Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

A basket of laundry warms the arrival to my room.

It's Thanksgiving Day in America and I'm finally sitting down to dinner after a long day judging the 4th Annual Uganda Barista Championship. Thousands of miles away are friends and family celebrating the massacre of Native Americans across the United States. And I'm missing out on all of the fun...

Okay, that's not politically correct: they massacred the Indians. I mean, that's not P.C. either. Terrible.

Room Service brings Thanksgiving Dinner.

Reminds me of a Native American friend who's traveled to the other side of the planet to do pretty much the same thing I'm doing here in Kampala: judging a barista competition and escaping the gluttony that is American Thanksgiving.

I asked him once what his family does to celebrate Thanksgiving. His answer: "We don't."

It must be odd to celebrate a "holiday" that celebrates the massacre of your people - kind of like Cambodians celebrating the founding day of the Khmer Rouge, Italians celebrating December 21 for Stalin's birthday or Filipinos celebrating their independence marking the loss of their sovereignty (oh wait, we actually do celebrate that).

Bombay Prawns - Tiger prawns in a spicy coconut sauce with rice and an order of chips, with a Diet Coke.

Political incorrectness and genocide aside (save for the mass executions of large poultry known as turkeys), it's been a relatively quiet holiday for me in Kampala. Actually, it's been a normal workday here. No reveling. No stuffing of the turkey. No stuffing of the tummy. No football and no slouching comatose on the sofa.

No turkey at all today, save for the Chips & Fried Chicken I had for lunch.

Somewhere out there, my family has gathered (sans me) for Thanksgiving lunch. It's my little niece's first T-day and I've chosen to fly to other side of the world and say hello via video chat. It's a shame but I did get to eat my Tday dinner of Indian style prawn coconut curry and rice while making ridiculous faces at my niece while my mom held her up to the computer screen pummeling her with radiation. Nice going, Uncle...

Well, maybe I can do better next Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all - even those of you who mourn this day. I understand.

Local Mango for dessert.

4th UNBC 2010 - Day One

Another morning breakfast at the Kampala Serena Hotel.

The 4th Annual Uganda National Barista Championship started today with a field of 22 competitors, nine judges, one emcee, a bunch of great volunteers and support people and one newly gunned head judge.

The enthusiasm amongst the baristas is shared between first-time competitors from local universities to new barista competitors and experienced competition baristas. But I'll get more into it later. There's still a bunch of work to be done before bed tonight! Not to mention getting up again early tomorrow for another round.

Tomorrow is Day Two of the preliminary round with the remaining ten baristas, then on Saturday the Finals culminates in the determination of who will represent Uganda in Bogota next June.

Enjoy the pics!

Welcome to the Uganda National Barista Championship.

Judge Michael Kijjambu.

Judge Brenda Alamyo preps the station.

Station One.

Judging Team A: Beatrice Neumbe (S), Clare Rwakatogoro (T), Brenda (T), Michael (S) and Julius Ndyanabo (S).

Listening to their reasons in Calibration.

Striking A Pose.

Barista Brothers - and Simon Waweru.

Julius sips while Faith Asaji scores.

Drinking Rachel Bahika's signature drink.

Competitors and spectators in the audience.

Team Flavour Cafe en force.

Brenda evaluates Simon Waweru's technical ability.

Judging under scrutiny of the television lights.