Goodbye Kenya. Hello Uganda

I finally escaped Kenya. I can’t believe I spent a whopping 2 1/2 months there. That’s almost as much time as I spent in China. That should tell you I really liked the place. In fact, it is my favorite country so far. If you take one trip in your life, go to Africa. Everything is so…different. Kenya has great wildlife viewing, fascinating tribal communities, varied landscapes, modern cities, mountains, beaches, and the people speak English. Oh, and the ladies love white men too. The food is not the greatest and the parks can be expensive, but overall it’s a great place, except for the odd hotel thief.

I took a bus back to Nairobi from Mombasa, stayed a few days then caught another bus west to the city of Kisumu, on Lake Victoria. From there it was only a two day ride to the Uganda border.

I passed another milestone in western Kenya. My odometer rolled over 20,000 km for the trip so far. That’s just over 12,400 miles. Not as far as I thought I would go. I guess I am enjoying too many days off.

I got my photo groove back so more photos this time. Here are some final pix of Kenya.

Reading the newspaper in Mombasa.

Waiting for the bus.

Cleaning fish by Lake Victoria.

Cardboard for sale.

I mentioned the women seem attracted to white men. I was stopped by this policewoman who immediately began flirting with me. She wanted me to take her back to the USA. I said sure, just hop on the back of my bike. Her name is Beatrice.

I also experimented with some black and white shots. Here is Beatrice again. Which looks better, color or B&W?

Here is another black and white of a girl I met in Kisumu. Unlike many Kenyans she has perfect teeth.

These two girls, aged 15, looked almost masculine with their short hair.  Many kids have short hair to keep out the lice.

Whenever I stopped people would crowd around and watch. These two women came by so I snapped this shot. The woman on the right snuck in the photo just as she was chomping on a stalk of sugar cane.

Western Kenya is Obama country. Barack Obama’s family comes from this area, which is home to many Luo tribespeople. This school in the town of Kogelo was named after him. As  you might expect he is extremely popular in Kenya.

Kids carrying water home from a well.

Two women going home from church. They did not speak English so I don’t know what denomination they were. Well, they did speak one word of English: “money.” I had to pay them for the photo.

A colorful flower.

I was taking a leak when this woman appeared and stopped to watch. What is she laughing at?

I liked the colorful dresses on these women.

Typical road in western Kenya.

Lots of sugar cane is grown in the area. I stopped in one small town to try some. The woman who sold it to me is scraping off the skin so I can chew on the stuff inside.


The crossing to Uganda was painless. After forking over $50 for a visa I was on my way. By the border were hundreds of these guys in pink shirts offering rides on their bikes, called boda bodas.

Two hours in Uganda and I stopped for a beer at a pub. These two waitresses attached themselves to me and insisted I take a photo with them. I think I will like Uganda. My only complaint:  twenty thousand kilometers and I still have a double chin???!!!

Storm clouds in eastern Uganda. I have been lucky with the weather on this trip. only a handful of rainy days. But the rainy season has started in East Africa so I expect to get wet in the next two months.

These kids ran after me shouting, “muzungu!” as I passed them so I stopped to take their photo. They shrieked in delight at seeing themselves on the camera.

I ate breakfast here one day. This guy makes chapati, a sort of fried bread tortilla, for a living.

Here is my intended route in Uganda.

Next up is a whitewater rafting tour on the Nile River. The source  of the Nile is in Uganda. I may even try bungee jumping over the Nile. Anyone ever done that?

More on Uganda, including the bloody regime of Idi Amin, next post.

9 thoughts on “Goodbye Kenya. Hello Uganda

  1. Ben Kilpela March 31, 2009 / 7:37 pm

    Nice photos, Kev. The black and white is striking and expressive. Dusty roads in Kenya? They sure look like they are. Good ol’ Mr. Amin coming up? Lots of good films about him. Nothing great, but several particularly good ones worth seeing, such as Barbet Schroeder’s 1975 documentary. He is one of our modern parables, though I sense nowadays that the young folk know him less and less.

    Kippis, Ben

  2. Kevin Koski April 1, 2009 / 4:01 pm

    Thanks Ben, I think the black and whites look better in some ways with dark skinned people.

    I have taken some back roads to avoid the traffic on the paved roads, but when the rains come, it’s a mess.

    You probably know more about Amin than I do. I saw “the Last King of Scotland” but was not too impressed. Maybe you can summarize the Schroeder film?

    By the way, you have not posted a blog entry sinec Nov. 4, 2008! Why the drought? We miss your excogitations. Some new film reviews would be appreciated too, if you have them.

  3. Capt. Don Kilpela Sr. April 1, 2009 / 5:23 pm

    Hi Kev. Finally! After about 10-11 days I start getting antsy for a blog if only to demonstrate you are well. Reading all your Kenya blogs I was getting a mixed message but this blog makes it clear of your genuine love for the place.

    I can’t wait to see you and have the opportunity to look at all your pictures; what a collection.

    The words “Idi” and “Entebbe” still strike a note of terror in my mind. Lately, here in Florida, I have read of equally ghastly deeds being inflicted by one’s fellow man. I wonder if the acts of personal violence have increased since the models set by Idi Amin, Darfurn, Rwanda, etc. As each new atrocity unfolds I find myself less affected than I was with Amin’s horror. Yet his probably pales when compared to others of greater magnitude.

    Hang in there and we’ll see you when we see you.

  4. Steve April 2, 2009 / 3:40 am

    I vote for color. We can reduce them to B&W ourselves.

  5. JoJo April 11, 2009 / 2:38 pm


    Hey cuz. It is the Saturday before Easter. We will all be convening at the Ronan’s for dinner. The folks are in Florida (as you know) and I will be heading there on the 15th for a 5 day hiatus from the U.P. Our Spring has been very cold. Maintaining in the 30’s but a lot of wind and making wind chills in the low 20’s and teens. Can’t wait to feel warm air.

    Great pictures. I agree that the B&W photo makes her look more attractive. What is it? It like B&W photos anyway.

    My one thought on how the people are so fascinated by you is there must not be too many white people there. I mean obviously, and don’t think I’m dumb (but I am about this because I know virtually nothing about Africa) but do they not see many different kinds of people? Anyway, it’s just interesting that they are so enthralled by you.

    I have to wonder what the life long effect of carrying such heavy objects on the head does to the body.

    More than ever I am convinced I need to get a nice, big Atlas….

    Thinking of you. Happy Easter. Do they celebrate it Africa?


  6. Ben Kilpela April 13, 2009 / 8:45 pm

    Hi, Kev. Yes, the energies wax and wane. I will get back to my personal blogs. The lack of response wears one down as much as too many responses (which I have never experienced myself).

    Anyway, I’ve seen some good films and some weak ones lately. An old obscure one about two French officers in the Napoleonic era, “The Duellists,” was excellent. I found the recent “Pan’s Labyrinth” to be worth seeing but a little too violent and overwrought. Spielberg’s “Munich,” about the morality of terror, which I had thought would be pretty weak fare, turned out to be pretty good, worth seeing with “Paradise Now,” which I also think highly of. “Munich” isn’t a great film, but it’s very much worthwhile. In the chick flick category, I thought very highly of Ang Lee’s “Sense and Sensibility,” which is 15 years old but a superb film. Also in the rough chick-flick area, I resaw Scorses’s “Age of Inoocence” (based one of of our greatest novels) and thought it nearly great as a film. I could go on, but that’s enough for now.

    The Schoeder film is a documentary. It has lots of genial scenes of Amin himself, but includes almost nothing about the sensational stuff, the killing and the cannibalism and the tyranny, etc. It’s hard to watch the film based on its own terms and not in light of the wider news and speculation about Amin. It focuses more on his anti-semitism, in fact, and on his dreams of greater equality and prosperity for Uganda. In those scenes, he often sounds downright enlightened. That was part of the point, I have read, the contrast between the tyranny and the quasi-liberalism of Amin. I don’t think all that highly of the film. It could have been so much better. It’s a mishmash, all in all. Far too many loose images without any sure-handed treatment of a clear theme. But it is worth seeing.

    Kippis, Ben

  7. Kevin Koski April 15, 2009 / 11:25 am

    Jo, you are correct. The people don’t see many whites so they go nuts when one appears. This is especially true in the country when I spend a lot of time. Less so in the big cities. Plus being on a bicycle makes it even more unusual.

    Yes they celebrate Easter. There are many Christians in Africa, as well as Muslims.

    Ben, I saw Pan’s Labyrinth and Munich. Both were entertaining good flicks, not great ones.

    As far as blog comments, I keep forgetting my google password so I can’t comment on your posts. I wish there was a way to track who has read the post. It would be more motivating if you knew people were reading them.

  8. August 2, 2009 / 12:22 pm

    This is a very good contribution most of the informaion is correct, i dont agree with you that most kenyans have bad teeth, i think kenyans are very beautiful and there dental formula is good, think u met very few with bad teeth, otherwise it’s a good compilation

  9. Lee August 31, 2009 / 1:10 am

    How long have you been blogging…your good at it.

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