Sunday, November 28, 2010

Chief Judge: Departing

On the road in Kampala City.

Needless to say, I have been a well-kept man at the Kampala Serena Hotel. Thanks to food and beverage director Mike Wabulo and the Uganda Coffee Development Authority, I have been living a charmed life this week of plush beds, room service, on-demand ice buckets and just about anything else I desired. It's been a nice week.

Last night, while drinking with Mike at The Mist bar, I lamented that it was my last night and tomorrow I would be off for Kigali. In his normal tone of enthusiasm, he insisted that I must allow him to arrange for travel to Entebbe airport and that on the way, I must stop by and tour the Victoria Serena Resort - their sister property between Kampala and Entebbe. Be ready bright and early.

Bikes and Boda Bodas.

The wonderful thing about hospitable service is that it's to the leisure of the guest and in the morning, I was feeling a bit more leisurely than usual. Not having to get up to train or judge a barista competition means that I don't want to get up at 6:30am.

By the time I arrived in the lobby, it was a half hour past the scheduled time but the concierge was waiting patiently nonetheless. Mike came down to greet me and send me on my way, my luggage was whisked away by the staff and then I was massaged into the supple leather of the German made BMW X3.

A supply shop.

Ask my brother, I'm not much of a BMW person, but sitting in the back of this plush leather X3 with sunroofs and a sharply dressed driver, who called himself a "chauffeur" and I felt like a newly minted Julia Roberts leaving the Hotel Beverly Wilshire.

Pundits may cry out that I'm encouraging the class disparity while riding around in this leather wrapped, air conditioned chariot and that I should be ashamed of myself. Maybe. Certainly I feel for the disparity here in Africa but do I feel bad for having this short moment of luxury in life? Does that chap riding in the back of Maybach feel bad when he sees me trudging down Park Avenue in the cold and rain? I think not.

I think to myself that I need to buy that man a bottle of scotch.

The pool at the Victoria Serena Resort.

Soon we're at the Victoria Serena Resort and it's quite lovely. True opulence in Italian renaissance fashion. An attendant greets me and welcomes me warmly. He's expecting me and takes me on a grand tour of the facility: the rooms, the pool, the conference center, the restaurants and the spa. After seeing the spa here, I regret missing the spa at the hotel this week. I really missed out.

Our stop here is quick because my tardiness this morning means that I am running a bit behind and it's still another 35 minute drive to the airport. We're off in a rush but we make it with no problems.

Need bananas for Motoke?

Driving Mister Daisy.

Uh-Oh, running out of room.

Welcome to Entebbe International Airport.

My ride: BMW X3

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