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Old 02-11-2007, 10:20 PM   #76
ImsaKidd
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Re: On Changing your Life

Alright I want to find out the Africa > Italy journey. So awesome.
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Old 02-12-2007, 02:09 AM   #77
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Re: On Changing your Life

Quote:

I used to worry about what I posted and my posting quality was average at best. I've stopped worrying and I think that my posts have significantly improved. This is a nice community. I wouldn't be worried about being embarrassed. As for the coolness factor, that's something that I've never considered so I don't know what to tell you. Just don't post stuff for peoples reactions. Post it because you want to.

ads,

I really like your posting style. It seems very straight-forward, and the sentences flow without a hitch. I also like the way you recount interesting stuff from your life without trying to "sell" something about yourself--everything seems natural. This is a great thread, keep it coming.
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Old 02-12-2007, 04:02 AM   #78
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Re: On Changing your Life

This is a very good read sir.
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Old 02-12-2007, 06:52 AM   #79
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Re: On Changing your Life

Quote:
idk if this is common knowledge or if you even want to say, but how old are you now?

FYC
I'm 35. The thirties are goooood.

Kampala. What a city. A mish-mash of architectural styles – 1920’s English art deco, Indian, Arabic, 1970’s concrete bunker. Over a million people living packed in together. Huge wealth right beside abject poverty. Streets with beautifully paved, tree lined avenues. Streets with no discernable path amidst open sewerage. People, people everywhere. Complete chaos on the roads. A road built with two lanes will have four lanes of traffic in either direction. Driving became a situation of playing chicken and showing who was boss. I became very good at it. Once I came to a railway crossing and the crossing gates came down. On both sides of the crossing every car filled up a space. The gate came up and there were eight cars abreast on either side facing each other. Everybody gunned it. Amazing. Mutatu taxi’s everywhere. Toyota vans with touts leaning out the side door gathering customers. These guys were crazy. A Toyota built to hold 9 people. The most I ever counted inside was 26. That doesn’t include semi-domestic animals. Corey and I became addicted to walking around the city. Exploring it’s hidden byways and nooks. Seeing an interesting building we would just enter. If they didn’t want us in somebody would tell us to leave. It almost never happened.

Everyone on the street wanted to be your new friend. Wrap-around sunglasses were mandatory. If they couldn’t catch your eye then you could slip past. We knew every bar in town. Our favorite was perched five stories high in a tiny turret overlooking the Owino markets, the massive bus and taxi park and the soccer stadium. It had a small outside balcony. We used to sit up there drinking beer and watch the pickpockets at work on the tourists. It was like a scene out of the desert city in Star Wars. A heaving mass of humanity trying to survive from day to day. When the city became too oppressive we would retreat to the luxury of the Kampala Sheraton swimming pool, and spend the day chatting up British Airways hostesses. They flew in on a nine day stopover with a shuttle to Tanzania. If you hooked up with one of them early you had a week in the Sheraton. We had the time to do this as we weren’t working much. I was averaging 2 trips a week. The Bwindi massacre had killed off Uganda’s tourism overnight. We only got paid $50 a trip. But that was still enough to live it up in Kampala. But not nearly enough to save some money for an eventual ticket out.

I’d been there about three months when Corey came to me with a proposal. He had a contact in the Ugandan Special Forces. The plan was to go into the Congo and buy coffee directly from the Belgium coffee farmers who were still inside. They couldn’t get their goods to the markets in Nairobi due to the huge war that was in full swing in the Congo at the time. Described as the first world war of Africa, it pitted 14 African nations against each other in a mad race to rape the country of its resources. Estimates put the casualties at something like 3 million. Corey wanted to go in. We would provide the money, the Ugandans the trucks and soldiers. We could buy the coffee for $3-4 a kilo and sell it for close to 4 times that amount in Kenya. I had managed to save up about $1000 at this stage, mainly from a juicy expat poker game in the American embassy. Those marines sure were crap at poker. Nice guys though. I gave Corey $500 and told him to have fun. He looked at me strangely.
“Don’t you want to come?”
“Where?”
“Into the Congo.”
“You must be mad.”
“Dude, think of the opportunity here. We get to see a war.”
“You don’t see a war, you are in a war.”

But I was tempted. It was just two days. In and out. What the hell. We went in with two trucks. The special forces captain was this big, young, smiling Ugandan called Mututu. He loved the fact that he had two mazungu’s as buddies. He gave us each an AK47. I told him that I had no idea what to do with this thing. He told me that if we were shot at just put it up over the side of the truck and press the trigger. Right, sure, whatever you reckon. Corey had brought a crate of beer along with us. We crossed the border illegally and we were in a war. Cool. Or so I thought.

We traveled at a fast pace along dirt roads for about 6 hours. We had passed through a few villages without any problems. Until we came to this one town. It was market day. It was the dry season so the ground was like cement. They had mortared the town about half an hour before we came through. There were body parts in the trees. People screaming and dragging bodies around. The brown earth was soaked red. We didn’t even stop. Just sped through with two shocked whitey faces staring out from one of the trucks. We started drinking rather heavily.

After another 8 hours or so we pulled into the coffee farm. They knew we were coming. There was this Belgium family just going about their business of growing coffee in the middle of a huge conflict. Their property was like a little oasis of peace. If you’ve seen the movie Blood Diamond, the scene where they get taken to the Africans villa in the jungle where he looks after orphaned children, it was just like that. Husband and wife and three children. The oldest was a girl about 17 years old. This wasn’t jail bait. This was get shot bait. Corey and I kept a wide berth. We purchased 700 kilo’s of coffee and stayed the night to sleep. They organized a big meal for us all. It was a charming atmosphere. Surreal. The soldiers, apart from Mututu, ate separately outside with the help. We went to bed, studiously ignoring the darted looks from the daughter.

The next morning we rose early and bade farewell to the family. I have often wondered how they managed over the next few years of war. Mututu decided to make a detour around the town that had been shelled. It meant an extra two hours on our trip. Corey and I finished off the warm beer. At one point we heard shots close by. The soldiers tensed and the truck accelerated. That was it. Hours later we were back in Uganda. The trucks headed on to Nairobi after dropping Corey and I in Kampala. We spent the next month trying to get our share of the profits. We never saw a cent. At one point I tracked the captain down in his abode in one of the nastier parts of Kampala. He was very jovial, big smiles all round. And a big gun on the table. I realized that I was in a place where I could disappear very easily. I bade him farewell and got the hell out of there. Back to the poker game for some no limit action.

Last edited by Yeti; 09-24-2015 at 12:00 AM.
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Old 02-12-2007, 07:15 AM   #80
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Re: On Changing your Life

Holy [censored], I couldn't make up stuff this good.
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Old 02-12-2007, 08:40 AM   #81
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Re: On Changing your Life

This is amazing.
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Old 02-12-2007, 08:42 AM   #82
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Re: On Changing your Life

Good lord this is awesome.
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Old 02-12-2007, 09:03 AM   #83
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Re: On Changing your Life

Ha ha it just gets better. But when did you first pick up your poker skills?
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Old 02-12-2007, 10:21 AM   #84
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Re: On Changing your Life

In all seriousness, please get a publisher. This story is absolutely amazing.
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Old 02-12-2007, 12:51 PM   #85
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Re: On Changing your Life

adsman, can you give rough dates on this stuff?
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Old 02-12-2007, 01:46 PM   #86
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Re: On Changing your Life

Quote:
adsman, can you give rough dates on this stuff?
Lets see. Left Perth beginning 1994. Moved to Cairns end of 1994. Went to Canada in 1997. Made the move to Uganda in February 1999.

For those of you telling me to get a publisher, thank you for your faith. Unfortunately the list goes editor - agent - publisher. I'm working on the editor part. We'll see what comes out of it.
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Old 02-12-2007, 03:16 PM   #87
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Re: On Changing your Life

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Ha ha it just gets better. But when did you first pick up your poker skills?
Ads,

Poker just "shows up" in your latest chapter. A little poker history, be this a poker forum and all, would be great.

Again, another amazing chapter, well done!

-Joe
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Old 02-12-2007, 03:31 PM   #88
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Re: On Changing your Life

I havent real everything yet but i will. This is really good.
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Old 02-12-2007, 04:03 PM   #89
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Re: On Changing your Life

adsman have you seen Last King of Scotland, anything jump out at you as particularly true or untrue? (if you haven't seen it, i recommend it very good movie)
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Old 02-12-2007, 04:12 PM   #90
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Re: On Changing your Life

Quote:
adsman have you seen Last King of Scotland, anything jump out at you as particularly true or untrue? (if you haven't seen it, i recommend it very good movie)
I've read the book which didn't really grab me very much. I haven't seen the movie. I did see Blood Diamond last week which is set in Sierra Leone at the same time as I was in Africa. It is excellent and does well to convey the time. Di Caprio I don't normally have much patience for, but his portrayal of how a slim white guy has to behave to survive was spot on. The perfect mix of implied threat and possible nice guy/friend. It's exactly what I had to do.
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Old 02-12-2007, 04:15 PM   #91
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Re: On Changing your Life

adsman -- Have you read We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families, about the Rwandan genocide? The latter portion of the book deals with Congo war and specifically Museveni's involvement in a number of regional conflicts.
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Old 02-12-2007, 04:23 PM   #92
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Re: On Changing your Life

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Its probably best you didn’t have poker cause you wouldn’t be in all these adventures
I don't think this is true at all.
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Old 02-12-2007, 04:26 PM   #93
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Re: On Changing your Life

Quote:
adsman -- Have you read We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families, about the Rwandan genocide? The latter portion of the book deals with Congo war and specifically Museveni's involvement in a number of regional conflicts.
Never heard of it. I've just added it to my amazon cart, thanks for that. Yeah, President Museveni was in the Congo big time. Minerals and timber. He's a strange chap. When I was there he enjoyed a golden boy reputation amongst western leaders. However, in the last few years I've heard some disturbing stuff from friends still living there.
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Old 02-12-2007, 04:51 PM   #94
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Re: On Changing your Life

Quote:
Quote:
adsman -- Have you read We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families, about the Rwandan genocide? The latter portion of the book deals with Congo war and specifically Museveni's involvement in a number of regional conflicts.
Never heard of it. I've just added it to my amazon cart, thanks for that. Yeah, President Museveni was in the Congo big time. Minerals and timber. He's a strange chap. When I was there he enjoyed a golden boy reputation amongst western leaders. However, in the last few years I've heard some disturbing stuff from friends still living there.
Yeah, he was a bit of a reformists' shining star there for a while, but it's faded somewhat. During the 80s and early 90s he had loads of ties to the Rwandan exile community in Uganda, which eventually developed into the Ugandan-backed Rwandan Patriotic Front. The RPF "liberated" Rwanda from the Hutu Power government and got involved in the Congo largely under the guise of bringing justice to the genocidaires (raiding the refugee camps across the Zairean border, where many of the perpetrators hid amongst legitimate refugees of the multiple wars).

So Museveni had a bit of a shine as being on the side of the "good guys." He's actually also done quite a lot to try to reform the political and economic system, Westernizing somewhat and making Uganda more attractive to foreign investors. But there's still a hint that he has something of a Mugabe complex and wants to hang on a bit long, which is where a lot of the contemporary criticism comes from.

Your posts have been great. I think the Africa stuff is the best yet, which is saying quite a lot.
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Old 02-12-2007, 06:35 PM   #95
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Re: On Changing your Life

this keeps getting better and better.
ty for your time and effort on this.
michael
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Old 02-12-2007, 06:40 PM   #96
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Re: On Changing your Life

Quote:
Quote:
adsman have you seen Last King of Scotland, anything jump out at you as particularly true or untrue? (if you haven't seen it, i recommend it very good movie)
I've read the book which didn't really grab me very much. I haven't seen the movie. I did see Blood Diamond last week which is set in Sierra Leone at the same time as I was in Africa. It is excellent and does well to convey the time. Di Caprio I don't normally have much patience for, but his portrayal of how a slim white guy has to behave to survive was spot on. The perfect mix of implied threat and possible nice guy/friend. It's exactly what I had to do.
Interesting. I'm a slim white guy who's about to go to Tanzania for a month. Hopefully I won't get caught up in any civil wars, but any more tips?
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Old 02-12-2007, 08:41 PM   #97
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Re: On Changing your Life

Outstanding thread! thanks for posting. I will be saving this.
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Old 02-12-2007, 09:07 PM   #98
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Re: On Changing your Life

Very entertaining read. Please keep going!
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Old 02-12-2007, 11:59 PM   #99
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Re: On Changing your Life

Just wanted to say that this is an awesome read. You are really talented.

adsman deserves a custom title!
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Old 02-13-2007, 02:48 AM   #100
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Re: On Changing your Life

adsman,

Can't say this enough man.. thank you.
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