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Vision Empire -

In Mbarara, a town with 250,000 inhabitants, there is only one place to go out at night. It is called Vision Empire and every week it offers three nights of fun and drinks. Wednesday is ladies night, Thursday is reggae night and Friday is whatever night.

I went there on Friday with Pidson and a few more friends. It was literally whatever night, from bad American 80s pop to good Ugandan hip-hop and reggae. It’s 12 something when we head to Vision Empire. The price of admission is visible at the door: USh 3,000 for the regular room, USh 7,000 for the VIP room. US$3.5 is reasonable for a VIP room and Pidson won’t let me go to the regular room. ‘Girls are on the VIP room’, things don’t change just because you’re in Africa.
Pison and I before heading to Vision Empire. Notice how black shirt is the uniform

In fact, when we arrive there are no girls or boys. The place is empty. ‘Too early’, complains Pidson. Dinner was too short. I go to the bar and order a drink, ‘gin and tonic please.’ ‘Excuse me?’ I try once more and give up, clearly that is not a normal order. ‘One vodka sprite, please.’ The waiter brings me a 0.375 liter bottle of vodka and a fresh sprite. That’s half a regular bottle of liquor in case you’re not familiar with the metric system.  ‘Can I have a glass please?’ He brings a glass and that’s all the cocktail. Ice is overrated, which makes sense because it’s hard to trust that they boil water before freezing into ice cubes. I take my ‘cocktail’ but after a couple of glasses everything is warm and tastes awful. It’s better to stick to cold beer.

One vodka sprite, please!

Pidson insists in finding me a girl despite my warnings that I’m not interested. ‘Man, here you just have to choose, you’re white, every girl looks at you.’ It is actually not true as I see some girls looking in our direction and clearly more interested in Pidson and Nicholas.

The party is over around 5, not because Vision Empire is empty but because we have an early morning drive to Queen Elizabeth Park. Unfortunately I don’t have good pictures from Vision Empire. They don’t allow cameras inside the place. The reason? Some people bring cameras to shoot celebrities and then publish the pictures in magazines. Who would say Mbarara is such a celebrity spot?

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