Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Word From Uganda

This week I got more mail from Uganda than I've ever gotten during the rest of my life so far. Both pieces were from Ed, of course.

Ed actually mailed the letter from his home base in Washington state, but he'd acquired the envelope at the Paraa Safari Lodge at Murchison Falls. The postcard, on the other hand, was mailed in Uganda. It pictures Murchison Falls.

"The River Nile, on its journey from its source at Lake Victoria to join Lake Albert -- here it is suddenly channeled into a gorge only six meters wide, and cascades 43 meters below," explains the Paraa Lodge web site. Cool.

The stamps on the card inspired me to check up on Ugandan currency, since I couldn't remember what they use. Shillings (Ush). Good for them. One stamp is Ush 1,200, the other Ush 700, for a total of 1,900 shillings postage. According to, it's very nearly 2,500 shillings to the U.S. dollar, so that's not so bad to mail a card from the Pearl of Africa to the heart of darkest North America.

One stamp depicts the Bell's Hinged Tortoise, the other the Rastrinebola agentea fish, no common name given. But Wiki tells me that, as a denizen of Lake Victoria, it's "local names are omena (Kenya), dagaa (Tanzania) and mukene (Uganda)," and I'll go along with that.

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At 10:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bell’s Hingeback Tortoise was named for (and, I suspect, first described by) the British naturalist Thomas Bell (1792-1880). Also sharing his name: the Butterfly Lizard (Leiolepis belliana); Bell’s Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta belli); Bell’s Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus belli); Bell’s Anole (Leiosaurus belli); Bell’s Forest Dragon, (Gonocephalus belli); Bell’s Skink (Evesia belli); Bell’s Turtle (Elseya belli); Bell’s Oak Forest Skink (Eumeces lynxe belli); and the Tree Iguana (Liolaemus belli).


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