For our last week in
We saw one chimp from a distance. I would argue one of the coolest parts of the trip was the drive there. It is actually only 40 kms birds eye view from where we live, but it took nearly 3 hours. We had to get to
The trip was good, though we had lots of hijinks. First, we used the driver they recommended and he showed up an hour late in a piece of crap car. The car promptly ran out of gas when we were less than ½ km from our house. Literally. We weren’t even out of the park and it stalled and wouldn’t start and the brainiac driver guessed that it was maybe the fuel, since he put in just enough to get to the field station (we calculated this after a very long and painful discussion calculating what he put in). So I’m not sure how he expected to get back to town. Just to top things off, it was storming out, so we couldn’t even get out of his crap car to wait out the issue somewhere. We ended up calling our usual driver who took care of us after that.
Before leaving, we had drinks at the beautiful, expensive lodge there. The lodge owners were getting ready to move on to a new place and Jeff and I contemplated new career paths for a bit, but then we realized we had better things in mind than being lodge managers.
After we left Kibale, we traveled to Tororo in
There were amazing rock structures in this place, but overall, it was very dry and flat. You could see
Jeff and I were real Africans at Emily’s place. We brought our own mosquito net and set it up over a mattress that was set up on the floor for us. That is right, we slept on a mattress on the floor, but it was in Emily’s nice room and we had our mosquito net to keep us cozy. And it was actually kind of cozy. It was hot there, though, so that made some things a bit uncomfortable. We also picked some food out of the garden for dinner and ate it – see the photos.
At the wedding, everyone was amazed at how well the Mzungus took care of Emily’s baby, Pani. Pani wasn’t used to any of the other people at the wedding, for the most part, so we held her for most of the time. At one point, she really wanted to sleep, but couldn’t because of all the noise. We went over to the side where it was quiet and Jeff held her and swayed with her while I sang to her. I ad-libbed and jeff laughed at my lyrics. It was actually a very precious moment.
Dancing went late into the night, but Jeff and I couldn’t participate. Everytime we walked towards the dance floor, we drew a huge crowd of people just standing and staring at us. The people in this area were not used to Mzungus at all. At one point, Jeff and I went out on the dance floor to dance and it was like the sea parted to let us by and then closed in around us. No one was dancing, they were all just staring at us. The song we liked immediately ended and we were itching to get off the dance floor, so we started to walk off. A woman then stood up and started dancing with me. It was sweet of her and we sat by her for a little bit, but the staring was too much. Emily came over to us and tried to yell at everyone to stop staring and then she gave up and said she couldn’t even sit by us because of all the attention we were drawing. Fortunately, we found a box of wine and a dark corner and hung out there for a little bit.
The next day was Pani’s baptism. We went to the church for the ceremony, which was nice and interesting. See the photos.
(I missed an awesome opportunity at a photo during the wedding, even better American commentary than this one. When we left the church, there was a girl (homeless?) asleep on the side of the church with a pair of brightly colored Obama flip flops laying very neatly right next to where she was sleeping. I wanted the picture so bad, but didn’t want to invade her privacy.)
Because we were being Africans on this trip, we caught a ride back to town on the truck that was taking back all the soda crates. I guess we should have been more African because we sat in the cab with the driver instead of in the back with the bottles and we ended up getting a citation for having too many people in the cabin. Who knew you couldn’t have 3 people in a truck cab. Anyway, we then loaded into a crowded mutatu for our ride back to Jinja. Along the way, we got stopped by a very sketchy police officer who was not in uniform and made Jeff hand him our passports out the window. It was a terrifying situation, but it ended up working out fine. I think people in that area just aren’t used to seeing whites, I guess. Jinja was a nice place to just hang out, catch up on sleep, and catch up on emailing. We attempted one outing to a restaurant overlooking the water, but came back when we realized they were out of most of their food. Otherwise, we just tried to finalize things in
This was the trip of a lifetime. And I think that the two of us being together added to our experience not just because we were together, but because we brought different things to the experience – me with monkeys and forest stuff and jeff with school and children stuff. It was such a great experience!