Eventually, you will find yourself at Four Points by Sheraton, Kampala. You had waited for the dust to first settle and the FOMO to die out. And here you’re, at the entrance, with armed guards checking your car and fidgeting with your boot. It’s hilarious to see. But you say, “Nomuriimo gwabo!”
It’s a busy day. You can tell. There’s a long queue behind you and impatient folks’ hands are hovering over the horn. There’s no parking in the first basement section. So, you drive down this long maze. And you appreciate brainy engineers who dug that tunnel. You dig them. There’s a tight spot, but you have a small car. You squeeze yourself and park.
You fear elevators, but the person you’re here to see is on the 8th floor. A few profanities escape your mouth as you ride a short elevator to the reception area. You hate it. It’s stuffy and scary in there. And lonely. At the reception, there’s this girl who grins and asks you, “Where are you going, sir?” You resist the urge to be petty and you tell her, “8th floor. “Over here,” she opens the elevator for you. Your status is elevated.
Don’t they have staircases?
You enter the elevator. Again, it’s stuffy. And lonely. You’re scared. Why? Because you have watched many elevator movies. Plus, your last experience with the elevator wasn’t good. You remember electricity went off midway and you were there reciting the rosary. It spreads open (I mean the elevator, you pervert), and these beaming lights and colourful décor and playful designs and a waitress smiles at you and welcomes you and calls you sir, again.
You meet your host, slouch in these uncomfortable seats as you run your eyes around the establishment, inspecting every inch. You open cold ones with your host and dive into your usual banter. You scan the menu, and you quickly realize that you can easily buy a piece of land in Kitukutwe with a single beer’s money. So, you drink sparingly. You become an instant teetotaler.
You walk around and marvel at the scenic view of Kololo. It’s dark. But you can still see potholes from a distance. And trees. And blinking lights of cars coming from a long day of corporate slavery. You see people. Many people. People on dates. People closing deals. People catching up after 10 years. People laughing loudly. People dressed like Congolese. People straight from Kikuubo with money stuffed in socks. People with girls in small clothing and a big appetite. People who’re uncomfortable in those cheers.
You stop drinking at three beers. The bill drops at your table. You quickly look away as if it bites. Your host invites you to the room downstairs (they have 142 rooms). Look, you’re impressed by the aesthetics. There are large pieces of art clinging onto the walls jealously. The bed is larger than Hilderman’s. And you admire the view, overseeing the affluent Kololo area with its aging houses, canopy trees and, again, gazillion potholes.
It’s time to leave. To fear the elevator again. It’s time to go back to your usual kafunda. But there’s something not right, you think. Yes, it’s a massive establishment, engineered to near perfection. You can tell money was sunk into this project. But it’s not worth the hype. You ask your host, and they tell you the food is basic and pricey. You hate the designs patched on the wall towards the public loos that have since been etched in everyone’s SnapChat story. You hate the service. You hate the random crowd with everyone asking you to take their pictures. You hate the long lonely but scary ride down.
But you like the gate that patted open for you to leave.