too pleased I can tell you! He knew that we knew the story!!

So I’ve included a few photo’s below of our flat in which we’ll stay in for nine or ten days until we head off to Rwanda.
We initially had no cooker/oven, only two cooking rings(as you can see from the photo’s), but I went a asked that we have an oven….as us “volunteers need to eat”! We had one ten minutes later! :)

Tomorrow I’ll fill ye in on the weekends craic, which included an early Paddy’s day celebration party.

Ciao!

1 comment:

John MacHale said...

Ah hahaha good the see the old observation powers finally coming in useful!