Sunday, December 15, 2013

The End and Beginning of an Era

For the last thirteen months I've proudly told friends, family, and visitors that Uganda doesn't have any U.S brands.  Unlike KSA, where every other restaurant was a TGIF or Fuddrucker's or McDonald's, here is different.  There are a few South African and Kenyan brands, but even the Nando's is fake.

I've thought this kind of cool - definitely the first place I've ever lived where this is the case.  So when we heard that a KFC was opening up in the new mall near me, it was a mixed reaction.  Sad that I can't say there are no U.S. brands here anymore while exhilarated at the thought of being able to sate any fast food cravings easily (despite the fact that I cannot even remember the last time I had KFC).

So the restaurant opened this past Monday.  Yesterday a few friends and I ventured there to get take out for dinner.  We were impressed.  While it was crowded, the staff were smiling and attentive, repeating back the order and moving efficiently through the queue.  We waited a while for our orders, but everyone there was in a jovial mood, so we had a good time talking with our new friends about Kampala's newest restaurant.

We finally received our orders (all correct on the first try) and headed home to feast while we watched British holiday classics.  The chicken was familiar and fresh, the coleslaw reminiscent of little styrofoam cups from U.S. KFCs, and the mashed potatoes and gravy just as we remembered.

I probably won't frequent KFC here, but it's nice to know I can.  Welcome, U.S. brands, to your newest market.

Zanzibar - Days 4-5

We had lofty plans for our two full days at the beach resort - diving, snorkeling with dolphins, walking out to the reef, etc.  In reality, we spent two days doing what is a luxurious thing to do at the beach - nothing.  The diving was super expensive, the dolphin trip left too early in the morning, we made it halfway out to the reef before the sun was too intense, excuses, excuses.

But, really, it was lovely.  Leisurely breakfast, quick dip in the pool, read for a while, spend high tide in the ocean, read, lunch brought right to the loungers, wading in the ocean, dip in the pool, reading, nap, massage, sunset on the terrace, then a lovely dinner.  Rinse, repeat. 

The ocean was the perfect temperature during high tide - not bath water, but not cold - and a bit too hot at low tide.  High tide meant the water would come to your waist; low tide was ankles to knees.  Both, for almost as far as you could walk.

The weather was hot and humid but the resort truly lived up to its name - Breezes - and we enjoyed cool ocean breezes almost everywhere, making it tolerable to sit outside. 

In true relaxation fashion I didn't take any photos until the last morning when it was hazy and overcast and my camera fogged up from the humidity and didn't ever recover in time.  So here are a few photos, but the outside ones don't do justice to the beauty of the setting.

My room

The French doors have a beautiful view out to the ocean

Spice table - cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom

Hazy view from my terrace