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Rheana's Travels

Probably the best rafting in the world

USA | Thursday, 19 August 2010 | Views [494] | Comments [1]

I wouldn’t have guessed it’d be so hard for me write this blog, but I’m having a hard time describing our past two days. I’ll try to keep it short. (oh... and the guides all wear shirts that say "Nile River Explorers... probably the best rafting in the world" which cracked me up. Way to be the one modest company ever) Nasser picked us up at 7 and took us to the meeting spot on what I assume is the other side of town. The ride there was actually really cool because he off roaded through the industrial part of town. It was basically this path through hundreds of shacks with a lot of people selling food. I think there is where we need to go if we want some real Ugandan food. Too bad neither of us have any idea about how to get back there. The ride to Jinja went by relatively quickly, and once we got there we checked in then ate some breakfast. And then we were off! The ride to the river was quick, but we got a glimpse of actual “African” countryside. There was six to a boat, so Jamie, Maddy, her friend Jessica and I matched up with an Italian couple. We all decided we wanted to be a little crazy, and so got in the first boat with a guide who told us his name was “DeMarcus” (it turns out his name was Juma). The first couple miles after we put in were smooth, so we practiced rowing, “getting down” (for the rapids) and flipping the boat back over. … and then the actual rafting started. And I don’t really know how to describe it, so I’ll break it down. The whole trip was about 20 miles (a little over 4 hrs), and so there was a lot of paddling and hanging out and laughing. It turns out DeMarcus has a bias against “Mzungu” women (I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned the Mzungu phenomenon, it means “white person” and “wonderer.” It’s what EVERYBODY calls you when you pass. So much so that Jamie and I bought shirts) and so that was discussed in detail. Problem #1: they shed too much. There were twelve rapids from grade 3 to 5, and we flipped on 4 of them. Nobody got really hurt when we flipped though, but it did give people major adrenaline rushes. Like some of the biggest I’ve ever had. The rapids look huge when you’re going into them, so you just hold on and hope you make it through. If not, well the water wasn’t so bad really. Although we slathered on the sunscreen before hand, it turns out we didn’t need it too much because it rained. And thundered and we saw lighting in the distance. Although the guides complained about it, both Jamie and I agree that the rain made it cooler for some reason; more basic, and less like we were on a tour. One of the rapids is a 5 foot waterfall, and as we were waiting for the other rafts to go down it really opened up and started POURING. The river looked so cool. We spent a lot of the 20 miles looking at the countryside as we slowly floated by. It was very pretty, and really amazing to see actual Uganda. We have spent a lot of time discovering the city, but it was great to see some of what Africa actually looks like. So Jamie and I already knew we like adrenaline rushes, but this was just confirmed (about 12 times). We decided that the whole experience was the craziest thing we’ve ever done. It slightly beats out skydiving because skydiving took about 5 minutes, and the entire experience of rafting seemed out of this world. The whole time we could not believe that a) we were rafting and b) we were in AFRICA rafting. On the NILE! Once we got to the end of our trek we had a 45 minute ride back to the camp we spent the night. The ride was another tour all on its own. Again, we were able to see African villages and it was unbelievable. Jamie took some gorgeous pictures and we both spent the whole time just taking it all in. It made us both even more excited and determined to go into the villages with Hope Clinic and see what it’s really like. They fed us an amazing dinner once we got back, and we just relaxed until 9 when they showed the video of the day. It was SO funny and crazy to see all the highlights. Our raft bought the DVD/picture combo and they’re both amazing. I don’t think I can post video on this blog, but I’ll try to get the best pictures up on here for all to see. Believe it or not, the rapids looked MUCH bigger when we were crashing into them. Today we spent some time walking around Jinja. We went and saw the source of the Nile, then explored the shops. The ride back (1.5 hrs) was on a very packed bus, and Jamie and I were both pretty happy to be back. The bus dropped us off in the middle of the craziest/most packed/insane neighborhood I’ve ever been in. Ever. The sidewalks were covered in people selling everything you could possibly imagine, and then it seemed like everybody else in the entire city was also there buying things. We want to go back sometime when we want to be there (and not just trying to figure out how to get home) and don’t have huge backpacks. So that was our past couple days. Again, words cannot really describe what it was really like, but I hope I didn’t bore anybody. The pictures are really big, so I hope they load. Love you!



Wow. Great story. Good idea not to let mom and dad know until after you'd done it. I'm very excited for you to be exploring another part of the world and doing some humanitarian work in the process. Cheers!

  Bob Lawrence-Markarian Aug 19, 2010 8:25 AM

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