Monday, 17 March 2014

The country visits town

On this particular occasion I jumped into the front seat of the taxi next to a full figured lady who took up most of the space only to grudgingly give up half of my seat for me to occupy. The entire journey she was engrossed in her smart phone and did not even say hello and from time to time peered through the window at street signs and the loud noises coming from outside the taxi. 

I did not understand how she found everything in this dusty and jam riddled city interesting or inviting to the point of leering over me to peek outside the window. Yes I know that the sight of the young campus lady with 6 -7 inch heels struggling to remain vertical to the ground all in a bid to look smashing while braving our pot holed riddled streets is nice but also quite commonplace. In addition to her cheating me out of half of my seat, another thing that made me amused was how extremely rude she was the entire duration of her journey and there was no difference when she alighted from the taxi.

Neighbor: Maso awo! (I am alighting right ahead)

Me: Silence.

 (Before the taxi even comes to a standstill she stands up while the taxi is still in motion and steadies herself to alight even before we pulled to the side to find parking)
 Neighbor: Nvayo! (I am coming out) She said in an extremely rude manner.

Me: Eh, kale nyabo (Eh, okay madam) As she stepped on my freshly cleaned suede pumps but my politeness would not allow me to cause a scene in a taxi that early in the morning as I was sure that I would be receiving an apology soon enough. 

To my surprise, I received none.
 I eventually jumped out of that taxi when it had reached the last stage of the route it plied daily and into the back seat of another between a gentleman (on the left at the window seat) and a petite lady (on the right at the window seat). Little did I know that they were together as the entire time I sat between the two of them no word was uttered. But the first thing I noticed about the lady was that she also refused to extend to sit at the extreme end next to the window she was avoiding the sun. So I suffered at the expense of the sun and as not squashed between hers and the more mature gentleman. It is at this time that I was extremely happy that I was average size and not overweight for I would have surely paid for it by gasping for air as I attempted to suck in my excess weight to no consequence.

This suffering continued for the next 15 minutes until the next stage where the taxi conductor decided to waste our time feigning vigilance in looking for passengers to fill up the taxi while in reality he was flirting with the food ladies at the stage of the Nakawa taxi park. I noticed a growing agitation from the mature gentleman on my left and eventually with no warning he flew out of his seat and gestured with his hand to the lady on my right to get out as he disembarked the taxi and went to the conductor to finalize payment for their trip. Only then did I look in the direction of the lady seated next to me, wondering if I needed to excuse her in case she needed to get out of the taxi but she did not move an inch so I assumed I had misread the mature gentleman’s body language.  He stood with his back facing the taxi, received his change (commonly known as balance) and began to walk off in the direction of a taxi that seemed to have more hope of departing faster from the bus park than ours was since he was in a hurry.

With the alighting of the mature gentleman, the rest of the taxi grew agitated by the conductor who did not seem to want to leave the park and yet most of the passengers were in a rush to get to their early Sunday morning service. I thought nothing of it and made myself comfortable since I now had ample wiggle room with the gentleman’s exit only for the conductor to jump in and the driver began to pull into the main road. Now at this time the mature man had not gotten very far when he heard the engine of the taxi start he was settling down into a taxi ahead of us that was leaving the park now. Startled to see his taxi door shut, he frantically looked outside the window into our taxi as if he had lost something. He was half standing and half seated at this point and violently opened the window and shouted in our direction to the younger lady seated next to me who was in a daze staring at a young lady in a tight dress. She snapped out of her trance and started to shout in a dialect that I was not familiar with as she shot out of her seat and attempted to squeeze herself through the window to exit the taxi. 

I was amazed and it is only then that I realized that she was in a separate taxi from her companion who was already leaving the park. I shouted to the conductor to stop the taxi as I calmed her down and hastily informed the conductor to stop the other taxi just ahead of us and all this time she was between the window and attempting to climb over me like a caged animal that was scared for dear life.

The taxi eventually came to a halt and the gentleman stepped out and lost his seat since he now required one for himself and her and there was only one slot left. He was evidently mad and verbally expressed it as he threw his hands in the air and scolded her as we drove off and went on our way. 

As I looked at her I could see fear in her eyes and a part of me was sad with her and in that moment it all made sense. It was her first time to come to the city and she did not exactly have the best guide, she was both frightened and excited by everything she had seen. I only hoped that this experience would not scare her for the rest of her stay in Kampala. Then it dawned on me, I had no better way to express this intriguing encounter other than this was the time that the country visited the town.
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