The mechanic finally showed up with an assistant and got to work pronto, after several hours he declared the car fit, once again. He and Michael took it for a test drive and yes, all seemed to be well, until he wanted more payment. Michael was obviously happy to pay for all the parts Mugisha brought, but not for anything else, as it was due to his incompetence that had caused us all the hassle, waiting around and the extra costs this incurred, so, for another hour neither would budge. The assistant and myself sat around twiddling our thumbs, until a deal was struck, although Mugisha definately got the better part of the deal. Michael wasn’t happy paying for 3 litres of oil that had never been put in or the state of the brakes, which he was supposed to have fixed……..won’t be reccomending him then. No we bloody well won’t says M
Left Masindi the following morning, judder-free.
A long, hot day on the road,Kenya bound, driving through the towns of Lira and Soroti, until reaching Mbale quite late. Arrived at The Landmark Inn, as we’d read this is where the Indian Ambassador comes to dine when out East, as the curries are simply the best. The building itself, a vast collonial style house, that obviously hasn’t ever been updated in any shape or form, for obvious reasons this is good and bad thing! The lady of the house kindly let us camp in the grounds,which were deliously fragrant and after settling in and attempting a shower in one of the three rooms,the fact there was no water to speak of hardly mattered, as the overwhelming urge for a good curry took over!
Seated in the rather bizarrely decorated restaurant, whilst the boss watched “Slumdog millionaire” on the huge TV and having probably ordered far too much, as you do, piles of crispy Chicken tikka, perfectly cooked, melt in the mouth butter naan, Jalfrezi and a mountain of spiced pilau vegetable rice arrived, we had died and gone to heaven and managed to pig the whole lot,total gluttony, but so good we couldn’t stop eating! This had to be the best tip wev’e had the pleasure of reading in one of the guide books and would throughly recommend it to anyone else with a love of Indian food.
You might want to choose some other form of accomodation however, because although the guide book states it’s” nicely shabby”, we would like to add that it’s in fact NOT very nicely shabby at al its terrible from the room we saw, but it was great for camping in the grounds under the enormous Mahogany trees, with several Ross’s Turacao to admire(such a name dropper) and believe you me, after all that curry it was the best place for us to be!!
Next day crossed the border from Uganda into Western Kenya. Would have been an easy and relaxed crossing had it not been for the enormous queue at the immigration office, which went around the block. This wasn’t helped either by a young corrupt policeman taking bribes from people trying to jump the queue Good news was the lady behind the counter was not happy and refused to deal with them then another guy on thats side told them to bugger off and join the queue like everyone else . We sweltered in the heat patiently, until our turn came, had our fingerprints done, paid our $50 each for visa’s got the car stamped in……..sorted.
Made our way to Eldoret, it was a Saturday afternoon when we arrived and fairly manic, the crazy driving hasn’t improved in Kenya, if anything slightly worse. At the bank, the machine claimed it gave us some money, but didn’t actually spit any out, the bank typically had shut. we moved on to the garage, where they had no power, which meant the pumps weren’t working,we gave up there too. Managed to buy a new Sim card for the phone and stocked up in the rather nice Nakumatt supermarket (fresh milk and proper cheese)
Camped outside town at the pleasant Naiberi camp next to a fast flowing stream, everyone extremely friendly to us and interested in our journey. Fred bought us charcoal so we could have a little brai. Very cold at night as nearly as high as on Nyika in Malawi,but we got out the thick Tanzanian rug we’d bought and all was quite cosy.
Monday morning went back to Eldoret and Barclays bank to sort out money issue, only to be told, “number one always does this” that’s handy then, anyway they told us it should be back in our account. Then another half hour session with the Forex girl who simply couldn’t count, drove Michael nuts.