So here I am in pre-dawn Brussels, after an eight-plus-hour hop along a route I’ve never flown before: from the Equator, over the source of the Nile, over Elba and Malta and Turin — cities with historical resonance ranging from Napoleon, to falcons, to shrouds — and touching down in Brussels.
I’ve been fortunate to be traveling business class and on this trip have availed myself of the associated benefits as never before. No, I don’t mean plundering the free food and drinks, rather the free internet access and most humanising of all, the shower facilities!
Though I admit to a brief moment of sadness as I washed off the dust and humidity of my home continent. An early close to the retreat provided me with the opportunity to get out of the hotel and make an unannounced (or as I call it, ‘parachute’) visit to our offices in Kampala. The visit and colleagues were great.
The taxi ride gave me a mini-tour through part of the city on a wonderful sunny day with perfectly temperate climate; a view of bushes and trees groaning with avocadoes, mangoes, lady finger bananas and passionfruit (a.k.a. grenadillas), and that was just in random gardens. (I have been over indulging in all of the above all week, as well as the endlessly delicious varieties of goat and root dishes, at every meal.)
That unmistakeable smell of Africa, of the soil; the scattered blooming jacaranda trees punctuating the graduated shades of green with flashes of mauve (yeah, yeah, I am all for invader species removal, but as a Pretoria gal you have to allow me this one, Brazilian import) the soundtrack of Bantu-tongues and bees (and yes, large mosquitoes) buzzing lazily. It is something to miss.
Oh… boarding announcement, time to log off and take off.