Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Scotland and Uganda

I went to see The Last King Of Scotland tonight, a movie about a young doctor who becomes personal physician and 'closest advisor' to Idi Amin, in the months following the coup in Uganda. Now this ain't a great film. The camera work is sporadic and distracting. The music has delusions of drama. But Forrest Whittikar is very good as Idi Amin, charming and lunatic yet very real and imminently dangerous. The film is supposedly inspired by true events, which by my Friend-From-Fox's definition, means it's 99% bollocks.

Some parts are pretty funny, and I like to think these are the bits based on actual events. Idi Amin, obsessed with Scotland, names his children MacKenzie and Campbell. His Ugandan choir in full native dress sings about the bonny bonny banks of Loch Lomond.

The film is set in 1970's Uganda...sun and mosquitos, dirt huts and women in colorful dresses. It is exactly the same as when I was there last year. Imagine the savings in setting a period piece in Africa! No need for sets or CGI.

This is a Ugandan taxi. And some Ugandan houses. When I was in the country, there were issues with the current administration, corruption, poverty and AIDs. And yet the people of Uganda were the most colourful and friendly of any of the African nations we visited.

And the sign on the border-crossing between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo - they still haven't changed the name. And yes I know the hair is pretty damn bad but this wasn't exactly a five-star tour...

But so quickly back to New York! I walked home though Chelsea, which is the suburb of beautiful gay men. I've never seen so many gay men in my life all clustered in one area - at 11pm on a Monday night I passed at least a dozen couples, and each member had a significant amount of facial hair. Of course, this also means there are all these really cute restaurants that do fabulous cocktails, and a lot of clubs that have been shut down in recent years due to bad behavior.

I came home to find my roommate lying on the couch in her pyjamas. Last week she was diagnosed with pneumonia, but went in to work for a few hours before giving in and coming home to rest. She thought she might have a fever, so rang the pharmacy and got them to deliver a thermometer. Take-out thermometers! Only in New York huh.

And what defines the Scottish, except their contempt for the English and incongruous musical instruments? ...The food! At one point the Doctor is asked if they have monkeys in Scotland, to which he replies "No, but if we did, we would deep fry them''.


Anonymous said...

Best cocktails in Chelsea, Flatiron Lounge. Actually, best cocktails in the City as well.

Yeah, you post a great multicultural entry filled with far off travels and world history, and I comment on Chelsea and cocktails. Oh well, I've got to be me.

CB said...

Yep, the Flatiron is the first cocktail bar I went to in NYC, and I pretty much agree. Even though I liked the first drink so much I've never tried anything different!