Entebbe, Nairobi and Johannesburg

Now that my Caravan training is done, it’s time to renew my South African validation.  The current validation was only for six months since that’s how long I could exercise the privileges of the ATP with the medical that I had.  Since then, the rules in the US have apparently changed making the first class medical valid for a whole year for pilots under the age of 40.  Hopefully that means that the exercise in paperwork and the fees paid today will satisfy the South African CAA for another six months.  I guess I’ll find out in the morning when I go to pick up the new certificate. 

Last week two of us took two Caravans from Goma to Entebbe for maintenance at the Air Serv hangar there.  Here’s the volcano on the way out of Goma.

These trips are usually a good diversion from every day schedules in Goma or elsewhere in the DRC.  I was hoping that this would let me go to Jinja and do a little white water rafting (which is supposed to be legendary), but I was explicitly banned from doing this, not because it would be unsafe or anything, but that they wanted myself and the other pilot sitting around waiting for the planes to be ready even though we were promised by the mechanics that they wouldn’t be ready until Sunday.  That irked me a bit, but oh well.  I guess we’ll just have to make the most of the time in Entebbe. 

We were expecting a new pilot named Josh to be arriving in Entebbe on the day we arrived.  We waited to eat dinner in case he was hungry when he got there.  When he got there he’d been up for longer than anyone should, but still wanted to go out to eat with us.  I think we gave him a decent warm up for Africa. 

The next day we went for a walk around the neighborhood in Entebbe and came across a bunch of kids that were out playing whatever games they play.  When they saw us, they all took turns saying, “Mzungu, how are you?” and then proceeded to play “touch the Mzungu”.  This game involves running up to a Mzungu, grabbing an arm or a hand and then running away screaming and laughing.  It was as entertaining for us as it was for the kids. 

On Friday we decided to head in to Kampala.  I had never been there and heard it should be fun.  Samson, (one of the Air Serv mechanics from Kenya) was going too.  We went down to the bus stop (just a place the bus happens to stop rather than a bench or something) and got on one of the mini-busses.  We got a lot of funny looks from the Ugandans along the road as we drove by.  I guess they don’t see too many Mzungus using public transportation. 

When we made it to the end of the line in Kampala, we found out that we were beyond walking distance from where we wanted to go and went to find transportation.  One Boda-boda (motorcycle taxi) driver said that he could take both of us where we needed to go.  I was skeptical that the three of us, Josh, myself, and the driver (Samson had gone to meet some friends of his) could all fit on one bike, but the driver insisted that it would work.  I thought we got funny looks when we were on the bus.  Now people all over the city were pointing and laughing at the two Mzungus on one Boda-boda.  I am glad we could amuse people as we tried our best to keep our kneecaps from becoming hood ornaments on passing cars. 

On Sunday it’s time to head on to Nairobi and then to Johannesburg.  The Caravan that I am flying is going to be flying back to the States so it had two large ferry tanks in the back.  It made the plane smell just a little bit.  It was ok though because it was an otherwise perfect day for flying.  I think I could see a million miles in all directions and Kenya was absolutely beautiful.  From the shores of Lake Victoria to the farms and hills on the way to Nairobi, the scenery was amazing.  Everything was hassle free once on the ground at Nairobi-Wilson airport.  Some sort of customs agent came out to greet us when we landed, but didn’t seem too interested in the plane.  Samson spoke with him in Swahili and we were on the way to the hangar with the plane in no time.  The only snag happened when I was going through passport control on the way to get on the airliner to South Africa.  He asked how I got in the country without an entry stamp in my passport and when I explained he said, “Ok, goodbye” and I was on my way.

Now, hopefully all I have to do is to go back to the South African CAA in the morning and pick up my paperwork.  Then it’s just sitting around waiting for a 1900 motor to arrive. 



2 Responses to “Entebbe, Nairobi and Johannesburg”

  1. Matthew Says:

    That’s awesome!

  2. mormor Says:

    three on the motor bike, oh, my goodness!!! and those roads…I can just imagine! Sounds like you have a lot of adventure, as well as amusing the kids there…hope you take a lot of pictures. Be careful!!! mormor

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