Welcome to Uganda: Land of weapons and wild motorcyclists. Actually, they call it the Pearl of Africa, but I think my version is more accurate.
I didn’t get too close to any arms – though did notice the hostel security guard was brandishing a rifle, and signs outside bars stating “No weapons”. The actual security checks might be fairly low-key – a token gesture rather than a serious check, and largely a result of the 2010 terrorist attacks in which over 70 were killed. But it’s still a bit disconcerting when you’ve come from a peaceful place like Tanzania. (That said, driving through Kagera region in NW Tanzania today, my colleague announced cheerfully: “this is bandit country”….)I also developed useful skills in riding the back of a boda-boda – motorbike – with a backpack, through chaotic city centre traffic, without being too terrified. It’s actually quite fun, once you abandon your life to the gods and stop worrying about your legs being ripped off by a truck that you’re squeezing past, though the dust and the dirt aren’t much good for your complexion. The other option is to sit in a minibus – confusingly called a ‘taxi’ here – for a long, long time. I think I’ve done enough of that for now.