Thursday, December 4, 2008

Nile High Club

I’m back! I’m safe!
For all of you who are hopelessly unaware about the events of my life, I spent my self-created (read: skipping class) Thanksgiving break in Uganda with five friends, rafting the Nile.
It was one of the most amazing experiences of my short life. It took us about 26 hours to get there because we went with the safe route, taking an overnight, 15-hour train ($9 for a private sleeper) to Kisumu (home of Obama!, according to the locals). From there we peered at Lake Victoria and hopped on a matatu to the Kenya-Uganda border. After walking through the border and paying the very high white people visa price, we got on another matutu to Jinga, Uganda.
After a Thanksgiving Dinner of pizza and beer on a patio overlooking the Nile, we stayed the night at the rafting company’s river camp. The next morning bright and early we hit the water, taking a raft through Class 4 and 5 rapids all day (craziest experience ever). That night we relaxed by the campfire and ended up sleeping outside because the bunks were too hot. The next morning we went through more insane rapids, ate lunch on a rock, and then spent the afternoon river surfing, which is where you take a raft or boogie board into a rapid that constantly circulates and surf until it decides to suck you in and spit you out. There were crocs in the same river I was swimming in, a concept I still can’t quite get over. The rapids were so scary, but we couldn’t get enough of them. Also, there were several Ugandans in kayaks following us down the river to fish us out, find our oars, etc.
Then when we got back, because that wasn’t quite thrilling enough, I went bungee jumping over the Nile.
What a weekend.
Overall, I loved Uganda as a country. It’s being torn up with a terrible civil war to the north right now, but where we were it was gorgeous. Despite being much poorer than Kenya, the wealth disparity is much much smaller (no Nairobi equivalent to suck out all the wealth), the people there were much better off. I loved the place, I miss it even though I was only there for four days. If I come back to East Africa, I’ll come in the Nairobi airport... and then immediately bus out of it. :-)
We then took a overnight bus back to Nairobi to make it back in times for finals. In retrospect, that was probably much more dangerous than the rafting or the bungee jumping. We slept in shifts and were careful, but there was some hijacking risk (we had a police escort the whole time). Probably not going to do that again.
I’m trying to download the video of the bungee jump but my internet’s too slow. I’ll keep trying and post it when I get it!

6 comments:

Gary said...

My heart is in my throat. Crocodiles, rapids, and hijackers. Oh my.

Justin said...

Its like a movie... I like it

Corey said...

I second dad's comment.

Kate said...

I third your dad's comment. Come home now so we can be sure you're safe.

G AND G O. said...

BRAVO MANY TIMES OVER ERIN FOR YOUR GREAT COURAGE IN PURSUIT OF ADVENTURE, KNOWLEDGE AND CONTACT WITH PEOPLES OF OTHER LANDS. YOU HAVE ACCOMPLISHED MORE IN A VERY SHORT TIME THAN MANY OF US DO IN A LIFETIME. HAPPY HOMECOMING!. LOVE FROM G AND G O.

Kristen003 said...

This was a great blog because it painted a much different picture of Africa than I am used to seeing. Much of what we hear concerning Africa centers around civil unrest, political turmoil, gender discrimination, hunger and poverty. Although the author touched on a few of these points, the driving theme was fun and adventure. In just a few of days, they were able to enjoy rafting, surfing and bungee jumping. Except for the crocodiles, it almost seemed like they were at a vacation resort. I give them a great deal of credit for braving the Class 5 rapids. To accomplish this, they must have had some prior experience as the most dangerous rapids are only one level up at Class 6. I also was impressed with their resourcefulness in negotiating transportation routes to and from their recreation spot. From the sound of it, the travel may have been more adventurous than the rapids. I believe the passion conveyed by the blogger was sincere. His love for the area, and his description of the people, who appeared to be helpful and friendly really added to the blog. It really makes a reader want to see some of these places for themselves, and at the same time, it makes one even more angry about what some people are doing to this beautiful country.