(In my ‘Post Swift’ I will do a bit of Ivan ‘psycho’ analysis as to why I mentally struggled in the three smallest, poorest, countries I passed through (Malawi, Burundi, Rwanda). I’ve gotta be honest, even if it makes me look like a bastardo)
By the time I had reached Uganda I had resorted to winking - one of my favourite activities was winking at young kids and seeing them try and wink back. They usually went for a two eyed blink. Very amusing.
Also the peace sign (or Bram and Pop – the V for victory sign) is not something that is ever used over here, so I would use it again with children and as they try and reply mimicking me their poor wee fingers struggling to find the right shape ended up looking like a claw. Very sweet and highly amusing.
Another fun game: when I was surrounded by a gaggle of children was to frighten them, (don’t worry – this was all in gest not anger!) I would suddenly roar and make to run at them, they would run for their wee lives and tumble over each other. Then we and their parents sitting on the side of the road not far away would all burst into laughter.
Unfortunately Uganda was mainly rain and motorway and so I must have taken about 3 photos of the entire country. It was also the country where Lady Love started calling it a day. I had managed to make a fundamental repair in Bujumbura, but in Uganda in the middle of a rain storm my gear cable snapped. This meant that I was stuck in my hardest gear, down hill, push up, down hill, push up, down hill, push up. In the rain. Tough. Managed, somehow to mend it. The following day the chain it seems had been almost totally ruined by the fact that I had to push so hard in the hard gear. Tried to change it. Changed it. The new chain, due to the fact that the front run of gear cogs was so worn would not take. Google told me to put on my old chain. Chainged it again. The following day, the rain and grit so thick that it clogged up my gears completely. All manageable.
The Ugandans were extremely nice and excellent at English, but unfortunately the Kampala – Mombasa road is probably the busiest road in East Africa so I had to keep my eyes on the road and not the views. I did manage to maximise on what I have nicknamed ‘Limpeting’, (first discovered in Malawi by Ivan Hanning Speke, and used a little in Tanzania) - when I have to crawl up mountains, so do trucks. I wait at a sleeping policeman at the bottom of a hill, and as the juggernaught approaches I start pedalling as fast as I can up the hill, so that when the truck is passing me we are going just about the same speed. I then quickly latch on to the back (like a limpet on a whale) and am towed up the hill. This can be extremely gnarly and excellent fun. Sorry Mum - it’s over now.
When I reached Kenya I was very ready for the end. Sick of the rain and very worried for my good mate Lady Love. (His name, I realised is like one of those ironic hard man names found in Guy Richie movies. “Friendly Frank”, “Gorgeous George”, the most badass of the gang who are ironically nicknamed something soft. Read in cockney - “My son, he’s called Lady. Fuckin’. Love. Coz ‘e loves. Fuckin'. da ladies. Now stop asking questions you little twat.” My profound apologies for profanities but - it gets my point across) He was really feeling the strain – 9500km on a 500 quid bike ain’t bad. Despite this I had a good time through Kenya, the people were friendly, often uninterested in me, spoke excellent English and very welcoming. Cycling through tea plantations, racing rainclouds, making friends; it really was good. A great country to finish in. But then came the end. Day 89 and day 90, were two of the hardest days of my life.