Sunday, November 20, 2011

Serena-ty Uganda

Poolside at the Kampala Serena Hotel in Uganda.

After leaving my house at noon on Thursday, I finally arrived at my room in Kampala, Uganda at 3am on Sunday morning: a total travel time of 55 hours (including a stopover in Frankfurt, Germany). Finally got into bed around 5am and slept until 1:15pm to find myself in what is easily the highlight of my entire years worth of travels.

My hosts here in Kampala are gracious and generous enough to put me up at the gorgeous Kampala Serena Hotel where luxury and comfortable living is the norm and I highly recommend anyone staying here. The staff is wonderful and the attention just right. Not too overbearing but right there when you need it.

The only downside at the Serena is the crazy sporadic Internet connection. Maybe that spot you're sitting doesn't have great reception, but move five feet to the right and a step back and the kilobytes start flying. But no matter, if the problem is really serious, one of their service techs will be here right away to help you with the matter and find the optimum location for your laptop. They'll even move your beverages and umbrella to accommodate you.

For a few moments, I thought about calling some friends and heading out into the Big City, but how often in my life do I find myself with a day to luxuriate and do nothing in particular except enjoy just being alive? That week between Christmas and New Year's in Honolulu at The Porn King's bungalow overlooking Honolulu back in 2004 comes to mind.

Danke schoen Alemania for the Montecristos.

So what better way to spend the day than in t-shirt, board shorts, slippers and lounging poolside with a pack of Montecristo Minis, some cold beverages and the occasional swim in the pool? I should note that I did bring my Foodservice Management and Controls textbook with me as part of my continuing studies retinue (which I didn't crack open once this afternoon).

After laying down some bronzing foundation on my rapidly whitening winter skin, I decided to retire from the pool to the outside lobby bar to rest and recover from the constant movement trying to avoid the shadows cast poolside from the waning sun (it's difficult work!)

I also met a woman (with her visiting son) who has been living here for four years. I asked her how she liked Uganda and she clarified that she has been living here, in the hotel, for the past four years.

At the lobby bar, I've settled myself with a pot of African tea - an interesting and slightly odd blend of tea with ginger to give it a zing, already steeped with milk and served with sugars and some cookies. Somewhere from the pool area wafts strong traditional African music. It's alluring and wonderful, and I want to wander over there and watch the musicians but I'm too relaxed to do anything that strenuous.

Working at The Mist bar.

My mind wanders back to that woman and her son. Four years. I've always secretly envied those people who have found a way to live in the best hotels of the world. How does one even arrange that kind of arrangement? I can only imagine what the rate is here for my stay. Multiply that by a month then by years???

But what a fantasy. You're daily live tended to by the best hotel people in the world. Meals prepared in the nations best kitchens. There's always a pool and a spa, a bar and 24 hour room service to satiate your every desire. The baristas here make killer coffee to the standard which I desire. It would be heavenly - and when your time comes, you can rest assured that your remains will be disposed of with care and your loved one notified with the proper amount of discretion.

If I don't return to America by December 7th, you'll know where to find me...