Uganda has rats. It is just part of life in Soroti and we get used to them. Bec and I own a cat who does a lot to keep us from experiencing them but occasionally, like when they are bigger than her or when she makes a gift of their carcass, then we are reminded of their presence. The day before I left was one of those days. Like most cats, ours loves to play in suitcases and I have had several out while packing. Friday morning I noticed her playing in one but didn't think more of it. I should have. This was only a few hours after I'd seen her hunting and killing a small rat outside the house. Come to find out she didn't eat it but carried it in, played with it then left it in my suitcase. Saturday night I smelled something dead and looked and looked for why my bedroom would be smelling so bad. Finally I remembered seeing her playing in the suitcase and the pieces came together. I really only had to search the bag for a second or two to find it. It stunk! Tossed the rat into the garden, washed out the bag and the clothes but it still stunk. So I turned the fan on to air out the room. Then called it a night as I had to drive more than 7 hours the following day.
|There is the little guy. Thank you so much cat for packing that for me.|
|Not a great picture but you get the idea.|
So then when a UK border control working dog sniffed out my bag in Heathrow airport in London I had to decide if I was going to explain this or not. I don't know why the dog selected my bag but it seems likely that it had something to do with it smelling rural Uganda. My bag got completely unpacked and I got thoroughly searched. They didn't find anything and eventually let me go on my way. Maybe it had nothing to do with the rats but I think it may have.
It was all a reminder of how security is a little different in the developed world. As I cleared airport customs in Uganda I didn't have to take my computer out of its case or even walk through a working metal detector. I figure I passed 9 security/customs checks and they became increasingly difficult. Chicago's were by far the hardest and the meanest and I'm an american citizen! I can't even imagine what it is like for foreigners.