People are already in a holiday mood. It's 4:30 am and they are waiting for their flights with a couple of pints of lager already in them and a pint in front of them. Their destination - Ibiza or Amsterdam or Vienna, and it wouldn't surprise me if they needed help getting on the plane or off it. I, on the other hand, am drinking strong coffee to stay awake and going through a project document that I need to give feedback on when I reach my destination some 9 hours (of flight) away. Nonetheless, I'm also thinking about enjoying a cold beer with some local meat (sorry veggies!) when I get there at night before crashing. The early-morning news on the ITV is reporting Labour's defeat in the local elections and the likelihood of Ken Livingstone's defeat in London Mayoral election (and as I write these lines, he has lost to Boris Johnson).
The "random" check!
How "random" is the "random security checks" at the airport? I was left to wonder this as I passed through the security checks at the UK airport where I was starting my journey to Uganda from. I was pulled out for the "random security check" - "just the usual random check, sir" said the guy who pulled me for the search. I look around to see 100+ whites and no other coloured skins except myself. All the security staff around were also whites, surprising to me given the fact that its located in an area where whites are probably in the minority. I usually don't think about these things, knowing how much pressure these security people at the airports are under, but this time I just couldn't. How do they decide who to pull out for their "random" search. Obviously, I was the odd one out at this instance so it probably made it easier for this guy to decide - but then that’s not random. What were the chances that I, with my brown skin, would be that "randomly selected person" among more than 100 whites? Even if we forget about the colour of our skins, I didn't see anyone being pulled out before me, and I was in that line for nearly 20 minutes, nor did I see anyone pulled out after me (I was deliberately hanging around to see this time, and no one was pulled out for the "random" check for at least 5 minutes, at which time I decided to leave!). It was obviously clear that the "random security check" was in fact not "random". Hypocrites!!!
Flight, arrival, and the cold beer
About two hours of transit in Amsterdam wasn't too bad - a few rounds of the duty free stores to check the latest gadgets, and a couple of coffees and the two hours gone. Managed to sleep a bit, watched "Rush Hour 3", and read FT over the 7+ hours of flight. Getting through Uganda immigration at the airport was surprisingly smooth. The officer at the desk asks me how are things in Nepal - I say "I think things are relatively well". He says - "you think?". I say "I haven't been back for almost two years, so I can't say for sure as I haven't seen things myself". We both smile and he hands me my passport. Even the taxi drivers outside are very polite. If it were an airport in West Africa, I would have been dragged by two three taxi drivers as soon as I got out.
Oh, I did enjoy that cold beer and local meat last night - and had a great sleep after. Its Saturday and at 9:00 am I am the first guest to come down for breakfast apparently. Not surprised for most seemed to be partying till late last night (probably till the early morning!). I wanted to have some millet porridge for breakfast but of course it wasn't served at the hotel, so I had to settle for the usual English breakfast. No worries however, I'm off to the villages tomorrow (or the day after - yet to be decided) so will have many mornings to enjoy millet porridge for the breakfast!
Must mention, the wireless internet at the hotel works surprisingly well. Wasn't expecting to be online and blogging so soon after arriving here! No photographs taken yet though - arrived at night and yet to venture out to explore Kampala!