travel rants…

The Wait
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!

15 thoughts on “travel rants…

  1. k

    why 'sorry veggies' ?
    u seem to have a misconception here. veggies don't get offended if someone miles away is filling his stomach with local meat. veggies haru PETA ko workers hoina ni

  2. D

    hmm "sorry veggies"? So, sure one or the other veggie will always be droppin in , hun? 😉 K's right on that, so a Nepali-bideshi has local meat in places never dreamt of, hamile ke garnu? Usle, masu canines le taneko imagine garna milena? And if I had been the 'random' check victim malai ta jhanakka ris uthyo! ( but tapain parnu vo, observation matra vayecha...but the act of 'observation' must have demanded lots of patience too...cuz the finding was 'baseless discrimination' to a certain extent. Hypocrite kuirez. N they go around the world with their "human right" programs! give us a break!

    nyways hope your 'random' travel shots make up for the 'random' bad experience 🙂
    Have a great trip!

  3. Mr. Witt

    Hi Mahesh, long time, no post.

    Just a brief thought to a) prove to you that i still read your blog, and b) because it popped into my head.

    They aren't hypocrites. That's the wrong word. They're MORONS. Its quite a bit different.

    Still, i don't envy you and can only guess at the level of annoyance you feel. In a similar situation, i would want to kick people in the head. Actually, in only a vaguely (very vaguely) similar vein, here is an annoying story about me being, i believe, mischaracterized based on my appearance (well, gender, in this case):

    Now being the father of 2 (and NOT counting - that has been taken care of) children, i find i am much more interested in kids. Never cared for them when i didn't have any, and mine are still VASTLY more interesting than any others, but i like kids, and like to communicate with them. Often this seems to be in the lineup at the grocer. Its one of the times where kids and adults alike are bored, and kids, being guileless(?is that right?) will turn about and interact with whoever is behind you.

    Well, no scientific data collection here, keep in mind, but if you are a male (does it matter that i am my age and size/appearance? probably.) and begin chatting with the young girl in the cart ahead of you... well, it sometimes seems like you have "pervert molester" tatooed on your forehead.

    I am guessing that mothers, so fearful from media reports, think that it is so unusual that a man likes to talk to kids, that it MUST mean that he has malicious intentions. I have honestly come away from these situations wondering if the police will be called. Because i interacted with a child that interacted with me. Makes me want to hit people until they learn some sense (which maybe proves that i am a malcontent?).

    Well. Probably not a spot-on analogy, but there you are. Take care, all the best, etc. We always have a room free if you want to visit Smithers.


  4. To D: In fact I was thinking 'k' would have something to say about my sarcastic apology 🙂 (always good to hear from you k)

    To Mr Witt: I stand corrected - they really are MORONS. Your "vaguely similar" story is in fact representative of the mischaracterisation that most of us face, one time or the other, based on our gender, ethnicity, and so on. I can only sympathise with your annoyance. I hope all is well in Smithers, and thanks for the offer by the way. I'm not sure when I'll be in Canada but will certainly be in Smithers if I come to that country again!

  5. k

    i did apologize for misbehaving earlier, didn't i ?

    anyway, welcome back. the sky in Africa seems to be filled with beautiful colours ! m sure Z'll take me there someday, won't you honey ?

  6. k, i don't remember you misbehaving so not sure what you mean 🙂

    I'm back but only to start packing my things again to go to Ghana. I'm leaving on the first of June - can't wait but also dreading all the packing that needs to be done here before I leave!

  7. k

    good luck wiht the packing. i love packing and listing down things that are packed and things left to be packed. i stick the list on my mirror coz that's the place i don't miss looking at 🙂 . but maybe it's different when u have to pack for a long journey.

    what's the max temperature at Ghana ? can't imagine how people bear the heat if its above 35 degrees ! maybe 40 degrees but not more than that. i went for a workshop a week ago n burnt myself black when we went rafting ( Z's attended the worshop too, a year ago. it was an amazing experience, more focused on group dynamics n working as a team) i don't think sunscreen works there either, does it ? u should apply tomato juice when u get home to avoid a sunburn. works well for me !

    are there problems of food or mosquitoes in the place?

  8. D

    To start with m wondering about the uniquely written 'M''s comments here. Seems like it is the same old, dear M v. very sorry to have 'commented' on the sarcasm instead n at the same time very happy to know you are 'always glad' (cautious I must say!) to hear from K, tho I am not K. LOL
    And dearest K, for a while I was confused about the usage of the term 'honey' cuz I misread the sentence and was 'almost shocked' by thinking, now when did M turn into honey. pattai napai! Anyways, having got the essence now, I must say yah I plan to take all the SSS gang of gals on a Safari to Africa!You know how much I earn! LOL I am searching for places to throw it away! 😛 N a precious piece of info on M , he seems like a pretty calm fellow ( pakka Buddhako desh ma janmeko jasto manche ) 🙂 tesaile our sarcasm doesn't strike as 'sarcasm' to him... ali dherai nai dose chahincha wahalai.

    N coming back to Mr M ( as its his blog) and not OUR guff garne thaun, where are you going next?( oh u've written) wat a globe trotter!

  9. जैविक विविधता

    i also like typing that in Nepali 😉

    and, you're welcome to make it a guff garne thaun...its an interesting read (at least to me) 🙂

  10. k

    hello z (since M's given us the permission to make his blog 'OUR guff garne thaun', it's always nice talking to you here or in your own blog. but since ur blog these days is bogged down wiht heavy emotions, i'm more than happy to talk to outside of it (i'm not complaining about ur posts though)

    n i thank the heavens that ur 'confusion' is over with. i'd have to hear about it in a public place, n in a loud enough voice, if God hadn't been so gracious to me today.

    m waiting for the safari to Africa ! i know how much you earn alright. n that's just the first job. i can't help smiling when i think about what i'll make you buy for my birthday 😀 i'm gonna have a blast !!!!!! hope to catch u in col tom. haven't seen u for ages.

    n now, to be polite, since it's his blog, have a nice day MP ji.

  11. D

    Poor us ( me an Nira ) why do you have so much problem with our voices! 🙁 and what even if I had asked so, chinta ke barema cha ra? M ji is only virtual, isn't it, I mean until we actually bump into him. It's not like A who is really loud in this 'office setting' inquiring time and again who M is in a fishy tone! ( aftyaro parcha in front of K n S dai ( they're in the same room, diff cubicles) . nyways how was the interview? . m liking this Guff garne thaun provided by MPJi for freeeeeee Thanku. 🙂

  12. k

    u don't have a loud voice, zade. in fact, you've a really nice voice, smooth and pleasant to listen to, especially if u r asking questions in public discussions ! (rem St. Xaviers ko seminar? ) can't say tht abt neera though (it's just between us though, she'll kill me if she comes to know of it)

    n u be careful of A girl. i don't like the look of his face. don't let him come near you. khub dherai ghumnu parcha tei sanga.

    abt the interview - i was the one who prepared the most. others didn't even bother to check out the organization. but i just went blank when they asked me what i knew abt them. then i came down n gave a short lecture abt what they actually do to the other interviewees ! chahine bela kaile kaam gardaina buddhi le. tara kei chaina. i'll have other chances !

    btw, me n jyoti dropped by YI today. informed them abt D. said they'd talk to him once he comes back to Nepal. khub halla chaleko cha re ni ta wahan ko bare but no one had actually come up to them with a complaint re. don't know if that's true or they're covering up. manche ta khatarnak raicha. such ppl should b given a thrashing and should be deported back to their countries.

    and again, thanking MPji for the platform,
    k. 🙂

  13. d

    Whose blog is it I wonder? Ours or the one who runs this site? 😛

    thanks for the 'bistrik jankari' about my voice K! ( u must be the only one who says so, other than a fellow who used to call me a long time ago to hear my 'hello' reasoning my 'hellos' are exactly the same every time I say so!?! Actually I had almost forgotten that I had 'asked' a question then, given the fact that I , you could say NEVER speak out in public gatherings.., not even ask question when I want the St Xavier one should actually be a 'moment in history' 🙂 but I had outspoken the pundit in 'globalization n youth' theme in MC some time back, later the 'pundit' was asking the participants to question me rather than her!! but that is extremely rare, thereby can you help me remember what I asked? I find you more confident than myself in voicing your thoughts in such occasions... ( eg the N Club program in PIC)

    n ma kaile A sanga ghumen tei euta trip bahek and THAT was WORK!! even now you might catch us walking together here in Btar or Ratnapark in the evening but we only head to the bus stop together!! never gone to ghumnu with him kya! ma satark n sajak nari chu !hehehe

    A lot of othr kuirez need to be deported along wit him really. n of course 'dajailai' dhanyabad! 😛

  14. k

    'dajai' re !
    tht was a good one.
    n i don't rem the ques coz i was busy listening to ur sound 😉

    don't let ur guard down in front of A !

    n abt voicing my thoughts, i do tht only when i'm sure of myself, tesaile ppl complain "dherai bolnu paryo" . one guy commented on my 'chart ' at CLS, "speak up, we won't eat u" !

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