I’ve received a few comments about the first entry in my #RwenzoriDiary, including “you go, I’ll meet you back at the bottom!” Irena has been giving me tips on how to avoid blisters. (Hell, had completely forgotten to factor those into the equation). There were more sobering thoughts from my friend Harriet: she said that when she climbed the Rwenzoris, they almost had to bring her down in a stretcher after two days! (I need to find out why). Jesus, another Hasher friend (pictured in last week’s #RwenzoriDiary) warns me against frostbite… but he is interested in climbing with me. Yay! (I’ll have to ask him to keep me warm then! lol). On our field trip, I read a great account of the German Ambassador’s climb to Margherita Peak. I think I’d like to meet him and find out more about his preparations.
One of my main sources of information for my Rwenzori attempt is Andrew Roberts, a key member of our project team. Andy is best known for being the co-editor of Bradt Uganda, the definitive travel guidebook for tourists, and creator of Uganda’s most popular tourist maps.
Andy is an expert on the Rwenzori region (and everywhere else in Uganda!) He is a mine of information, with a fact, observation, map and guidebook ready for every question we asked of him. If you’re reading this blog, you absolutely have to get a copy of the Bradt Guide. I continue to learn so much from this book (updated and republished every three years).
Our team spent the first night of our trip at the White House Hotel in Kasese. Incredibly good value. For just 40,000 Ugandan shillings (just over $10 USD), I had a spotlessly clean ensuite double room. This included breakfast: the regular omelette, sliced white bread and Blue Band option. I begged for some fruit and they rummaged around in the fridge to produce some watermelon! I like the White House Hotel. It brings back happy memories of Safari field trips with the Uganda Conservation Foundation.
“Kasese is ever hot.” Kasese is always hot. This occasion was no exception. There were few people staying at the hotel this time (although it’s frequently full of expat and NGO workers) so Andy and I stumbled through the darkness to a local pork joint. The service was laughably bad. There were two items on the menu and the waitress couldn’t remember either of them. (Interested to see what write-up that gets in the next edition of the Bradt Guide!) However, one place I would definitely recommend in Kasese is the Olimaco cafe. Luckily for Albert, the brains behind the excellent Coffee at Last cafe in Makindye, they serve a great cappuccino and service was quick. Albert is our project graphic designer and branding expert.
As for the training element of this #RwenzoriDiary, I confess, I didn’t make it to my 6 o’clock exercise class. I didn’t want to stand out in the middle of the road, in the darkness, at 5.30 in the morning hailing a random boda boda. Next time I need to pre-schedule an Uber cab. A good start today though. Actually ventured inside the gym (for the first time in a very long time) and onto the running machine. I just clicked on the start button and started walking. However, before I knew it, the machine conned me into running! It felt good, until it sped up to a running speed that I am nowhere near ready for. Still, I burnt 250 calories over approximately 40 minutes and enjoyed listening to some old running tracks. I’m feeling good. I’m feeling pumped! I attended an event at the Sheraton Kampala last night. I had knocked back my second glass of wine and munched through numerous tasty samosas and other nibbles before I remembered that endless grazing ain’t part of the programme now! I can be quite greedy, but when I’m on a training mission suddenly everything changes. Today I ate fruit salad for breakfast. What feels like denial one day makes me feel stronger another day.