Looking for tickets or info for the Get Happy Tour 2018 featuring Bowling for Soup, Army of Freshmen and The Aquabats?

This domain name was used for the Get Happy Tour back in its original run around 10 years ago, when I used to do work for BFS and AOF. However, for the past 5 years it has been used for my travel blog as I never thought we would have another Get Happy Tour and I didn't want it to go to waste.

But as a favour to two bands who have done a lot for me over the years, and so you don't miss out, ticket info is:
O2 Presale: 10am on 25 September
General Onsale: 10am on 27 September.

Tickets available from ticketmaster.co.uk and bowlingforsoup.com
 


Archive

Archive for March, 2012

Back home from Uganda

March 8th, 2012 No comments

I’m now home after what has been an amazing week and a bit visiting the Ekisa Orphanage in Jinja, Uganda. The visit was definitely what I needed to get a break from things and I feel it has helped me grow as a person.

The journey back took quite a while, however. I left Ekisa at 6pm yesterday – thinking this would be more than enough time to get to Entebbe Airport in time for my flight. Unfortunately we got stuck in traffic going through Kampala which meant check-in for my flight had already opened by the time we arrived at the airport. Job, the driver, did really well at getting through the traffic in typical Ugandan style to make sure I got my flight on time.

While I was in the airport I was approached by somebody doing a travel survey, which is ironic as that’s my job in the UK at the moment. It was for on behalf of the tourism studies department at a Hong Kong University and they wanted to know about peoples travel experiences in Uganda and I was more than happy to oblige. It helped kill some time between arriving at the airport and getting on the plane.

The flight from Entebbe to Brussels went smoothly and, with the air of my priority ticket, I was able to skip past the security line and transfer straight over to the other terminal to connect with my flight to London. The flight back to London went really smoothly and I arrived back home on time.

This was probably one of the most worthwhile trips I have been on. I had a great time interacting with the kids – memories I have taken home with me and will keep with me for life. Emily and Emily do a great job helping these kids and I hope to be able to continue supporting them for some time to come – and I encourage you all to help out as well. I hope one day to return to Uganda – this trip has secured the country at the top of my favourite destinations list.

Ekisa Logo

I encourage you all to help the people at Ekisa - dig deep they're worth it!

CLICK HERE to visit the Ekisa website and read more about the great work they’re doing.

Ps: Thank you to Emily, Aaron, Simon, Bridget, Stacey, Kelsey, Caroline, all of the Mama’s, all of the kids, and anybody I forgot to list at Ekisa – I had a great time visiting and I miss you all already.

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A week at Ekisa

March 6th, 2012 No comments

I’m coming to the end of what has been a great week staying at Ekisa – the kids here are great and I really like this town. Much of the time has been spent interacting with the kids at the Ekisa compound but I’ve also spent quite a bit of time exploring the town and surrounding area.

On my first full day here some of the volunteers invited me on a trip they were doing to take supplies to a primary school on the peninsula a couple of miles across Lake Victoria opposite Jinja. We started our journey by catching Bodas down to the lake front where Aaron, one of the guards at Ekisa, organised a boat to take us across the lake. The journey gave us some really good views but we got bombarded by bugs that live on the lake – piece of advice if you take a boat across the lake keep your mouth closed and wear sunglasses and a hat.

After arriving on the peninsula we caught Bodas up to the school we were due to visit, at the top of a hill overlooking the lake. Most people got there without any problems although our Boda had problems getting up the hill and I ended up ripping my trousers in the process so we arrived a long time after the others. We were greeted by the head teacher who invited us to sign the visitors book before giving us a tour of the school. The school was very basic and reminded me of the one I visited in Kenya a few years ago – holes in the wall and lack of facilities. However the children were really happy to see us and after giving out the supplies to the children we were treated to a song and dance presentation in the school hall.

The shores of Lake Victoria

A small fishing enclave on the shores of Lake Victoria

On a boat going across Lake Victoria

On the boat travelling across Lake Victoria

Arriving on the other shore opposite Jinja

Me trying to be artistic with a photo after arriving on the other side of the bay

Inside a school in Uganda

One of the better school buildings - this one had a roof and most of a wall

Once the presentation finished we walked with some of the kids down to meet our boat back to Jinja – it was a steep hill and some of the group had problems walking but the kids just ran straight down with no problems. Eventually we all got to the bottom and walked hand in hand with some of the kids to the town where the boat was due to meet us. When we arrived at the town we were greeted by a large group of kids who interacted and played with us for ages until our boat arrived to take us back to Jinja.

Walking back to our boat

Walking back down to the shores of Lake Victoria

Kids saying hello to us

Some of the kids in the lakeside village saying hello to us

Most of my other trips out from Ekisa were to town but the one thing I wanted to do this time was visit the source of the River Nile as I was unable to get there when I was in town in 2009. We caught a boda there, and I’m glad we visited, although it was mainly a tourist trap with lots of souvenirs so we did what we needed to do before catching our boda to a nearby restaurant called Mezzanine. I highly recommend visiting Mezzanine if you’re in Jinja to see the great views of the River Nile and enjoy great food (I chose the Mr Potato Head Pizza with cream, roast potatoes, onion, mozzarella and rocket).

This week I was able to spend a lot more time exploring the town of Jinja which was great. I picked up a few souvenirs but was also able to check out some of the favourite local cafes and bars such at The Keep, a highly recommended place to chill with drinks and snacks while escaping the inevitable downpours that happen most days. There have been a few other places that we’ve visited including a coffee place called Flavours, a cafe called Ozzie’s and a restaurant called Skewers but The Keep was by far my favourite – in fact I bought a t-shirt to keep the memories going.

Jinja

Jinja town centre

The source of the River Nile

The rapids have been overwhelmed by water, but this marks the source of the River Nile

Gandhi was scattered at the source of the nile

A statue of Gandhi at the source of the River Nile

A Mr Potato Head Pizza at Mezzanine

A Mr Potato Head Pizza at Mezzanine, overloooking the River Nile

The highlight of the week, however, has been interacting with the kids at Ekisa. Despite having so little, and having so many bad things happen to them, they always have such smiles on their faces and I’ll miss them. I spent quite a lot of time playing with the kids but we also took them into town a few times. One of my favourite memories was taking a few of the kids into town on Bodas so they could have sodas at The Keep – I took Paul and he had such a great time it was a pleasure to help him have a great time. There are so many great memories I’ll take away with me that I won’t mention here, although I’ll really miss Jamil and his inquisitiveness, plus Mweru and his energy but I think I’ll miss every single kid here even though I’ve only been here a week. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Emily for letting me use her room while she’s been away and to Ekisa for showing me a great time.

At Ekisa

Hand painting with Zak and Bridget

Me and Jamil at Ekisa

Me and Jamil at Ekisa

Me, Paul and Zuena

Me with Paul and Zuena at The Keep

Jinja Airfield

Outside the Ekisa gate looking towards the airfield

Hand Painting at Ekisa

Hand painting to raise funds for Ekisa

Me and Mweru

Me and Mweru at Ekisa

Mweru had so much energy

Mweru latched on to me and loved playing with me during my time at Ekisa

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Charlie : Uganda 2012

March 6th, 2012 No comments

Charlie has just returned from his first visit to Africa and he had a good time. In addition to the short stopover at Rwanda’s Kigali Airport we spent a day in Entebbe before then travelling to the town of Jinja, which I had previously visited with Dragoman a few years ago.

We weren’t in Entebbe long, as this was mainly a rest stop due to arriving in the middle of the night on my flight, so we didn’t do much but we did go work a walk and visit the zoo in order to see some local wildlife and also see Lake Victoria.

Charlie

Charlie overlooking Lake Victoria

Charlie

Charlie at the Entebbe Zoo

The majority of the trip was spent in Jinja visiting a friend who is currently volunteering at an orphanage there. Charlie stayed hidden for most of the time at the orphanage, so that the children didn’t become too attached to him, but he did come with me into town a couple of times, visited the source of the River Nile. I did manage to get one photo of him with a great kid called Jamil.

Charlie

Charlie at the source of the River Nile

Charlie

Charlie meets Jamil at Ekisa Orphanage

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