Saturday, June 9, 2007

Into Africa

We've made it! We're hanging out with some resident monkeys (not a joke) at the Red Chilli Hideaway, Kampala, Uganda. We've gotten here without Laura's baggage... it was lost in transit to Nairobi and has not arrived for a couple days now. We are supposed to find it in Kigali, Rwanda tomorrow. I hope so... a woman without her "stuff" isn't fun to deal with.

Unfortunately, no pictures today. We don't have access to the computer to load our pictures. Hopefully, this doesn't become a habit throughout the trip but it very well could.

We arrived in Nairobi at 10 pm at night. We took a taxi to a hotel and hit the sack hard. The city had a lot of noise but what really woke me up was the 5am mosque music that played to the entire city. I've never been woken up by a mosque so that was a first. We decided to spend the day in Nairobi hoping that Laura's bag would arrive during the day. It didn't so we hopped on a 12-hour bus ride to Kampala, Uganda. The bus ride ended up taking 15 hours and was a true body test. I've never been thrown from my seat more times than in this single ride. The rodes were horrendous and our bodies payed dearly for it. The driver was not afraid to hit them hard and hit them all (so it seemed). Needless to say, almost no sleep all night in the bus.

The bus had a number of stops along the way but none more interesting than the border between Kenya and Uganda. This border was completely chaotic with nobody giving you a clue as to what needed to be done. To add to this, the town idiot was running around to everybody and laughing sadistically in everybody's face. He actually spooked me a bit until some random guy just punched him in the chest... ahhh, border wars.

Once daylight broke, we were able to see the Ugandan countryside. Not even Vermont is this green. Beautiful countryside but laden with poverty. I've never seen more shantitowns in my life and children running around with no shoes or even clothes. Lots of people worked the land.

Eventually, we landed in Kampala where we got a room at the Red Chilli Hideaway. This place is awesome. We got a power nap to deal with how tired we were. Then, it was off to the streets of Kampala.

There is a world of difference between Kampala and Nairobi. Nairobi has all the traditional big city stuff, big hotels, internet cafes, nice restaurants, etc. Unfortunately, the city has a really unsafe feel to it. We've been surrounded by safari-pushers and lots of people staring us down. Eventually, we made it to city park which appeared to be a nice place. Then, a "Church of Latter-Day Saints" guy stoped us and told us not to go near the park at night... people die there!! Great...

Kampala has been much more inviting. The people greet you with a smile even though you stick out like a sore thumb.

Tomorrow, it is back onto the bus to get to Kigali. Laura's bag is supposed to be there. Then, on the 12th, we will see the mountain gorillas!



tonyp said...

great story so far--the bus ride sounds like some of the rides Greg and I have taken to go to a hunting camp way off the beaten path--rough and scary!!! good luck with the backpack catching up to you guys.

Greg said...

Hi guys,

Sure sounds like typical International airline travel. But nothing else is typical ........ you lucky dogs. Try to recall the trials and tribulations are also a big part of your memories.

All is sunny and 70's here in Vermont.

Give our best regards to the grillias tomorrow.

Greg said...

Me again. I just noticed the time shown for my note from Vermont is USA EST.

Also recalled I wanted to tell you I really enjoyed the stats in your Blog for trip to VT.

Bye again ... 0827 ESDT - 6/11/2007

Jeff Coburn said...

12 hour bus rides....crazy people laughing in your face....sounds like the Vermont public education system to me.