Thursday, January 27, 2011

Da Nile: More than just a river in Africa

We drove across the border to Uganda this past weekend and rafted the Nile. In one day we went through four grade 5 rapids and three or four grade 4 rapids.. our raft flipped three times. It was too good.
We left Kijabe at around 7 on Friday morning, and arrived at the hostel a little over ten hours later. Hostels are funny places.. little islands of white Americans in the midst of a foreign land. Rihanna, Bruno Mars, Taio Cruz... they're there doing what they do. There is the classic group of 20-somethings drunk in the middle of the night, going out on "the town".. which in Jinja, Uganda could mean really anything. Hostels are just funny.

Saturday was our day on the river, and it was wild and crazy and FUN. There were five of us, so we needed one more person in the boat. We picked up this guy Johnathon from Texas... pretty weird guy. I didn't realize that a lot of people actually think that sticking your paddle in the water counts as rowing. I mean.. the boat is moving forward, so if you just set the paddle down in the water it will move back relative to the position of the boat. I was sitting behind him, sort of just trying to wait until he lifted his oar out of the water to make room for me to do a nice, deep push. It made me laugh. Struggle times for Johnathon.
 The point is, it was super fun and if any of you have the chance to raft the Nile- definitely jump on it. They are apparently putting a big dam in the part of the river that we rafted down so the rapids that we went through will be gone, sadly. But, in case you aren't aware- the Nile is a long river, and there are other rapids... and Africa needs electricity more than it needs a few rapids.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Kijabe, Kenya

I have now been in Africa for only three nights... but have managed to fit plenty of activity in already. Thursday night I glided nicely onto the tarmac in Nairobi, made it quickly through customs, and was finally able to relax when all three of my bags showed up on the baggage carousel. My parents, John, and Joe were all there to pick me up. It was a wonderful feeling to finally be reunited with my family (and Joe)! Our house at RVA is not too far from the airport, about an hour drive... nothing like the 8-10 flights that I was recovering from. The house is cute and cozy. It is strange in a very magical way to land in this completely foreign place, to find that my family is quite comfortable and at home here. Sort of bizarre, but also very convenient.
Yesterday John, Joe, and our friends Shannon and Caleb, all rode the motorbikes down into the valley to Mt. Longonot to climb up and around the crater there. It was a long, steep hike with great views throughout. Afterwards, we went to the ranch (where Shannon and Caleb's family live) which is this unreal, perfectly beautiful piece of property. They live in an "Out of Africa"-esque stone house with a long, pleasant porch looking out on green lushness. They have two great dogs running around and a water hole/little lake just a short walk from their house. The swim was greatly appreciated after the long, hot hike. I changed colors as the thick layer of dirt shed from my skin... unfortunately not only did that signify that I was clean, but also that I wasn't nearly as tan as I thought I was. Not to worry though, it doesn't take long to get a tan in Kenya. The sun is shining, warm and pleasant, every day. Not too hot, not too cold.. just the right warmth, with a nice breeze.
I still have a lot of things to get used to here, not the least being the time change. I have not visited the dreamland too much since I left Seattle. Africa has kept me more than sufficiently entertained.. so despite the lack of sleep, low energy has not been a problem.