Ivan Musoke

Previously in Calgary…

Dear Diary,
I haven’t been here in a bit and there’s a great explanation for that – recounting events on a day to day basis is not sustainable. I’m not sure anyone’s life is that interesting, to be honest. To be fair, even protagonists in religious texts had gaps here and there in their stories.

So, here’s a quick run down – I attended a Snoop Dogg & Nelly concert, covered about 8km on foot, watched a band perform, went to a couple of malls, one of which made it a point to let my body know what it was getting itself into at the food court and realised a little too late that I’d missed an opportunity at throwing out a comeback.

Continue reading…

Giddy Up

Calgary, AB
06.07.2019

Hi Diary,
There was very little in the way of movement on day 2 owing to the fact that it rained. You’ve known me long enough to understand that rain brings everything to a standstill. Apart from sleep… and copulation.

There’s a reason Toto’s lyric, “I bless the rains down in Africa” strikes a chord with many a listener and I can assure you it has nothing with appreciating the finer intricacies of meteorology.

The day was grey. If this were literature class, we would no doubt go into a deep dive about how that statement alludes to the feeling of hopelessness and despair that engulfed the author, but no, the day literally had a greyish hue to it, forcing me to stay indoors and wait things out.

And this is summer. You’d expect bright sunny days, birds chirping and Disney characters moving about singing cheerfully, but Calgary’s got other plans.

Let’s jump forward to day 3 – where the clouds were sort of undecided about what to do with the rain they held – sort of like when you wake up in the middle of the night to pee, but second guess yourself. Or, like when one of James McAvoy’s personalities in Split let that girl go.

When an image doesn’t quite fit the reference perfectly

We took a somewhat leisurely stroll down to the center of town hoping to run into cowboys or people dressed as them because this was the beginning of a great Calgary tradition – Stampede.

As I understand it, it’s a festival that sees people ride horses and bulls and listen to music against the backdrop of meals and drinks. Such is the fanfare surrounding this thing, there’s a procession through the city and loads of big names in music make an appearance.

This year’s no different with Tim McGraw, Snoop Dogg and Kiefer Sutherland all due to put in performances. Ah yes, so is T-Pain (‘memba him?) Night life back here comes to an end at 2am, I am told, which puts a bit of a dampener on my eagerness to watch Mr. Pain being meta -singing 5 O’Clock in the morning at, well, 5 O’clock in the morning.

The walk into the city didn’t have nearly as many ride ’em, whip ’em lasso-tottin’ types as had been advertised, but as we approached the Core Mall, I ran into Lamborghini’s Urus – retails from about 232,000 CAD, thank me later- and suddenly my life made no sense. Then again, the expression “ran into an Urus” doesn’t sound right either. Anyway, there’s not much else I can add to this particular paragraph except maybe a picture I took without asking for permission.

The trip to the mall afforded me yet another opportunity to interact with that object of my desire, Sony’s Wireless Noise Cancelling headphones elevating our relationship from a long distance one to the kind where we’re both in the same town playing, will we – won’t we. Except as the day wore on, it became obvious that I was late to the party. No matter, true love waits.

For all the hype, when the cowboy gear finally made an appearance, it was a little underwhelming. I guess stetson hats and denim are no match for the elements – I did toy with the idea of picking myself one (the hat) but coming from a country where you have to explain yourself whenever you wear clothes with a camouflage pattern, I wasn’t keen on being on one end of an inquisition into why I attempted to upstage the president’s fashion. Long story short, no hat for me.

Ah, nuts, I almost forgot.

I went by a pharmacy where I was asked whether my diet had changed recently. “Well, up until Wednesday, I was in Uganda. So…” I paused for effect, hoping the guy at the counter would be impressed by my sarcasm, applauding my wit and smacking his thighs in appreciation.

He wasn’t and he didn’t.

He simply walked me over to an array of drugs, made a recommendation and that was it. I guess not every black guy leaving Africa, heading to North America can be Trevor Noah.

Day 2 ended as any cold grey day should – with pizza, beer, Stranger Things and the promise of a better day 3.

But then the jetlag hit again, leaving me awake at 3am, mentally cursing out the people that were moving around with my noise cancelling headphones.

Hello World…Again.

Calgary, AB
04.07.2019 AD

Dear Diary,

It bothers me that I have not posted anything on my blog in while, but I may have figured out a way to jump start things – using diary entries. I’m not sure I’ve done this before, but the logic here (if I can so liberally use the word) is that I will feel that I owe it to you to check in every so often. In a sense, I suppose it means you will kind of be holding me hostage which, the more I think about it, is not the most appealing way to kick off a relationship.

And as everyone knows, the best foundation for any relationship is full disclosure. So here’s a picture, Diary.

There go the frequent flyer miles.

Anyway, Diary, I got here yesterday after a so-so flight from Amsterdam. If truth be told there was little in the way of spectacular to report – the guy in the seat next to me asked whether I was a light sleeper because he had a knee injury and would have to keep getting up and walk around.

He volunteered that he’d tried to book an aisle seat and failed, since we were connecting, I thought I would share that I’d also hoped to be bumped up to KLM’s Business/First Class, but ended up here. You can’t always get what you want, I suppose.

My sister called BS on the whole knee thing and said he should have presented some proof – making me wonder whether I’d come off as a dick if I asked to see this damaged knee. Anywho, for the entire 8 plus hours in the sky, he only got up once. ONCE!

Understandably this riled me because I’d decided to stay awake lest I got in his way – resulting in infra-red tinted eyes (bloodshot sounds a bit like an exaggeration) and a deeper, unwarranted and unnecessary appreciation for struggles of intelligent machines; I watched Bumblebee and Alita; Battle Angel.

In retrospect, I might be shortchanging you, Diary. I haven’t told you about the layover in Schiphol. The highlight of that particular experience was the hunt for an affordable shower. After going back and forth (back to where I’d seen showers in a washroom sans towels) I settle on Yotel where the bath cost me 17Euros.

It may not have been the most expensive way to take care of personal hygiene, but I was not going let any penny go to waste – So I stood in the shower for a while, employing various poses; The Thinker, The Jilted Lover in a music video, The “Feels So Good” guy from internet memes (see below) and, finally, the guy whose just endured a flight from Uganda-Kenya-Amsterdam that desperately needs to shake off the potential perception that he marinated himself in his sweat.

I also used the hair dryer for good measure… on my pants, seeing as I’d gotten a haircut hours before I set off for this trip.

Oooooh, it feels so good

I also used the hair dryer for good measure… on my pants, seeing as I’d gotten a haircut hours before I set off.

Back to Calgary.

Everytime I’ve flown, there’s a PA announcement about opening the overhead compartments carefully because things may have moved around as we descended/landed. I’d always put this down to ticking a box, because it never happened…until yesterday. In a previous life, the pilot must have been a mixologist given how much we swayed and rocked during our descent – no lie, I think my internal organs have been re-aligned.

The clearance bit at the airport more than made up for it – taking the shortest, most pain-free amount of time I’ve endured in a long while. It’s a little disappointing that no one dwelled on the snacks I’d brought along for my host – I suppose fried grasshoppers are not such a big deal after all.

Calgary’s not as cold as had previously been suggested (thanks a lot, AccuWeather, any more layering and I’d be a bonafide mummy), the jacket I was wearing was more than sufficient.

I dropped by the mall to pick up a SIM card, and the only incident of note was being accosted by a guy with free samples of whatever tooth violating pastry he was handing out.

We were supposed to go shopping and exploring the neighbourhood a little after I got to my host’s place, but the moment my body met her couch, plans changed. Bless her for not coming between what God had brought together.

The slumber was short-term though, Diary, because, well, Jet Lag. I expect it will wear off, but for now, I think I should make the most of it.

It’s often been said that nights are incredibly bright during summer, but it’s a thing to behold. 10pm was well lit and totally threw the Iris status report off – that’s Iris, my daughter. She who loves to ask me whether it “is day there” when I travel, amused no end by the time zone machinations. I settled for ‘telling’ instead of ‘showing’ that it was night, lest I undid all she had learnt in school.

Who knows what the day has in store for me… or the weeks ahead.

I’ll keep you posted.

The Beginners Guide to Grasshoppers

It’s that time of the year again.

Your usual roadside traffic is going to be interrupted by the addition of something more sinister and less filling than the typical chapati/rolex, somersaulting chicken or chewy meat hybrid that purports to be from a form of livestock but is easily the lovechild of PK/Big G and oil left over from frying meat.

Yum, yum, bubble gum

Brace yourself for bright lights and mabati installations that almost rival floodlight rugby or the ambience of an up and coming prophet/evangelist’s fellowship in a tiny field…

It’s nsenene season.

Grasshoppers are not for everyone. Not many people can fathom the appeal that lies in crashing down on a hapless hop-less hopper mere seconds after looking at its pleading face – (“Please human, I have a family counting on my hoppity hop tendencies to get by. . . have mercy, don’t eat a bread winner”)

 

Fewer still are excited by the prospect of having grasshopper sting stick out from between their teeth. (Is that a toothpick in your mouth or are you just happy to see me?)

However, on the other side of the spectrum lies the lot that would have no qualms about moving about with their mouths open hoping to grab these insects mid-flight.

That said, here’s a quick intro to the world of this, er, delicacy.

If one is going to go the way of the nsenene, one must catch and kill these little guys.

You want some of this…

You can do this yourself by lying in hiding like a knock-off predator and jumping your prey as it makes its way to grasshopper proggie or wherever they tend to be going, but that also means you need to put the poor thing out of its misery.

You need to be humane about it, after all, you’re not a monster, just a person that’s going to eat it, so it might be better if you smack it on the side of the head instead of subjecting it to reruns of the early editions of Be My Date.

Once your meal-to-be is ‘not with us’ anymore, you will want to choose what you want to keep. Hoppers are not cows, so you won’t have the benefit of skinning the damn thing and using that for something (there are some dodgy looking shoes out there, so I could be wrong), you also can’t do much with their legs and antennae…

So you’re probably better off thinking back to those lessons in school where they said the main parts of the insect are the head, thorax and abdomen and ditching everything else the teacher couldn’t be arsed to teach you about.

At this point I’ll gloss over the cooking bit because any one of the chef types I’m friends with will likely call me out, “You forgot to mention that you should let it sit in Apple Mustard Marinade first then glaze it with teri-yucky… oh, you could also sauté some garlic and…”.

So let’s just hop on to the eating bit.

This is where it gets a bit messy. Yes, this part. Killing the grasshopper and dismembering it was a walk in the park compared to what you have to deal with next.

Now you have to stare at this thing dead in the face and prepare to eat it. That’s right; the victim comes lifeless face to hungry face with its murderer.

You’ll know it’s dead and looking down at you from grasshopper heaven, but when your eyes meet, that won’t matter. It will be like peering into an abyss, losing yourself in the guilt of it all, knowing that you ended a life that was so full of promise and hope.

People probably sang to your snack, “happy birthday, may you live to blow one candle” and you got in the way ike a Boda-Boda guy at the Shoprite – Lugogo traffic lights.

Looking at it looking at you Will. Mess. You. Up

… or not. I mean there’s no accounting for people’s consciences anymore, have you been to Twitter lately?

Having established that you really have no soul after all, you are now ready. Throw that little guy in your mouth and revisit science lessons with every chomp…

Head.

Thorax.

Abdomen.

End.

 

 

 

 

Note a massage story with a happy ending

This story starts with aches and pains.
All over.
These can be attributed to tossing and turning through the night, but I don’t know for sure that’s what happened. You see, since I read somewhere (one of those stupid Google results you MUST never open when you’re sick) that it’s safer to sleep on one side over the other because it does things for blood circulation, I’ve tried to stay put when I lie down. It’s friggin’ uncomfortable, but hey… Continue reading…

Brave New World Part 5 | Austin, Texas: REUNITED

Here’s the thing. Ugandans are more willing to look the other way than most people. You can put this down to our friendly demeanor or our desire to make a quick buck… In any case, if it’s the money thing, it kind of makes it easy to smile and drop a hint, “isn’t there ANYTHING I can do to make this go away”. At this point the person on the other end of the conversation will look around and ask you to buy them a soda… or hand you a cream for that pesky STD. Continue reading…