Saturday, February 13

Sunday 24th January

On Thursday 21st we shoved our bicycles into a matatu and travelled to Jinja. ("Adventure Capital of Uganda!") Jinja is set up for Muzungu's and so we had an amazing coffee (affagato for me, latte for Tim - flat whites don't exist outside of Australia) and lapped up the amazing customer service at the Nile River Explorers backpackers. We read, ate great western style food (you wouldn’t believe what you get cravings for when you don't have a choice), drank cold beer and watched a rather stunning sunset over the "source" of the Nile. ("Source" is a matter of some contention - of course it is one of the sources of the Nile, in particular the "Victoria Nile" it is amazing to think though that if you carried along this river for almost 1000Kms you would end up in the Mediterranean!) We were lulled to sleep by its rushing waters and nothing else.
We went white water rafting the next day on the river. This part of the Nile is a constant balmy 27 degrees Celsius. Just perfect to cool off in the hot sun and not in the least bit painful or shocking to jump off a raft into. The paddling was really hard work (I think our 4 other passengers may have been napping while Tim and I did all the rowing up the front! I had huge blisters on both my palms. But the rapids! Oh My Gosh! So much fun! I can not recommend rafting as an adventure sport enough! The water is amazing and so powerful. We even went down a 16ft waterfall at one point! Most of the rapids were really deep so even though some were grade 5 it didn't matter if you fell out.
The next day (Saturday 23rd) we travelled back to Kampala, making sure we indulged in an amazing eggy breakfast before being squished in a bus with children, adults and chickens alike. We stayed overnight in a Chinese run hotel called "888" it was just like the place in Hong Kong, only with and extra 3ft of space either way! We spent the afternoon in Garden City shopping mall, which is full of every Muzungu in Kampala, young rich Ugandans and many Ugandans of Indian origin. We bought haribo lollies, sunscreen, coffee, used fast internet and to cap it all off went to the movies and saw Sherlock Holmes (Review: Entertaining fun, nice explosions and costumes. Well set up for the sequel.)
Today (Sunday) we travelled to Kamwenge. We got harassed onto a bus which said it was leaving in 15 minutes. 2.5 hours later we left through the dense Kampala traffic. Sitting on a bus waiting for it to leave in the middle of a hot city is not fun. People board the bus every 5 minutes selling things from sweets to shoes and meals to bed sheets. When we did get going the bus seemed to be racing another one going the same direction from a different company and went around all the corners way to fast. Ugandan roads aren't the safest full stop. Bus crashes rolling and killing all the passengers get reported in the newspapers every week. Huge fatal crashes are recorded every day because of negligent driving. Needless to say these facts where whirring around in our heads and the whole journey was pretty stressful. The bus was also overcrowded with little stools being put down in the coaches aisle, then Tim almost got left behind (much to my panic) at the toilet stop because people pushed in front of him in the line to buy water. ARGH!
When we got to Fort Portal 5 hours later, thankful to be in one piece (or two pieces really), we had a little sit down at a bar to recuperate and work out how to get to Kamwenge. Taxi being the answer. Not the mini bus taxis that are everywhere in Africa but an unmarked sedan car with a cracked windscreen and more rust than paint. We arrived first and the driver said that when 2 more people come for Kamwenge then we would go. We waited, and I went off to buy some phone credit, and got blatantly stared at so much by men that as I approached Tim at the car I slow mo ran into his arms and he twirled me around and dipped me down and kissed me. The reaction was hilarious! I swear the whole market place and street stopped to whoop and cheer at the audacious Muzungu couple!
Our taxi left when 5 more people had come. There were 5 full grown adults in the back, and another 2 adults AND the driver in the front. Then we squished another person in the front (sharing a seat with the driver) along the way. Not a particularly comfortable way to travel, but at least he was a safe driver. Not that he had much choice on a rutted road riding that that low to the ground. I'm surprised we didn't get someone in the boot, though that was wide open with all the passengers luggage roped in.  Reverend Kwizera met us in Kamwenge, he is lovely with a mouth and nose always itching to smile. Our accommodation looks good too and we met a lovely British couple working for an NGO called LINK.

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