Lake Mbura Tues April 26

Monday Jim and I went for a long walk past lots of businesses in the area, and I bought EVERYTHING on the list! (and a few more impulse buys, like a shirt, gum, Stony ginger beer, etc.) The big surprise was finding a microphone cable, since one of mine had disappeared in the comings and goings from the safari truck. We had asked at about 10 places and everyone told us to go downtown, but then Jim spotted a guy with a pile of cables moving large speakers, and it turned out he had one to sell. I paid about $10 for it, which was well worth it since it could have been a huge project to find one otherwise. You can’t just google audio equipment in Kampala.

I have been doing short sessions for the Stawa class at 5pm, on electronic music.

Tuesday morning Larry drove us west toward Lake Mbura. I saw green papyrus puffballs. At a gas station Jim made friends with the female employee, who shook my hand before we left. Shops you see by the road are often the most primitive structures, corrugated tin roof and clay or brick walls, with the most sophisticated technology inside: cell phones, videography services. Cows were sleeping on the median grass in one place.

We stopped near Mpabire to check out the drum makes by the road, who give demos of drum construction, and sell very reasonably priced drums of wood and cow hide. I bought 4, that had different sounds, for around $50.
We passed the equator and took pix with our each food in a different hemisphere. I paid 200 UGX to a boy to use the restroom and bought some things. Now in the southern hemisphere for the first time, there was a lot of road contruction to widen the road. I had the Uganda version of MacDonalds (in my case roasted chicken on a stick, and roasted bananas) which was stuck in the window along with many other possibilities. It tasted excellent. You can also get corn (roasted, slightly smoky, dry and substantial, which is a really good snack), beef, pork or chapati this way. It’s cheap, healthy and good. You grab what you want, and pay a minimal amount. The bananas here are amazingly good, roasted or raw. They have so much flavor: tart and sweet at the same time, and a fuller texture than in the US. The little ones are also extremely good and sweet. The matoke green staple bananas are not sweet, but they are good with beans.

The wide road turned into a narrower road, and we made a left turn (south)
to Lake Mbura. It was a long hard road with many animals — my first view of zebras in the wild! IT was a wonderful drive with many wart hogs, water buffalo, antelope, especially impala. Waterbuck and babboons were in the distance. We had a slowly cooked dinner by the lake, unable to help a British group with car trouble as neither of us had jumper cables. The great-tasting fish with chips took over an hour to cook. I photographed a monkey by the kitchen, heard a hippo in the water, and recorded warthog snorts and bird song. We found a magic place on no trail, on one of the recording sessions, a pond with many birds and lots of sunlight. Another beautiful Ugandan park.

At one point a bunch of cattle had gotten into the park, and a herder was trying to get them out as he was in trouble for it with the Uganda Wildlife Authority. So there were 100 cows with horns on the road in front of us, meaning another great recording session.

On the way to the hotel at night we saw a leopard briefly on the road! He ran away quickly. My first wild cat sighting. The hotel was pretty nice. I heard howling dogs or coyotes, but I was too tired to record.

About marahelmuth

Composer / researcher specializing in computer music, professor at CCM, at the University of Cincinnati. Embarking on a trip to Uganda April 13, 2011. I will be working with Teach and Tour Sojourners, who arrange tours in the parks and reserves and lectures at universities. On the tours I'll be recording wildlife sound and video, to be used in future compositions.
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