The Journey Continues
These past two weeks have felt like a movie, only this movie has a little bit from every genre. There was action while rafting on the Nile River, adventure while being “lost” in Kilimanjaro National Park, drama while being told I can’t cross into a country, comedy throughout the trip, horror in the feeling of falling off a mountain in the middle of the night, sci-fi when seeing possessed headless chickens do back flips and romance in the wedding I attended.
The intro opens up in Jinja, about an hour from Kampala. I get settled in the first night and a woman who works with Adrift talks to us about options for the next day. I decided on bungee jumping and whitewater rafting on the Nile River. We were up early the next day and started our jumps at 9 a.m. Matt and I jumped off backwards. It felt so sacrificial. Falling and staring at the sky until the slack came out of the rope and half my body went into the river.
After everyone finished bungee jumping, we set off to the river, which was a half hour drive. Matt and I met some guys from Iceland and ended up riding on their raft because we asked if we could go on an “extreme” raft. “Extreme” came to mean going into the hardest part of the rapid and flipping over. There were six rapids in total. One was a class five rapid and the others were fours and threes. I don’t know what I was expecting to come across, but what happened to me was not it. I can say that I have never been surer that I was going to die, in my life, then on that day. The feeling of flipping out of the raft, literally being sucked underneath the water, trying to come above for a breath and hitting the raft and finally coming up out of the rapid was a scary experience. I said that would be something I could do every few years, maybe if I learned in a kayak on easier rapids, those big ones were crazy.
I came back from Jinja on a Tuesday thinking Matt and I had to be in Mombasa, Kenya on Saturday, but found out we needed to leave the next morning at 8 a.m. So we got a taxi to Kampala, took out money and bought bus tickets.
Our Ugandan friend Oscar told us that if we left the house at 7 a.m., we would get there on time. It took a minute to get the taxi and then at 7:30 we hit a jam, a huge jam. We had to get out and arrange a boda boda (motorcycle) to take us to the bus. On the way, my boda driver was weaving in and out of traffic until a girl took a step into the middle of the street without looking. The driver swerved and then I felt the girl hit my leg. Flying overhead and landing 30 feet in front of me was the girl’s flip-flop. My driver stops and a guy came up, took the keys out of the ignition and threw them at the driver. He kept trying to drive off, but the guy was yelling at him in Luganda but probably saying, “Get out and deal with this! You just hit someone!” Matt rolls up on his boda behind me and I jump on. This guy got us to the bus by 7:50. I gave him 20,000 shillings because I thought the agreement was for 10,000 a piece. The guy was so happy and giving me a thumbs up and saying, “Yay, Kenya!” I was like, “yeah, thanks,” and got onto the bus. Matt asked about the payment and I said I gave him 20,000 and how the guy was excited. Matt said, “Well yeah, you just paid for an awesome meal for his family tonight. It was only supposed to be 10,000 for both of us.”
The bus was scheduled to arrive in Mombasa at 3 a.m. and we arrived at 7 a.m. Our friend whom we met upon coming to Uganda, Francis or Fazil (depending on if you are in Uganda or Kenya), had been waiting since 3 a.m. and the first thing he asked was whether we wanted to check into hotel because we had to be tired. This is one of the nicest people I have ever met. He is so selfless. Fazil showed us around Mombasa and took us to the Indian Ocean. The tide was out at the time so we were able to walk out for a half mile and the waves were breaking another mile out. It was pretty neat. One major difference I found at 7 a.m. between Uganda and Kenya are the taxis. In Uganda, the taxis do not play any music, the taxi comes to a complete stop for people to get in and a person pays when they get out. In Kenya, the taxis have a professional grade stereo system equipped with at least five tweeters, subwoofer and amp; it gets very loud. Some of the taxis would also have a TV screen playing music videos. Kenya is more aggressive and fast paced, and this shows in the taxi driving. The taxi does not come to a complete stop for someone to get in or out and the conductor demands money immediately after the person sits down. It was a small culture shock but nothing like what was to come.