Jinja Travel Blog

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This day really didn’t have a beginning.  We took the night bus from Nairobi to Jinja, Uganda and didn’t sleep a wink.  We arrived at the boarder just before sunrise.  At the boarder there are money changers with wads of cash to trade.  My brain has never felt so inept as at did at this point.  I changed 4000 KSh to 104,000 USh.  The denominations were only 10,000s and 1000s but my mush brain could not do the math.  I sat there and tried to count my money for about ten minutes.  After about six attempts, I confirmed I had the proper amount, we went through customs and entered Uganda.  On the other side, the money traders came up to our group and claimed someone had gotten way to much money.  We were all half asleep and everyone smelled a scam.  We had all changed money with the same guy and he claimed someone had changed 14,000 KSh.  We explained how none of us had changed that much money.  We argued for about a half hour, voices were raised, a crowed gathered, and finally Becca woke up and realized she had changed 14,000.  We recounted and found she had been over paid by 100,000 USh.  After another 3 hours of bumpy bus travel, we arrived in Jinja.  We were dropped off at a gas station where we were instantly surrounded by motorcycles and bicycle taxies.  We jumped on the motorcycle taxis (called boda bodas), two to a bike, and headed down to Adrift.  It was pretty surreal listening to MIA while riding on the back of a boda boda under the gorgeous Ugandan sun as the lush, jungle landscape of Lake Victoria and the Nile River Valley roll by.   We cruised for a while down the streets of Jinja until our boda boda arrived at a rafting site.  We got off our bikes but something felt a little off.  The Adrift camp had been described to before we left and this site didn’t look anything like it was supposed to.  I stalled a little bit on the payment until I received the phone I expected.  Megan, a girl who had been to Uganda three times prior, called me and said we had went the wrong way.  After explaining this to our drivers, we hopped back on our boda bodas, met Meagan at the turn around, and headed toward Adrift.  When we finally arrived at Adrift and I paid the agreed upon amount, our drivers asked for more since they traveled to two sites.  I told them to go to hell and we continued on our way.   The Adrift site was beautiful, right on a bluff overlooking a set of rapids on the Nile.  I hung out for a while and just took in the whole experience, but then I couldn’t keep my eyes open from lack of sleep.   I retired to my room, (which were also very nice and only $10 a night) and slept until about 5pm.  After I woke up, I headed to the bar and met the girls.  We downed some Tuskers and did some mingling with the other guests and staff.  I chatted it up with Aho, the river guide, joked with Jack, the bungee guy, and took shots with the bartender Wyclef. Now Becca, the volunteer mentioned earlier, is only 17 and finished high school a semester early.  She was missing her senior prom so we promised to take her out for her prom.  Being the only guy in the group, I got the honor of being Becca’s Prom date.  We all jumped on bodabodas and headed into town.  We went to a club called Sombreros, a quaint little place with a small dance floor.  Well  it was me, two tall, blondes and a small, slim Korean in a Ugandan nightclub.  I don’t know how familiar my average reader is with the allure of foreign women to African men, but believe me it is potent. This forced me to spend a majority of evening shielding these women from over ambitious suitors.  After about an hour of this, we jumped on some more boda bodas, headed back to Adrift and called it a night.

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photo by: vickie-lou