Uganda II

Jinja Travel Blog

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I got up feeling pretty good regarding what happened the night before. Our group got dressed and signed up for white water rafting down the Nile.  For a good trip, I was told to have Tutu as our guide, but he had they day off so we got a guide by the name of Roberto, a 27 year old Ugandan, who had grown up on the Nile and had been guiding for 9 years, so I felt like we were in good hands.  Luckily for us we had six people, just enough so that we didn’t need to ad any one to our group.  Our group consisted of Nan, Allyson, Lynn, Becca, Megan and myself. After we practiced a few strokes, we went over the first set of rapids.  After this, we practiced getting people into the raft after they fall out.  To practice, half the boat had to jump in the water.  Now Nan was never totally sold on this trip.  She needed some convincing to come along and was rather vocal about not wanting to flip.   When she jumped in to the water it was obvious to see why.  The instant she hit the water, her legs and arms flailed in panic.  I was immediately concerned and so was Roberto.  We got here back in the boat, and decided to let her attempt the next drill, the flip drill.   Here we all get in the water and sit along side an upside down raft.  The guide gets on top and flips the boat over our head, meaning you have to go under water.  Well Nan got stuck under the raft and began to panic.  It took her a while to find her way out, and when she finally did, her eyes were like dinner plates.  Roberto suggested Nan ride in the medical boat, and she agreed.  So for the first half of our day, our crew was down to five.  But from here things got way better.  We flipped on our first real rapid, which was a lot of fun.  When I first hit the water, I had about a split second of panic, but then I felt Roberto’s dreadlocks against my shoulder and I knew if he was next to me I couldn’t be in that bad of a situation.  After we popped and located everyone, we made it back into the boat.  We did a few more rapids, no more flipping though, and then we hit some flat water.  For about twenty minutes, we just basked in the sun or jumped off the raft to swim in the Nile.  The surrounding riverbanks were beautiful, with unique rock outcroppings, bluffs, lined with lush forests inhabited by amazingly vibrant wildlife including many types of birds, large skinks and colonies of fruit bats.  The whole thing was a sensation unlike anything I had felt before.  The history of the river, coupled with the beauty of the surroundings produced unforgettable experience.  After another round of rapids, we finally stopped for lunch.  Lunch was simply sandwiches but I think it was the best meal I have eaten in Africa.  After lunch, Nan deiced to join us, claiming she could handle it if we flipped.  This made me a little worried but we forged on.  We hit some rapids, didn’t flip, and floated for a while more.  In our greater party of four boats, we had some people who had to be back to make a bus at a certain time, so we couldn’t be as leisurely as our group wanted to be.  The guides kept using the term “Boom Boom” between the each other, sort of a code word for “we need to hurry” but we picked up on the meaning pretty quick.  After rafting some more rapids and a little more swimming, we finally made to the pick up site.  There they had some amazing BBQ for us and some beers or sodas, your choice.  We then road a very bumpy bus back to the campsite.  Once we returned we all decided to get the bungee portion of this trip out of the way.  At Adrift, women may bungee free if they do it naked.  If men want to jump naked, they have to pay double.  Well three of the girls, being sound capitalists, decide to seize on this opportunity, and ask me to videotape the event.  Not the tower is pretty far away from the tower, so unless you are on the tower or in the boat, your not going to get a legitimate view of anything.  Nevertheless, as soon as the first girl prepared to jump, 40 Ugandan men arrived at the bar to enjoy the festivities.  After the girls jumped, and no, I don’t have any of the videos, I turned them over as a true gentleman would, I made my way up the tower for my baptism in to the world of bungee.  Now, I don’t know why, but I have never really been interested in bungee.  For some reason, I have always felt, of all the action hobbies one can undertake, bungee has the greatest chance of going awry.  Something about how common it is, I fear this nonchalance could breed negligence.  I decided to push all of these fears to the soles of my feet and do my best see this thing through.  Well after I sat in the chair and had my feet bound by a SINGLE strap, I made my way to the edge.  It was at this point, toes hanging over the edge, where terror set in and I was completely content simply walk away from the whole thing.  Thankfully, they give you countdown and for some reason at the end of 3…2…1…BUNGEE!!! all inhibition flies out the window and you simply trust life has not yet come to the end.  Luckily, it hasn’t.  Though the jump was fun, and you have this weird period of shear nothing, I don’t think that is something I’ll need to do multiple times in my life.   After this busy day, I was really tired and pretty much went to bed shortly after the sun went down. 

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photo by: vickie-lou