Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The BMW, Overheating and Sudocream

When it comes to rides, Angela Merkel will tell us how Germany is top of the world with its Mercedes Benz’s, Audi’s and BMW’s. But, as if...

I was off to Gulu at a time when I owned a 318i series BMW which, had never left Kampala or even been to Wandegeya or Ntinda for pork but, between office in Industrial Area and home in Munyonyo.


It had recently been serviced, but as a precaution, at a Bwaise service station, I did a pit stop to err on the side of caution.

The 318i, in the drive to Bombo, had enough revs and horsepower under its hood to literally snap the string on the G-string of any woman who was wearing one, and who was standing at the roadside as I drove past. It was that fast.

But past Bombo, German reliability came into question with the temperature needle (far right in picture below) nowhere to be seen. Looking again, it had shot up alarmingly past the red box that indicates overheating.


Cooling down a 318i radiator is not as simple as it is on a Toyota. The radiator needs to be bled of all air pockets otherwise, it simply heats up again.

The process took two hours. Am back on the road, but half-an-hour later there is more overheating. More bleeding is done, but this time, I swung Kanzu Old Man 5k for the family jerry can to carry reserve water with me. Of course, there is no need to guess what happened 45 minutes later – is there?


318i eventually limped me into Gulu and to a function that was at a close which left enough time to show face, have a Coke, find Mechanic and return to Kampala.

Gulu Mechanic unconvincingly assured me he had 318i experience and he swung me a hefty bill for the unconvincing work he had done, and gave the usual unconvincing mechanic assurances of how I need not worry.

I took him at his word but an hour into the journey and WTF – overheating! Not once, not twice, not three times, but five times.

In a fit of frus, at 11:00pm, I abandoned the car by a roadside homestead and waited for public transport. No matter how many cars I tried to flag down, they all whizzed past with its occupants on the same thought – oyo mubbi (he’s a thief).

Transportation did arrive - an overloaded charcoal laden Fuso truck whose driver swings me two options. Up on the back with the charcoal and Turnboy, he won’t charge, but in the cabin, its 20k. We negotiate down to 15k only to find I don’t have a real seat, but a ‘seat’ on the gear box.


Anybody who has been in the cabin of a Fuso will tell you how hot it gets. They will also tell you that the gear box is hotter than a sigiri boilingkigere and if you sat on it, it will burn.

Truth be told, it didn’t burn me. It roasted my butt good and proper. There was a searing heat in between my butt cheeks almost like I was being probed with a hot cattle rod. Worse, Driver and his two companions in the cabin were on a high from chewing khaat, smoking ganja and swigging an alcoholic beverage that smelt and tasted like kerosene from a five liter jerry can. By the time they dropped me off in Wandegeya well past 2:00am, I too was high as a kite.

For the next three days, I rubbed Sudocrem on my butt and walked with clenched butt cheeks and a feeling of still having a searing hot cattle rod up inside me.

318i was sold shortly afterwards.          

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