Saturday, November 27, 2010
The Venue. At Night.
Edmund Kanunura speaks.
Edmund introduces the UNBCC Board: Michael, Clare, Brenda and Peter.
The buffet opens.
Hungry attendees make their way.
My plate of chicken, goat, chapati, rice, cucumber salad, matoke, nut sauce, potatoes & fried tilapia.
Our Chief Guest discusses coffee and cuisine from the Makarere University.
Clare, Rachel, Louis, Edmund and the Chief Guest announce winners and hand out prizes.
Juliana Mandha wins as the Best Student Barista and a one million shilling prize.
Salim wins for Best Espresso and a "coffee plunger".
The Six Finalists await the announcement.
The 2010 Uganda Barista Champion: Mark Okuta.
With The Champion, Judge Sokia and the boys from Volcano Coffee.
Very Lucky in Kampala: with baristas Monica and Barbara.
I want a photo with everyone.
As well as with Juliana and the winning baristas.
And with Milly and the rest too.
Clare's cute sister: The Chicken Lady.
The Chicken Lady and the 80 Million Escalade.
Alice, The Chicken Lady and her sister, Clare with the Escalade.
An afternoon bouquet of roses.
As I said before, I'm getting used to this hotel living again. For the most part, I travel very low brow. The Red Roof Inn has been my friend for many years and while I enjoy nights (and days) at the Halekulani in Waikiki, it's rare that I splurge to stay there.
Every once in a while, I Priceline my accommodations and land nice hotels are heavily discounted rates only to complain that I'm getting nickel and dime'd on Internet fees, parking fees, water bottles and the litany of fees that accompany a la carte living.
At the Kampala Serena, I'm surrounded in luxury. From the linens to the pillows to the bedding and everything else. All my desires are cared for. I need a car to take me to the airport tomorrow? Mike is only too happy to arrange a complimentary car to take me in the morning, but he also insists that the driver take me an hour earlier to tour their other facility: the Victoria Serena Lodge near Entebbe. Very generous.
Thank you, Frankline.
After a long week of training and judging, I'm surprised and delighted to find an arrangement of fresh pink roses in my room. It's a nice and unexpected touch.
Soon after, one of my attendants rings the doorbell to ask if she can "turn down" the room for me. She's someone that I haven't seen all week as the turndown has been done while I've been elsewhere in the city. She's quick, efficient, friendly and has my curtains drawn, slippers and a floor towel laid out, throw pillows put away, sheets pulled down and fresh bottles of water and clean drinking glasses laid out before my ten minute Chris Rock clip is finished on YouTube.
I didn't notice it earlier in the day but there's also the note from Frankline Nyakundi, Rooms Division Manager apologizing for any inconvenience they will cause me by moving the Business Center to one of the lounges while they renovate that room - in January 2011.
I'm going to miss the leather-wrapped clock, the room service and at-will ice service. I leave tomorrow for another hotel in another country and I've remembered the most discomforting thing about Five Star Living: leaving.
On the road back to Serena Hotel.
The ride back to the hotel for a few hours rest was a bit unnerving. After a week in Kampala, I hadn't really been out and about in the daylight. Near the Equator, the daylight stretches to seven o'clock but I still haven't seen Kampala in the daylight, other than the morning commutes. To see Kampala in the daylight was surprising indeed.
Details of city life popped out at me - even though the Sheraton venue is about a kilometer from my hotel. Seeing the details of the city not shrouded in nighttime creates a yearning to see the rest of the city. To walk the streets, meet more of the people and maybe even take a spin on the back of a Boda Boda.
Ladies ride sidesaddle on the Boda Bodas.
Emma Kotongole bring his stuff into the hall.
Judges Rita and Sokia prepare themselves.
Ashley, Clare, Julius and Rita waiting to begin.
First Up: Agatha begins her presentation.
First Ugandan Champion Peter and two baristas.
Sensory Judge Julius samples Rachel Bahika's Tropical Paradise.
Sokia and Roberts present their technical scores for review.
Clare advocates for more Matoke.
Peter agrees for more Matoke.
Some kind of Indian chicken - really spicy.
Beef, veggies, rice and chapati.
Competition is over, the banners come down.
Emma and Agatha eye Technical Judge Sokia warily...
Roberts and his daughter.