But what is the point of life, if once in a while you do not forget your place and try to reach for the stars, eh?
This is what I and my fellow journalist from the Netherlands John (not real name) did when we swaggered into one of Kampala’s posh casinos yesterday. We first strolled around, checking out the action. After a thorough inspection, we decided that we belonged at the roulette tables.
We approached one, and John (bless his soul) asked the banker the question I did not have the courage to.
“Can we place bets of 1,000 shillings?” A few players raised their heads to stare at us.
The banker motioned us onward to another table. To avoid advertising our poverty to tables that didn’t need to know, we approached someone who looked like a supervisor, looking alert. Let’s call him Tim.
“Hey” John said. “Do you know if it’s okay to place bets of 1,000 shillings on the tables?”
“Yes, it is possible” Tim said. “Who is asking?”
“I am” John confessed.
“Please do not bet 1,000 shillings on the tables” Tim said quietly-discreetly-to John.
“But you just said I could-”
“Sir!” Tim gave me a sideways look and edged closer to John, showing me his back, in an attempt to prevent me hearing their conversation. “You are a Muzungu. You have a lady with you. You cannot place bets of 1,000 shillings. Have some self-respect”.
“Eh?” John managed to say. Tim clarified.
“Do not demean yourself”.
“Huh?” A pink flush was spreading over John’s face.
“A whole big white man like you placing bets of 1,000?” Tim was becoming agitated. “No, no no! I would advise against it, for the sake of your pride”.
In a bid to protect what was left of John’s self-esteem, we decided to walk around nonchalantly again. We passed by the bar, and ordered drinks. I was about to pay for mine when John hissed.
“Tim’s looking, Tim’s looking! PLEASE let me pay for your drink and you can refund me outside the door!”