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The best 15,000sh you can spend in Kampala

Ladies, after your basic needs of food and shelter are met, if you have the disposable income and want to treat yourself to a pedicure so divine it damn near should be illegal, get yourself to the Garden City shopping center, go to Sparkles Salon and ask for Moses. For the ~$8-10 USD believe me, you won’t be sorry!

It was so fabulous, I’m going to write a post just dedicated to this pedicure. Anyone other than women and metrosexuals should not bother clicking the “read the rest of this post” link.

So to begin, Garden City is a western-style shopping center as are all of its stores and restaurants. I had passed this salon before, but am sorry I decided to wait until my last day in Kampala to give them a try.

In looks, this salon is very similar to any salon you might see in the US. A key difference is that both men and women both do nail services. The clientèle ranged from a few western women getting haircuts or pedicures to a lot of African men getting haircuts or manicures. The salon was fairly quiet when I got there and I was assigned to Moses, an extremely attractive man (all the people who worked there were attractive and well groomed — it was like being back in LA — sort of), who didn’t say more than two word the entire time, but his hands did all the talking.

First, they do the usual nail trimming stuff — very attentively! — and then I was left to soak in gloriously hot scented bubbling water for about 10 minutes. Remember, the only cleaning my feet have gotten is while wearing shower shoes for three weeks (and my last pedicure well over a month ago) so my feet found this divine.

Then, instead of massaging my feet and legs with lotion as they do in the US, Moses spent about 10 minutes rubbing my legs with exfoliating apricot scrub. Once done Moses then scooted onto the end of the chair straddling the water bin (hello!), and proceeded to use the sprayer to make sure every spec of apricot scrub was washed from my legs. Seriously, this was not what I was expecting in a pedicure, but damn if I was going to object!

I thought that would be the end, but no, after my legs were washed and dried, he then put oil on his hands and proceeded to massage each leg for at least 20-30 minutes. I’m not exactly sure how long because at this point my senses were a little dulled, but it seemed about a half minute short of forever. For those who know me, I am ticklish as anything and usually can’t have anything like that done to my feet or much less the back of my knees. But Moses persevered, making it a goal to keep going back to my feet and behind my knees (damn!!) until they could both stand and in fact revel in the massage — he must have spent a good 10 minutes just on the back of each knee. And this was also no ordinary massage. He would vary hard and soft pressure, using his nails and varying the surface and speed with which he was massaging. Honestly, I haven’t gotten foot massages this good at fancy salons back in the US.

Eventually we moved on to the nail-painting (only complaint was you have about 10 bottles to choose from, half of them the same) and I went with a pale purple that hopefully will last the rest of my trip.

Honestly, for a city without much in the way of luxuries, this was the best bang-for-buck money I think I’ve spent yet.

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