Reading Uganda

I set out late afternoon as they were baling hay in meadows along the Lune Valley, a beautiful day with hot sunshine and Ugandan clouds pushed up by thermals into fantastically billowing horizons. A buzzard appears over the motorway, wings and tail fanned in an almost perfect circle of lit plumage. Then the airport and a delayed overnight flight to Dubai, arriving early in the morning, but too late for the connection to Entebbe.

I call Hilda at Femrite to re-arrange my schedule since we’ll now lose a day. A day spent in a soulless hotel overlooking a vast, dusty building site that is this new city in the desert. Earlier we’d flown over Baghdad and the Euphrates and I thought of Wilfred Thesiger amongst the marsh Arabs in the 1950’s, predicting the end of their way of life. Fortunately I’m reading Cormac McCarthy and, lumped together with a few hundred other airport refugees, find some connection there: ‘Like pilgrims in a fable swallowed up and lost among the inward parts of some granite beast…’

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