This was my hotel room in Entebbe where I spent my first night in Africa. It was a lovely room with a bed I sank into before falling asleep to the sounds of Africa outside my window and the hum of the fan cutting through the humid air. It’s fitting that I was in Suite 16. It just sounds right, doesn’t it? After two days of traveling, I took great delight in this oasis. In the morning I had a hot shower and enjoyed a breakfast cooked just for me. It was a shame I’d only be spending the one night there and another night upon my return to the airport at the end of the month.
In Gulu, I expected my room to be the same caliber. Here’s a shot of my toilet in Gulu.
I’m sorry I didn’t mean to frighten you. Quick, try to think of pretty flowers or cute bunnies or something. Try not to think about how my toilet looks like a crime scene.
I spent the first night in Gulu thinking a lot about Ryan and his lotus tattoo since taking up residence in this room the past few days. Part of the adventure is finding beauty in unexpected places, right? Right???
So the beauty of this toilet is that it flushes and because I’m a girl I don’t actually face the horror of the back of the toilet when I squat to do my business.
You looked at the toilet picture again, didn’t you? Sorry.
Let me replace it with a different image. Here’s my “shower”. I say shower because the shower nozzle doesn’t work meaning I get to stand in the bucket and splash water on my dirty bits while dunking my head under the faucet. The beauty in this is that the hot water tap is a ruse and there is only cold water here, so really I wouldn’t have wanted to actually stand under a freezing cold shower anyway, right? Since the sink doesn’t work, the shower is technically my sink, too, meaning I can save time by taking care of all of my showering, sink and toilet needs at the same time. And who doesn’t like to save a little time now and then?
What you can’t tell from the picture is that several times a night the shower faucet spontaneously fires massive amounts of water into the tub below with such force that the first night it woke me from a dead sleep. The beauty in that situation is that I’d recently used my CSI toilet so I didn’t pee my sheets.
This is the sleeping part of my room. Note the pristine mosquito net. It was part of an end of the year gift from one of my students. The net that previously covered my bed was riddled with holes which is actually counter productive when it comes to mosquito nets because it only serves to trap them inside the net instead of keeping them out. So the beauty in this is that I now get to tell my former student just how much I appreciated her thoughtful gift.
But wait, the beauty of this room doesn’t end there. Check out my view. Breathtaking in a sort of gasping for air kind of way, no? Note the lack of screen on the window, meaning that when I can’t possibly take the humid air a second longer and have to open the window, I get to study a variety of insects from inside the safety of my mosquito net. I do love a good entomology lesson. I don’t even want to think about what the bars are for. No, I don’t know what that stain on the window is and, yes, people walk by my window and say hello. Hang on a sec, I’m going to go look at my toilet to make myself feel better about my window.
Okay, where was I? Ah yes, my window. What you can’t tell from the picture is that there’s a club right down the road that plays loud American music until the wee hours of the morning. So when I wake up and feel homesick, I get an earful of Kelly Clarkson or Usher. The beautiful thing about that is that I brought lots and lots of earplugs.
From my quick peek into Colin’s room, it appears that my room is the anomaly, the neglected step child of the hotel. So that’s good. Except for the ‘my room’ part.
I still think Lotus Ryan is right about the importance of finding beauty in unexpected places. For the next few weeks, I’m just going to have to look hard to find it in this particular room.
An addendum to the finding beauty in unexpected places thing is that I’m also going to do a better job of appreciating beauty, even when it’s expected. When I again cross through the doorway of beautiful Suite 16 back in Entebbe, my appreciation for the bed, the heated shower, the screened windows and the toilet will have increased tenfold.
An addendum to the addendum, the next day I was able to move to a different room and found all sorts of beauty. Behold my toilet. I almost kissed it. Until I saw a cockroach crawl out of it. The beauty in that is that the cockroach didn’t crawl out of it whilst I was using my brand new throne.