I once had a Bean in Affffrica


The internet connection in Uganda can only be compared to a one legged man playing tennis with Rafael Nadal – frustrating and marginally painful!  But I will persevere, even if my laptop takes the brunt of it.

With the exception of ‘The Exploratory Tongue’ incident and subsequent long term effects of massive alcohol consumption it was, without doubt the best send off any girl could ask for.

Liloo’s plane note and the book I received with all your messages made me sob like a small child deprived of candy during taxi and take off (fortunately it was dark, but I think the snorting and occasional wail may have given me away), but I managed to pull myself together thanks to Russell Crowe in chainmail and cod piece … happy days.

By the time we had cleared the clouds and the green and red of Northern Uganda filled my porthole (I know that’s a shipping term, but it sounds more romantic so just go with it!) I had adopted a fairly manic and permanent Joker like grin that frankly could have had flight staff pulling the emergency rip cord and flinging themselves, shoeless out of the plane.

Warm rain and a good dose of humidity and I was home.

The roads have not improved, the pot holes are like small lakes and the traffic is completely nuts – a friend said it was like someone had vomited Toyotas!  – but it’s still as beautiful as it ever was.

Headed straight for the office off the plane for a meet and greet; intimidating especially when nicotine deprived and not entirely lucid.  Slurred Hellos, sat in on a meeting fighting my eyelids, and after a matoke lunch (you could build a house with this stuff it’s so concrete like), launched myself into bed for a kip … only to be woken about 3.4 seconds later by The Journalist, who showed up with rental agent in tow to take me house hunting in Mwenga.

As expected the place was palatial with 5 bedrooms, two bathrooms, office, attic room and full sized garden.  Rent aside, this thing was so massive that even if we could afford it, I’d have to sell a kidney to furnish it!  The Journalist, still gushing understood and Robin took us off to peer over the barb wired wall of a shabby chic colonial style house just up the road.

It was love at first sight and The Journalist is already talking guest rooms and pagodas.

Tonight I leave for Rwanda to stay at Virunga Lodge (picture above), where I’ll be trekking for the gorillas God help me!  I’ve not done a jot of exercise in nearly 8 years so needless to say I’ll have the villagers in fits when I emerge pink faced and panting from the bush like some crazed tomato … will try to secure some pictorial evidence of the event – I know how much you like a good laugh Queenie!

Heavens have just opened and I’m questioning the leopard print pumps ….

Big Love, African Bean

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8 Responses to I once had a Bean in Affffrica

  1. Tessa says:

    WaayHEY – sounds like the Uganda I still love with a passion! Sigh. Vomited Toyotas, matoke, small lake potholes, the wrong shoes in the wrong place (heh), bad internet connection. But god, isn’t it worth it? You could be slogging through the chaos of London Tube strikes instead of getting that lovely red dust on your brand new Converse tackies!

    Queen and Bean – I see a bestseller coming out of this eventually. Keep it up and you’ll become rich and very, very famous! Now all you need is a Facebook ‘Like’ page and potential readers will coming flocking. I will alert all literary agents…..

    Whoa, Boontjie, please may we have the honeymoon suite at the Virunga Lodge when we come out for a visit? Looks like heaven on earth. The views must be absolutely staggering. More photos tomorrow, please?

    Whooshes of love from all at the Red House. xxxx

  2. Borgs minus One... says:

    Ah ha! We get written word from the African Bean and what lovely words they are. So who was the poor person you sat next to on the plane? Did they keep having to dry the tears falling on them or blank you all together?!

    London doesn’t seem the same without, from the moment you left the sun has left us only to be replaced with grey clouds and wind that gives you the chills! Tears were shed by all at the airport and we all walked away with sunken shoulders and red eyes. Everyone seemed to sulk off in different directions to their homes with heavy hearts, was all very sad – seriously don’t know how you could do that to us!

    Nothing much has changed in the 36 hours since you left, Lil-loo is really hating being alone in the flat now. If you came back I honestly think she would get up every morning and make you tea without complaint! I seem to have managed to get Mark to make me tea in the mornings when I stay over so will try and wing it that while he’s making one cup its just as easy to make one for Lisa too… not sure how well that will wash! I could be out on my ear pretty quick. Still getting to grips with the boyfriend girlfriend stuff, its now not just ‘me me me’ I have to make an exception and add him into the mix ‘me me me him me me me oh him. One day I’ll work it out. He gets back from his travels on Monday so I’ll be looking forward to all my lovely presents… oh lord, you know I can’t hide my disappointment when receiving a gift that is truly hideous. Maybe I should do what you do… joker grin it!

    So looking forward to hearing about all the monkey business you’ll soon be getting up to, I mean that in more ways than one as usual! Why you always wearing the wrong shoes – why you think we got you tackies?!

    Big love back at ya, stay safe…. xxxxxx

  3. Beeeeaaannn! You managed to post an entry ALL by yourself. I am so impressed. And grinning ear to ear to have heard from you. Keep being awesome and checking back here for news and love, from us all. Queenie xxxxx

  4. Jo-in-mourning says:

    Ah I’m so excited to read this but am exhausted after some heavy work days so won’t attempt a long ramble now. Suffice to say I’ve been thinking of you Al and I can’t wait to hear everything you’re getting up to. Ooh it was all very tearful on Friday night (although somebody needs to tell me what the “exploratory tongue incident” was all about) – I don’t know how you guys coped with the airport. But it sounds like the rest of the weekend continued to be the proper royal send off you deserved.
    Write more soon. Thanks Emma for giving me the heads up on this, its brilliant.

  5. Boring Accountant says:

    I absolutely adore this idea, well done for setting it up!

    I can’t believe that African Bean arrived in Uganda and disappeared so suddenly. For those long awaiting the return of Africa’s prodigal daughter, we’re beginning to think that her presence in Uganda is merely myth and heresay…

    I suppose this blog goes some way to convincing me that the rumours are true but, like any good accountant / statistician, I need to see the proof. xx

  6. R says:

    Hey there b,
    I wonder what it is with those leopard print pumps, seems to be your favorite choice for outdoor activities, I seem to remember they were heavily favored for trekking through the wet fields of Oxfordshire on the cold summer morning just a few weeks ago. Will you be using them again, to visit the gorillas?

    Please send some of that weather back this way, the beautiful English sky’s that you flew out from on Sunday, have been so grey and drizzle filled since you have left. :(. In fact the sun must have been attached to your blog post, as today there is hardly a cloud in the sky!

    I just looked at the Virunga lodge all I can say is wow, are you arriving by helicopter too? It looks to be the most stunning place. The ideal location for an ex-London based mountain climbing tomato!

    I don’t like the sound of your internet connection, it would give me cold chills, I would imagine your review of the current fashion mistakes on People will be now severely limited. I will endeavor to bring some House and Bones with me when I see you. Saying that, with a country that looks like that I can’t imagine that you will spend much time watching iPlayer.

    Anyhoo, back to the old grind of work in now sunny Hammersmith.. Doesn’t have the same ring as Gorilla trekking in Rwanda.

    Looking forward to more stories from the African Bean.


  7. Lilaloo says:

    Ally-wally – it is wonderful to hear how your first few days have gone. I feel like I am vicariously living it all through this wonderful blog, despite being sat at my desk with a very large cuppa! Oh reality sucks. Do make sure you read all comments from Queenie’s orginal Bye Bye Beani blog too.

    Not sure if my plane note had quite the desired effect but meant every word honey-bun, will always be there and can’t wait to come visit you out there!! That Bean book was such a genius idea too. Hopefully both note and book will remind you at times of need, how loved and special you are missy!

    Yes it is true. Borg Leader bless her, has try to appease my tears over your very abrupt absence, with the promise that Mark is now going to make me tea in the morning, now this I have to see!!

    Knew The Journo would get you to work as soon as you touched down. Bravo Anna!! How fab you have found somewhere and a stones throw from Al’s Bar – it gets even better. Shabby chic is the only way to go – fairy lights and candles and you’ll have yourself a very cosy little home.

    Can’t wait to hear about the delights of Virunga. It looks utterly stunning. You’ll be running up those hills in no time! Which reminds me…saw Haz last night for a rather traumatic bridesmaid dress sesh! Neither if us were impressed at all with the selection, plus they didn’t offer us any champagne unlike we went to Harrods!! So we just keep going back there haha! Anyway she was very excited about her potential hmoon to Ug. You are going to have a constant conveyor belt of visitors I tell you.

    Please send pics soon, a good laugh is definitely needed for a lot of us over here who are very much mourning your departure.

    Now chuck those pumps in the bin immediately and go get those taccies dirty!

    Love you, big hugs and more stories please!!!


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