Ssese Islands are a group of islands that are on the Lake Victoria. I went there over Easter weekend with 2 of the lodgers from the guesthouse, Els and Debby, Belgians. We are meeting a couple other Belgians who are working in Rwanda and in Kassese, Uganda. We took the taxi to Entebbe for a 3.5 hr of ferry ride to Buggala Isalnd. Halfway through our taxi ride, we were told to get on another one because the one we were on had problems. Once we got off, we watched the taxi turned around to pick up other passengers to go back to Kampala. What bullocks! Anyways, the ferry was very crowded. It fit 9 cars and about 100+ people. Unless you were got on early to get inside seats in the cabin, everyone else is outside under the equatorial sun. Silly me, being not out in the sun for so long, I definitely got sunburn on my arms that were exposed by my 3/4 sleeves shirts. I was holding my bag in one position for only about 20min and got burn. So quick.
We stayed at Ssese Island Beach Hotel. It included food and lodging for what we paid. The room was small but still able to fit 3 beds, small vanity, closet and bathroom. It’s not new, clean and grogeous resort like back in the states but it’s very good for African standard. I was impressed. Power is solar powered during the day and by generator from 7:30pm to about midnight. The atmosphere is very camp like. Dinner is around a bonfire, which spread warmth, light and keep the bugs away and the owners ate with us as well. At this time, really miss S’mores. After dinner, we all sat around just chatting and having drinks. A great way to meet some random people.
We were served lots of Ugandan food. It was simple but very yummy. I guess it’s more of different flavors. Matoke - mashed banana steamed in banana leaves and served with peanut sauce. It’s sounds weird but it’s actually good. Other food served were fish fillet, mixed veggies with cinnamon, meat skewers. I found out that meat = beef. Chicken, fish, pork, goat and mutton are called by their own names. How bizarre. Someone even told me that chicken and fish are not considered meat. We also had fish and chips. For that, I thought it was fried fish fillet but they actually served the whole fish, head, tail and bone. Got plenty of my favorite food, fish. Also tried some of the native beer. Tusker - light and taste better than the ones in the states so far. Wished there are some that taste like it at home
Since I went with group of Belgians, they spoke mostly Dutch and French among themselves. I also learned a bit about Belgium as well. It was very enlightening for me. When they didn’t speak English, I didn’t know what they are talking about but it’s not unusual for me. After being in Newark for the last 2 years, it became a norm for me to need translator all the time to just talk to patients.
It was a good relaxing first weekend. I didn’t do much, just read, sleep, play games and get to know people and their countries. We played Bang!, Shithead, Worms, Jenga Speed and Solo (Uno). I haven’t play that much games since I was a kid. Good times and memories.
The weather there was raining every morning till lunch, so we just sat around chatting and playing games. The sun would come out in the afternoon. During the afternoon, we would either sit out and enjoy the sun, beach or if we dare, the water. Lake Victoria is notorious for Bilharzia. One afternoon, we took a hike up to the village Kalangala. The village is like any other village/town. A couple of shops, restaurants and public buildings like schools and churches.
We took the ferry back on Mon at 8am. The ferry left early because it started pouring. We asked the Captain later why. He said if he didn’t, there would be too many people on the ferry and there would be actual injuries from all the pushing and shoving to try to stay dry. Even then, we were all still packed like sardines. The cabin wasn’t very big and not very well circulated. I chose to stay outside under the overhang for coverage since I figured fresh air is better than me being sick and nauseous for the 3.5 hr ride. I didn’t completely drenched but still got somewhat soaked. It was chilly due the wind and being wet, but there were some dry spots. Overall it was a good trip.