I just had a look at the last blog, its been a while since our last update, but don’t be fooled, that’s not because there is nothing to talk about. After all we have had Christmas, and Yew Year to contend with, not forgetting Mums now internationally famous Christmas cake! Unfortunately given that we are cycling across Africa, we haven’t done much cycling.
The Last Blog was written by Ian in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. we only stayed on Kampala for one night so on the following day we left though some of the worst traffic we have encountered so far. Maybe it’s something in our make up that meant we both really enjoy fighting for space with the mini busses, motorbikes, taxis, lorry and pedestrians. With the odd kick here, and the odd shout of W****r there, we survived unscathed ready to fight another day! The next 50 miles took us to a town called Jinja located at the source of the River Nile. The Nile doesn’t begin slowly startng at full power flowing out of Lake Victoria as a 50+ meter wide channel.
We stayed at a place called Nile River Explorers Campsite (http://www.raftafrica.com/campsite.htm
), about 5 miles out of Jinja itself with a spectacular view over looking Bujagali Falls. We had planned to stay for one night before getting back onto the bikes and heading out to Kisumu, but after one night in the campsite bar and a morning reading out on the terrace on perfect sunshine, overlooking one of the best views in Africa it was hard to leave. Maybe we should stay? We decided to let the lucky coin decide! (In case we haven’t mentioned all decisions on EOA are made using Rock Paper Scissors or the flip of a lucky 1EUcent coin that we just couldn’t seem to loose after leaving Spain.) Heads we stay at the Nile for Christmas, Tails we go to Kisumu. As I’m sure you have guessed by now, it landed on Heads. On Boxing day (Dec 26th) we made a similar decision, New year at the Nile or Nairobi. That time it took three attempts to get the right answer. In the end we did eventually leave on the 2nd of Jan, out bodies simply couldn’t cope any more. We shared a dorm the whole time with a Finnish Courple called Anna and Esa. On our last day Esa drew the cartoon that I have attached to this blog, as you can see we got to know each other quite well!
I can almost hear you all shouting “What’s so good about this place?” Well ill tell you a few of the stories (the ones that are not too shocking to be read by our mothers). First there was White Water Rafting on the 23rd. apparently the White Nile in Uganda is one of the best places to experience white water in the world and sadly due to the construction of a new hydroelectric dam half of the rapids will disappear in less than a year. This was far to tempting a carrot for us to refuse! So we paid US$115 each and picked up our paddles. On the ride to the start we met an Australian traveler called Bec and along with her and three other Japanese girls we took to the water. Then we fell onto the water, got out, then in again, then out… you can see where this is going, out boat flipped on 10 of the 12 rapids. We loved it. In fact we kept telling our guide to take us the hardest route just so we could get thrown out and get more air time! The day was so good Ian and I plan to raft in the Zambezi near Victoria Falls, apparently the rapids there are even better!
On Christmas Eve we spend a fantastic night in the bar with the highlight defiantly being Ian’s failed pulling technique. A girl asked him for a dance, instead of saying yes or even no, for some reason unknown even to him he growled at her! Needless to say she made a quick retreat and we never did get her name!
After the parties of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day was a quiet affair with a few drinks over a Christmas dinner of roast Beef and Chicken with all the trimmings. In the equatorial warmth it didn’t feel like Christmas but although Bec did pointing out that it was a cool Christmas for her. Ian and I both called home and spoke to our families, only gloating slightly that they were in cold snowy England and we were just about to go for a swim in the Nile to cool off! The Christmas cake that Mum cooked at home and delivered to us in Tanzania went down a storm. Some people ate gingerly at first before talking bigger and bigger pieces. Esa Particularly loved it constantly threatening to rob it so he could have it all to himself. Well done Mum!
After a few nights of serious partying I needed an early night by Sunday, but heading to bed early when you share a dorm is a dangerous thing indeed. I woke up in the small hours with a live chicken pecking at my head, an unusual alarm clock. Apparently the conversation outside had gone something like this, “Has anyone got a marker pen”, “no”, “ok, lets buy a chicken and throw it in his bed”. Obvious really. But that wasn’t the end of the night for the chicken, after snoozing on my pillow, Ian, Anna, Esa, Bec and a Kayaker called Julian wend round the camp opening tents and throwing the chicken onto the unsuspecting occupants. One couple didn’t even notice, only discovering the chicken in the early hours of the morning!
New Year was really the night of nights. The true highlight of our time at the Nile, a lot of people said the morning after, including myself, said that it was probably the best New Year’s party they had ever been too.
The night began slowly but there was no problem, people were just pacing themselves for a long night, it didn’t last. And it didn’t. By 11 the drinking games were out and just before midnight the real party began. The previous night a few people were talking about Skinny dipping, by the time midnight approached I found myself running down the steps to the river like the pied piper leading 40 or more people down to the water. I dived in first and by the time I surfaced about 10 others were already in the water or diving. Everyone was cheering, shouting ‘Happy New Year”. No one was really sure when new year happened, but no one really cared, we were in the water for 10-15min just to be sure! What a way to bring in the New Year and the new decade. Naked in the Nile! Everyone returned to the bar where the party was now in full swing, it didn’t take long before we were all dancing on the tables, hugging everyone in sight and running from Ian who was now wearing a dress bought specially for the occasion!
We were in Jinja for 12 nights, those are some of the best stories but there are so many more that I can’t fit or more likely shouldn’t talk about here. It was one of the main highlights of the entire of EOA so far, ok it wasn’t a classically African Christmas or New Year but it was defiantly a party to remember.
When we Left Jinja it was hard to say goodbye to the friends that we met there. Some we will meet again (to deliver more Christmas cake) and some sadly we probably won’t but I’m sure no one will forget the parties of that fantastic few days on the Nile
After the parties reality hit back hard as we cycled through a massive storm on our first day out of Jinja but we will survive somehow. Back on the Bikes again heading for Nairobi and beyond.