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Rheana's Travels

Safari!!!

USA | Monday, 13 September 2010 | Views [318] | Comments [1]

So Jamie and I have had a crazy three days… on an AFRICAN SAFARI. It still hasn’t sunk in completely, but I know that it’s another thing I can check off of my bucket list (for those who don’t know, a “bucket list” is the list of things you want to do before you “kick the bucket”).

Jamie and I got picked up by Nasser and a friend at 7:45 on Friday morning, and left in the “safari bus” for Murchison Falls at 8:30. There were 8 of us in a group, and by the end we were all friends because we spent so much time together for those 3 days. There was a French couple in their 30s, an Israeli couple in their late 50s, and two women (a nurse from Sweden and a doctor from New York) who were here volunteering in Kampala like us. Everybody was very nice, although the Israeli couple was slightly crazy too (but it a very endearing way).

The first day we were supposed to drive up to Murchison Falls and then take a 45 minute hike to the see the falls up close. Our plan was delayed slightly, however, when our bus broke down in the middle of the African wilderness. Jamie and I thought it was funny, and were able to keep lighthearted about the whole thing. We waited on the road for about an hour, then were dropped off at another resort for about three hours before we got in another bus to finish the hour trip to Red Chili Rest Camp (Red Chili offers the best/coolest deal for safaris in Uganda… for anybody who’s interested).  All in all it took 12 hours and 17 minutes to get from eMi to Red Chili. It was quite a long day of doing nothing, but Jamie and I were honestly entertained the whole time. After all, we were in Africa!

We woke up bright and early on Saturday morning, and then headed off for the game drive at 6:30. The sunrise was absolutely gorgeous over the Nile (we were by the Albert Nile), and Jamie and I were set with our cameras, wide brimmed hats, and English accents. We had a great guide named George who was hilarious, and our safari van’s roof lifted up so we could stand and look around. Within ten minutes of driving we got to see an elephant who was chilling out and enjoying some food only about 15 feet off the road. For the next four hours we explored the park looking at the scenery and the animals. Jamie and I soon hopped up onto the roof of the van for a better view. This was an adventure all to itself because the roads are not paved nor are they smooth (don’t worry Mom, we held on tight), all the while singing Lion King songs and taking videos and pictures of the animals while narrating our trip in our goofy British accents. We didn’t see an lion (I guess it’s a 50/50 shot) but we were okay with it because we knew our odds going into it, and because we saw so many other cool animals. Lots of giraffe, antelope, buffalo, birds, monkeys, warthogs, hippos… everything else you could imagine.

After lunch we went out on our boat ride up the Nile to Murchison Falls. During the almost four hours we saw all the animals from the game drive, plus got RIDICULOUSLY close to some very big crocodiles. There was about 30 other people on the boat, so we got to meet some other people, but had to tone down our accents.

Because of the currents we weren’t able to get that close to Murchison Falls, but we more than made up for that the next morning. After packing everything up and saying goodbye to our cool safari tents we left early to fit in the hike we missed the first day. It was nice to get out and move around; something we hadn’t been able to do the past two days. The waterfalls were insanely big and powerful, and it was cool to be so close to the top of them. After spending about an hour walking around we loaded back up for the ride back home.

After getting home and showering, Jamie and I went out to dinner with our three roommates and the three guy eMi interns. The eMi staff headed out this morning for ten days on sight at a farm somewhere in Uganda, so it was a goodbye to all of them. We went to a very nice Indian restaurant, and had some great conversations about life here in Uganda. I’m very grateful Jamie and I were so lucky to live with people we got along with so well while here in Kampala.

So we head out Tuesday night, have a 6 hour layover in Brussels (we’re planning on taking the train into Brussels from the airport, having breakfast, and then head back), then hopefully our plane lands on time and we can get through customs in less than 80 minutes so we make our flight to San Francisco. If not, I’m sure Jamie and I will enjoy the adventure.

I can’t believe the past 5 plus weeks have gone by so fast, but I’m very glad I’ve had such an amazing time. I’m sure I’ll write more once I get home and really reflect on what we experienced, but for now wish us safe travels and I’ll see you stateside!

 ...

I wasn’t going to write anything about this because I didn’t want to offend anybody, but it made me mad enough for me to say something…

I think it’s safe to say that all the Americans here paid attention to the pastor from Florida who wanted to burn the Qurans with a combination of embarrassment and horror. I don’t want to be disrespectful of anybody’s views or beliefs, but it was interesting to experience the whole drama/showdown from a country with a relative high Muslim population compared to America. It was sad to see the proof of how uneducated much of the US is when it comes to Islam and also how one crazy guy would threaten to threaten so many American lives overseas (including myself and all of my friends here, I might add). I don’t want to sound like I’m preaching, but I do hope that more Americans can come to realize that Islam is not limited to the suicide bombers, and most Muslims react to them the same way I reacted to the preacher from Florida. In my opinion extremists of all religions need to realize (and soon) that the basis of religion is hope and faith, and spreading that message is more important than anything else they could do. And Americans need to realize that there is a much deeper story to the Jihadists than religion alone, and the Quran alone cannot be blamed for their actions.

Comments

1

Amazing stories, and well written. Thanks for sharing. I'm looking forward to the next time that I see you to gather more insight into the world that you glimpsed. I hope that your journey home is smooth.

  Joya Sep 14, 2010 2:54 PM

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