Thursday, January 19, 2012

Nile Special

Jinja!!! The source of the Nile, and from what we hear, a haven for ex-pats and tourists, sits about an hour and a half from Kampala and about a 4-7 hour trip from hour village. We took a private matatu that the clinic hired for their employee appreciation party and they dropped us in Mbale, the next nearest large town. In Africa time, we were "keeping time". About 2:30 for a 1pm departure. After some expected and unexpected confusion, we arrived in Mbale.

We made it to the crowded, dusty taxi park and found a matatu bound for Jinja that they call “express”. Jake and I sat in the way back with a younger guy and his three chickens. Live ones, of course. I kept feeling them brush against my ankles. And the express was anything but. We kept stopping for people to get out at their respective market areas and huts followed by the passenger-rounder-upper sticking his hand out the sliding door to pick up another. We arrived at “THE round-about”, although most East African cities have many. We were unsure if it was the right one but we hopped out into the darkness anyway. We ran back to the round-about and nabbed the first boda boda (motorcycle) to take us to Bujagali Falls and the source of the Nile. All of the drivers offered us a very high “mzungu” or white person price, but we negotiated and made it safely.

Rafting the Nile was fun, and exciting, and life-threatening, and all the things that white water rafting is supposed to be. Plus it was the Nile. So that was good. And our campsite just north of Jinja had showers with a view. They were cold and it meant baring some of my goods for a few of the passers by but I jumped at the chance.

We drank Nile Specials, the local beer that sips like a fine wine compared to the sorghum concoctions we’ve been drinking in the village. Dr. Lisa and Karissa met us that evening and accompanied us into town the following day. We bought some souvenirs, most likely all made in china, and had lunch at a mzungu cafe. The guacamole was less than satisfying. I should have known better.

Coming back to Matuwa was surprisingly comforting. We have only a few short days left in the village before we head to Nairobi and finally safari. We have some work to do before we leave and a Ugandan goodbye is never hurried. Maybe we should get started now.

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