One of the unexpected events of our trip across Uganda comes from the unique places we pass through. Sometimes we stop to investigate, but mostly we just slow down and snap a few pictures. One of the places we stopped on our way to Masaka in southwestern Uganda was the small town of Kayabwe, which is the exact spot where the road crosses the equator.

I often forget, living in Texas, how hot it gets in Uganda. When we arrived here a few weeks ago, we came from an undecided Texas weather pattern, typical of Texas winter, where one day is 70›F and everyone is wearing shorts, and the next day it’s 42›F and windy. When we passed through Amsterdam on our way to Uganda, they were still in the throes of winter, everyone wearing parkas and layers of warm clothing. But when we arrived in Uganda, it was its normal tropical 85-95›F with high humidity due to its proximity to Lake Victoria. This combines to make the ambient temperature hot, hot, hot.

On Buvuma Island, in particular, it was so hot that to be in the guesthouse rooms was like sitting in a sauna. There is no air conditioning in such a situation, and the doors and windows must remain closed tight because it is gnat season, and the small gnats, lake flies, and mosquitoes swarm by the millions to any source of light. We arrived at our rooms almost at dark each day, so there was no opportunity to cool them off with the comfortable evening air or the breeze we get up on top of the hill where we stay. The temperature each night reminds us that we are on the equator.

Though every bed in every guesthouse in Uganda sports heavy winter-quality blankets on the beds, we strip them off and rarely can even stand a single sheet over us. We don’t understand the heavy blankets, and the staff always seems confused when we hand it to them and tell them we won’t need it. Do Ugandans sleep under these thick, heavy blankets in this heat? Alfred says he doesn’t use them, so we are continually mystified by this practice.

When we stopped at Kayabwe along the road south to Masaka, the locals have turned it into a tourist attraction with clearly marked “equator” signs, restaurants, and souvenir shops. Of course, Buvuma Island is directly on the equator also, I think, but the people there are blissfully unaware of it, and there is seldom what you could call tourist traffic there.

So we disembarked from the vehicle to stretch our legs, look and the exhibits and get a quick drink of something cool. The place is full of tourist buses which make their regular stops here with tourists traveling to the south and west to visit the animal parks where the authentic African animals are roaming free on the protected savannah. Near the south border with Rwanda, the famous gorilla preserve is situated, and though it is pricey to visit it, there is no lack of visitors. All of these people make the stop along the road at the Equator.

We stood on the display for pictures, shaking hands across the painted line marking the equator, one of us in the northern hemisphere and one of us in the southern. There is also a display where you can pour water on a circular pan and watch it circle the pan in the opposite direction than we are accustomed to seeing in the north.

Very seldom do we take an opportunity to do touristy things in Uganda because there is so much work to be done. But this was very congruent with our schedule and route. Gail is happy finally to have this adventure checked on her bucket list.