she is your girl

but sometimes you wonder

you think, “Do I really know her?”

the movies tell you that your girl

will do this, that and that

but your girl doesn’t

she’s not the girl in the Cosmo mag

nor the type that your boys last dated

your girl is your girl

the one you choose each morning you rise

your girl is not an open book

she’s your favourite arcade game

you’ve never reached the highest level

probably never will

but you’ll always keep trying

kinda

it depends on the day

but most times, you still want to play

your girl is that epic adventure

your odyssey

that you probably never want to end

 and how could it

when everyday there’s something

something new she’s showing

telling and saying

she’s that familiar unknown

it’s why she is

your girl

I didn’t get on the podcast train as early as some people did. I stumbled upon my first when I was looking for audiobooks and audio discussions to listen to during commutes or when I’m too tired to watch anything on a screen. I got so into Startup that I decided podcasts were a thing I needed in my life. They are very convenient for me so I listen to ALT’s Vogue podcast, the regular IMF and China-Africa Project ones as well as my biggest interest – always trying out black-hosted or African-based podcasts. A bunch of entertaining ones have cropped out of Uganda these past few months so I thought it was time to have them listed somewhere for easy finding. PS: This is not a review in any way of these podcasts. That will be for way later on. For now, it’s only a #DidYouKnow post. If you’ve been listening to any others that aren’t listed below, please feel free to comment with the link and I’ll include it. Also, let me know, what are your favourites? What would you like a podcast on?

Happy listening!

 

ACTIVE

Conversations With Kylie

This is a lifestyle podcast hosted by Kylie Namugga where she discusses a wide range of topics of interest to pretty much everyone. Seriously. Kylie (her voice too) appeals to both sexes, young and middle-aged alike. She’s usually joined by a couple of her friends, so much so that sometimes you feel like there’s group inside jokes you’re getting initiated to as you listen in. But it’s alright cause the stuff that comes up during these episodes is what makes it really cool. It’s like tapping the conversation of the cool inner circle and finding out that sometimes, you don’t have to be of the same opinion to be friends.

 

The Opinionated Stooges With A Playlist

First of all, I love the name and the time that was taken into designing the graphics for this podcast. The stooges are 3 guys in uni (as of August 2016) with an opinion on a lot of things but mostly film, TV and music. The podcast is hosted by Kevin Abuka, Wadda Moses and Odong Samuel, with regular visitors to switch things up. I’d recommend this for anyone heavily invested in appreciating music and television, you’ll definitely learn something new each episode and maybe even discover kindred spirits. Also did I mention, they are funny as hell?

 

Touch The Dial

I’m not sure how to explain Touch The Dial just yet. I think Duncan Ngabirano (aka ThaDropout) is still figuring that out still. Or maybe not. I first discovered this channel when ThaDropout was hosting an audio series with Caroline Ampaire called Break The Ice. I liked listening but updates weren’t regular. Right now, TTD is the home for the all-new (and refreshingly short) music show: SessionOne. It’s everything you want it to be with guest musicians and good Ugandan music conversation. Hoping it keeps true to its word – “Before The Mainstream. Beyond The Mainstream.

 

NEWS-STYLE

Daily Monitor

No need for an introduction. It’s the Daily Monitor. The podcasts cover everything from Parliamentary week round-ups, one-minute news-bites to full reporting and audio interviews.

 

Africa Centre For Media Excellence

ACME is a Kampala-based independent organisation that aims to make the media a more effective platform for the provision of information on public affairs. The podcasts are in the form of news, programs and documentaries from participants in ACME‘s journalism training seminars and workshops.

 

DISCONTINUED

Random Chaps

Forever funny guy Ernest Bazanye once had a really great podcast with Rudende Moses aka Rudy of XFM. The episodes were the ultimate joke destination to hear about current affairs and anything really with a twist. If you ever read this, Baz & Rudy, PLLLLEEAAASSSSSEEEEE do come back to the scene. The sound and mixing was clean, and I’m sure it’s not just me that still plays some of these even in 2016. The episodes are short, concise and again, hilarious! Check it out!

¿Qué Pasa? is a question in Spanish, a kinda greeting to say What’s Up? But, it’s also a new-ish restaurant in Kampala (at least according Kampala Restaurant Awards). I’ve been there twice and I’ve had such vastly different experiences each time that I told my friend Leticia I’d never go back. But maybe I was overreacting and will go back, they do say Three’s The Charm after all.

See Que Pasa is a Mexican Restaurant, the only one of its kind in Kampala that I knew of during my summer this year (now after some research and yada-yada, I know that The Little Donkey and Lotus Mexican Cantina also exist). I only even found it because as I’ve said lots of times before, I am in Acacia area A helluva LOT. We saw it across the road, and I said we need to try it because I didn’t know Kampala had Mexican places. That alone should tell you exactly how much of a failed foodie I am! Haha.

We get into the restaurant and I’m delighted by how much work was put into getting the whole Mexican theme going. It reminded me of this little place in Jing’An, Shanghai. The decor’s not really the same, but it inspired hope in me I guess. The waiter that seats us is friendly and welcoming. I encourage my friend to try out a Mexican dish, but they’re reluctant and would rather stick to a “safe” choice. I don’t know what about fish at a restaurant sounds safe but the meal did turn out great, with popping avocado, and fries on the side. I chose the chicken fajitas and I thought that was the safe choice! If only…

 

 

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t terrible. It’s just that for a Mexican place, the meal was underwhelming. I had figured they couldn’t get it wrong with basic tortillas and a kinda stir-fry. But that tortilla was so dry it almost bordered on Indian chapati (Indian chapati is harder and drier than the East African version which is more like paratha). I ate most of it, and the waiter only noticed that I din’t touch the cheese. I might or might not have made a comment on the texture of the tortillas. Not sure.

What I do remember is asking to see the drinks menu, and exclaiming rather loudly that “What good is a Mexican restaurant without sangria?” Yep, there wasn’t any sangria on their menu, the waiter didn’t even know what it was. I let it pass. (And yes, I know Sangria is Spanish…buttttt!)

 

 

What I didn’t let pass though was my shock at the quality of the meal the next time I showed up with another friend. It was dinner this time. The place was close to empty, as seemed to be the norm. Yet, our waiter didn’t seem to be hell-bent on being at our beck and call. In fact, she got off work (presumably her shift was done) halfway through our meal. I didn’t know that was a thing. We’d ordered the Fillet of Fish again (is fish really a safe dish, though?) and passed on the Mexican in favour of Southern Fried Chicken. And a glass of house red. Why is there still no sangria?!

Well, the chicken was passable, the fries were the best part of the dish. The fish (and accompaniments) looked nothing like the one my other friend had gotten during the lunch. I was confused…did the menu have more than one fish dish? It looked different, and it tasted spoilt when I took a bite. The lemon wedge didn’t help. The meal was entirely inedible!

With my recent tooth extraction, it was too difficult for me to eat crunchy, breaded fried chicken. So I look around for our waitress to send back the fish, and she’s gone! Another one approaches, and lets us know she’ll help instead. I point to the plate and ask why they gave us old, or even spoilt fish. She carries the plate away to the kitchen, and returns FIVE minutes later to let us know that it isn’t in fact spoilt. Sure! In a sympathising tone, she tells me that the fish only tastes strange to me because it isn’t the Tilapia I’m used to. See, they use Nile Perch and a selection of seasonings that I’m not used to because it’s a foreign dish. Yes, they’ve had customers complain about it, but that’s only because it’s different. Except, I have eaten Nile Perch before, and I’m not too sure that was the problem. Also, I have eaten Mexican food an uncountable number of times. The main reason I didn’t even order a typical Mexican dish that night was because the first one wasn’t good enough! So what exactly was she saying? Was spoilt fish a Mexican delicacy they enjoyed at Que Pasa that I was new to?

That night, I got no replacement for the plate she took to the kitchen and never brought back, we got no apology for the taste of the meal nor was there any effort taken to try to make our meal worth it after the mishap. Heck, even our original waitress left early! So you can see where my reluctance to step foot again in Que Pasa stems from. I won’t be going back. Not for a while anyway.

And yet, I still have hope for it. It’s a quaint idea and it’s in the perfect location. But unless they are going to put more effort in their main meals, I’d say they’d do much better being a drinks bar. With tapas to eat and a wider range of drinks i.e please get sangria, pisco and more South American drinks on that menu! Maybe then, I’ll pass by for drinks one day in like 2 years.

SEE THE MENU BELOW

menu_1 menu_2 drinks_2 drinks_1

QUE PASA MEXICAN CANTINA

21 Cooper Road Kisementi

+256 783 874469

www.facebook.com/quepasakampala

Dear reader,

If like me you share in this crippling affliction that is a lack of sense of direction, then you might understand why I find it hard to locate St. Anthony Restaurant whenever I want to go to it.

First of all, the one-way traffic maze that is Buganda Road, Lumumba Avenue and all those other Nakasero roads has never worked in my favour. After all these years growing up in Kampala, everyone that I know that can drive still gets these roads messed up! To make matters worse, it feels (to me at least) like establishments in this area keep changing location within the same neighbourhood. Don’t answer my questions if I’m wrong, but has Case Clinic always been in that exact spot? What about St Anthony? Please tell me they moved ko so that I can justify the confusion I always feel when I’m in the area?

Anyway, regardless of how difficult it is to locate St Anthony, I created several little mind guides for me to find it when I need to. (Disclaimer: Most of these are walking routes. I only just got my driver’s license after all.)

“Why go through the trouble?”

st anthony food

Who wouldn’t go through the trouble?

st anthony food

Yeah. I heard the question, loud and clear. I bother because eating at St. Anthony is just like eating your grandmother’s food on Christmas. If your jajja is a good cook, that is.It’s a worthy nomination for the 2015 Kampala Restaurant Awards for best Ugandan cuisine. My family and I have been going to St. Anthony’s since the early 2000s. I can’t tell you when, but I can say that I don’t remember it never being there. Sunday lunch after church, social lunch gathering with bazungu visiting Uganda, Christmas lunch, public holiday lunch welcome trip from the airport, last meal before a flight out, luwombo craving sneak-in. I’ve done it all a few times.

So while I can’t recommend which dishes you should have at St Anthony (get everything if you can), I can make it a little easier to find. I bet you won’t finish that food! I bet you’ll feel like you can’t eat for another decade! I bet you’ll want to go back! I bet you’ll leave with faces like ours!

st anthony food

So here’s a few directions you can follow to get to Ugandan food heaven. Thank me later.

♥ – MA

ROUTE 1: DRIVING/WALKING FROM OUTBOX, SOLIZ HOUSE

ROUTE 2: WALKING FROM WATOTO CHURCH

ST ANTHONY RESTAURANT

22 Lumumba Avenue

Next to Piato in Nakasero

+ (256) 772 619 076

tamarai thai restaurant

Disclaimer: Nope, I am not being paid (or coerced) to talk about Tamarai.

This is the second part of what turned out to be my excessive thoughts on Tamarai Thai Restaurant. You can read part one. Or not. Here, I share what my top choices are from all of the sections. I tried to keep my selections within Asian cuisine simply because it is a Thai and/or Pan-Asian restaurant. No point eating food you could have at any of the cafes in town while there. You could though, if you so wish.

 

TAMARAI THAI RESTAURANT

Click here for the full MENU.

APPETIZERS

thai spring rolls

Spring Rolls

Both the Thai-style and Vietnamese Vegetarian options are really good

Oriental Chicken Wings

Tamarai special-flavoured wok tossed chicken wings

Two-flavour Wasabi Prawns

Fried lagoon prawns with two flavours Japanese wasabi mayonnaise, mango and papaya salad

SALADS

som tum

Som Tum (with Vegs or Shrimp)

Classic raw papaya salad with crushed peanuts and a sweet and sour finish

CURRY

thai curry

Thai Green Curry with Chicken

A classical Thai Green Curry with coconut milk, Pea Brinjal, fresh Thai Basil, galangal and green chilli

Thai Masman Curry with Chicken (or Beef)

Tangy Thai curry-flavoured with coconut cream, baby potatoes, and cinnamon

SOUPS

tom yum kung

Tom Yum with Prawn

Spicy and Sour clear soup made from the stock of fresh lemon grass, galangal and kaffir lime

Tom Kha Kai

Traditional Thai chicken soup with coconut milk, lemongrass, and galangal

STIR-FRY

nasi goreng indonesian fried rice

Stir-fried Sam Ros Sauce

Deep fried veg/meat in a three-flavoured sauce of sweet basil, pineapple, and chilli

Manchurian Sauce

Stir fried veg/meat in a blend of garlic, coriander, ginger, onions and green chilli

Nasi Goreng (with chicken/prawn)

Spicy Indonesian fried rice served with Satay, prawn crackers and topped with a fried egg

Crispy Chicken & Yellow Curry

Breaded chicken breast topped with yellow curry served with rice & a fresh garden salad

RICE & NOODLES

phad thai

Phad Thai (with Prawns)

 Flat rice noodles with tamarind sauce, bean curd and shitake mushrooms

Khao Suay

 Traditional Thai Jasmine rice. The. Best. Smell. Ever.

DESSERTS

mango sticky rice

Mango Sticky Rice

aka my All-Time Favourite Dessert

Traditional Thai Sticky Rice topped with Coconut Milk and Mango

Indonesian Fried Banana

Deep fried battered banana served with choice of Ice Cream

 

Most of my choices range from mild to really hot, so do talk to the waiter as you order to make sure the chef makes the meal as per your preference.

 

TAMARAI THAI RESTAURANT

Click here for the MENU.

www.tamaraithai.co.ug

No. 14 Terrace Rd

Lower Kololo, Kampala

+256 755 794 960/58

twitter.com/tamaraithai

facebook.com/TamaraiRestaurant

Over there, yes those ones

The white women taking a picture

Of the falls, merry and all

Yes, they made me come here

Dragged me, to be honest

I still don’t know how to feel

Embarrassed or indifferent

That I know less of my land

Than the foreigners, the visitors

That I don’t marvel in the beauty

God-given and a-plenty

That I take it for granted

My ignorance, my disregard

I still don’t know how to feel

But I’m here, glad I came

And maybe, maybe just one day

I’ll be the one showing our beauty

To other white ones, and their kin.

#nkima

The old adage ‘We make plans and God laughs’ made so much sense to me on Sunday. And this time God wasn’t chuckling. He had that table hitting, tummy hurting, rolling on the floor kind of laugh at our plans to go to Kidepo Valley National Park. As you’ve probably imagined, this is about how nothing went according to plan.

Wait, what was the plan?
It was a solid plan. A plan that took one year to make. The group in Kotido was to meet the group of Kaabong and off we’d go to Kidepo Valley National Park. The plan was to camp at the camping site in the park. The plan was to have an early morning game drive, after all when else will you see the lions or the leopards for that matter? The plan was to take lots selfies and have the following hashtags #Kidepo #camping #excursion #mycoberssiteisbetterthanyours #Karamoja #funtimes…. I get carried away really easily when it comes to hashtags. However that was the plan. It was a solid plan, if I say so myself.
 
So, what went wrong?
Everything!!! Read the plan we had?  Now read it again. Nothing went according to plan. And when I say nothing I mean zero. Nought. Zéro. The plan started crumbling on Saturday. The Kotido group that was supposed to be in Kaabong by 3:30pm latest, arrived at 10:30 pm. It had rained so heavily on Saturday that the roads were almost impassable. I was told that on their way to Kaabong, the car got stuck on a seasonal river that had obviously started flowing and they had to push it out of the river. All this in the night. So the camping plan? It became a sleepover plan. However, we still wanted to catch the early morning game drive so we planned to leave our residence at 0400 hours. I was so excited I only slept for two hours! No kidding!! That 0400 hours plan? Yeah it didn’t work either. I tend to hate the phrase ‘African time’ because I try as much as possible to make sure it’s not applicable as regards to me but you know Africans and our pathetic time keeping? Eventually, we set off at 0430 hours. It was a smooth journey for only 25 minutes. Then, the  car just stopped. I really wish I could give you details but I’m lousy at car things. What I do know though is that we were stuck for 15 minutes in the dark in the middle of nowhere. Whatever it was that was wrong was fixed and our journey continued on, not too smoothly though. There were a few times we skidded off the road but got back on track. The third time we skidded, we weren’t too lucky. We drove right into a puddle and just like that, we were stuck! 
 
The sun was hardly up when we got stuck.
 
When photos were part of the plan you take them no matter what!!
It’s all fun and games till you see steam coming out of your car. This is what people who know about cars call ‘heating up’ I hear.
We were  told we were in a place called Kapedo that was only 7kms from the national park. Imagine being so close to your destination and yet so far. There was no Airtel network and MTN could only manage one bar of signal. I honestly have never felt so clueless and helpless about a situation. Right about this time we were holding on to the hope of a Good Samaritan. And as luck would have it a soldier passed by and promised to get us a tractor that’d pull us out. That was at 0800 hours and we’d been there for one hour. However, two and a half hours later there was still no sign of a tractor and still not one car had passed by us.
The place is beautiful though. And yes, this is still Karamoja.
1100 hours had better luck though. Some people on their journey to we don’t know where helped us out after reprimanding us for not being well equipped with spades and shovels. Spades and shovels!! They pulled our car out of the mud. And right after doing so the tractor came. That tractor reminds me a little of how in the movies the policemen show up right after all the hard crime-fighting work has been done.
 Pulling the car out of the mud. Yes people, these are the roads that have been making news all week long.
When the car was brought out, we realised that the hose pipe had been damaged and definitely required repairing. There was no one in sight and our Good Samaritans had left. All our energies were then directed to fixing the car. We eventually called the national park to send engineers to help us out. At this point time we were all hungry. We’d gone through so many phases of hunger, even nausea that the only option left was sleep. I think I need to describe this hunger better. You see because we wanted to catch the morning drive so badly we went without breakfast. We had packed a few daddies and biscuits that we finished way before the car stopped the first time. It was hours since our last real meal. While people were debating on whether to turn back to Kaabong town or to continue to Kidepo when the car was fixed, my stand remained the same ‘whichever got me food fastest’. And as though that wasn’t bad enough, the clouds were turning dark which basically meant that if it rained, the roads would be worse than they already were which would mean that we’d have to remain in Kapedo hungry and all alone.
My ‘I’m hungry, get me food now!’ Selfie.
So many cars past us by afterwards: NGO cars, personal cars, inquiring about the situation but nobody really helping. There is one car that passed by us that I remember vividly about. It was a sleek black car with a government registration number. I didn’t get to see who was in but just like the rest, he inquired and went on his way. The same car did pass by again about two hours later, however, by this time, the park engineers had already come. This time though I recognised him. He stopped to greet us and it was the Minister of Ethics and Integrity: Hon. Fr. Lokodo Simon in the flesh without any security detail. He did speak to us and he was really kind. He apologised for not thinking to bring us food. Apparently he didn’t expect to find us again, still stuck. So you can imagine his surprise when he passed by the third time and found the same fatigued faces of stranded university students he’d left behind with a messed up car that was still being fixed. He immediately ordered the one of the park officials to be drive us to the park in one of the pick up trucks the engineers had come with. So yes if you did see a bunch of overly excited uni students at the back of a pick up in the news that was us. I have never seen people so excited to be on a pick up truck. And as we were being driven to the park, I saw the sky change, it was clearing and at that point, I knew in my heart that our luck was changing.
How many times do you get too sit at the back of a pick up truck and be this happy about it? No seriously, how many?
 
Yes, it was a real pick up truck!
 
Denis!! No one beats him at being optimistic. No one!! 

The ride was a lot of bumpy it was so much fun. The entire experience of being stuck for over eight hours taught me a lot about myself and also about many of my friends. Like how Denis is literally the hope of hopes and me? I need food to survive. I learnt that about me. When we eventually did reach Kidepo Valley National Park, we forgot our fatigue, our hunger and our troubles. We had finally made it!!
I’d definitely love to continue, however, recounting the events has gotten me fatigued. Another day maybe?