Times when I just can’t sleep!
There is a law here (I’m told) that bars and disco halls must close and music be turned off at midnight. No loud music after midnight. But… like many other laws, do you think this one is followed? Fat chance! Friday and Saturday nights you will often hear music all through the night – there’s no reprieve! In theory, the closer you are to town the louder it is but you never know when a party may spring up in your neighbourhood. An African party, surely those traditional instruments mustn’t be that loud you say? Sadly, this is where the west has made some of its biggest influence and you cannot have a party, wedding or even a funeral without a set of speakers almost as tall as me! We recently had a traditional wedding in the neighbouring compound – the music was so loud that I could literally feel the vibrations through my body. This lasted for about 35 hours. I didn’t even bother trying to sleep that night, just read a whole book with Michael Bublusic, on my iPod attempting to soothingly drown out next door’s shindig.
I did get excited one loud night when electricity went out in the middle of one of these events – but have no fear there’s a generator on standby, and they certainly make sure they drown out the roar of the generator.
Daniel doesn’t even have to watch the football (soccer) these days. He just checks the score when he hears a loud cheer from the nearby video hall (temporary structure made of bamboo and papyrus two small televisions; locals pay 12p/21c for the privilege of cramming in to watch the game).
Ironically, Ugandans have extremely good hearing – they talk very softly and I often have to ask them to repeat themselves several times. You wouldn’t think this though when it comes to music time! Over the years they have grown so accustomed to that constant noise, especially during sleeping hours, that I know of some locals who have to crank the volume up on their earphones to put themselves to sleep.