“What makes life worth living? To be born with the gift of laughter and sense that the world is mad.” —S. Scaramouche
The trip back from Kasese was much more exciting than the one on the way there not only because it was during the day so I got to see the beautiful mountains and forests, but also because it fell on the day of the solar eclipse. We had intended on setting off early but we were delayed yet again because we were invited to a second breakfast at the bride’s home by her parents. And as I was gently reminded, when a “big person” asks you to do something you don’t question or argue. The late start therefore meant that the eclipse would find us on the road.
Not wanting to miss it we decided that we would park somewhere when the time came to watch it. Being high, intoxicated or tired from the night before or even all three, we forgot that that we needed equipment to view it with. Two hours into the journey whilst browsing to find out the exact time it was supposed to happen, we remembered and the rush was then on to find a shop that sold camera films. It was a Sunday and most of the shops were closed so we drove around Fort Portal for at least an hour before we found one that sold films. Had we known that we could use black carrier bags we would have saved ourselves a lot of hassle as we had plenty of those. With the film, food and drinks we were ready so we set off again.
At the predicted start time we found a suitable place to park, donned our film now cut into pieces one for each person and directed our gaze towards the sun. If the people nearby were puzzled by what we were doing, they did not say anything. Certainly no one else seemed interested in the eclipse, that is if they were even aware that there was one taking place. We stayed in the town for about 10 minutes and decided to drive on as the moon seemed to be moving slower than a bride walking down the aisle.
After another forty minutes we got to the next town. This time the moon was a third of the way across the face of the sun. As we got out of the car to take a good look we caused a bit of a stir with people staring at us probably thinking we were stark raving mad. We of course ignored the stares, and took out our cameras and proceeded to take pictures of them, ourselves and the eclipse. After ten minutes we set off again. We continued in this manner three more times stopping at different towns and drawing a lot of attention to ourselves.
Ten minutes before the eclipse was supposed to be total we made our final stop and this time we were prepared to sit it out. We came out of the car and even borrowed a bench and sat down to wait. Only the wait was in vain, it started getting lighter instead. The total eclipse as we realised was of course not going to happen, at least not in the part of the country we were in. Now we understood why so many people had trekked all the way to Pakwach. A little disappointed we headed back to the car and made our way back to Kampala. Despite the disappointment in the end it was one mad drive, filled with jokes and laughter. A great end to a totally mad weekend