Monday, March 30, 2009

Goodbye

Goodbye

Dave and I’s 430am goodbye was sad- despite not wanting to cry… a few silent ones escaped as I bade farewell to my dear friend An and then a few more fell as Dave and I shared our last embrace…one which I can still feel in my belly. To write more makes me sad, even now… so I will leave it at that.

Back in Dar and Dave's last day

Back in Dar and Dave’s Last Day.

The journey back to Dar was a sleepy one, Dave and I took turns to rest our heads. The entire journey took forever; we reached base camp in Dar after dark. With his departure so close it hung the air like a noose around our necks… we were both sad to be leaving each other and at the very thought of it I would burst into spontaneous tears which was impossible for Dave. He hated seeing me upset and managed to talk them away with a promise to find mw in Sydney and an embrace that lingered long after it ended. Earlier in the week we made a promise that we would only be upset for 1 hour…with one night to go we were running low on minutes….

As our last night came to a close, we entered our ridiculously hot tent for the last time and I could not help thinking that this was not how it was supposed to end. We spoke briefly and Dave confirmed what I have thought all along- we do have a future together…. We’ll just have to work hard at making it happen.

I am not sure what will happen next in my great African love story... with no promise to stay together, his situation back at home and my global nomad status… I only hope that despite the odds being against us we make it- ‘cause I would like to introduce you to my loveable liverpudlian when he finds me in Sydney.

Zanzibar

Zanzi

After a sleepless night in Dar, caused mainly due to ridiculous humidity a pack of hungry mosquitoes that had made a home in Dave and I’s tent, making it feel like you were tying to sleep in soup we made our way to Zanzibar.

On board our luxury liner (which proved anything but) we begun to sweet it out. With out AC the air was thick heavy and airless (is that possible?).

With Dave beside me carefully fanning me with the newspaper I feel asleep in his arms and thankfully missed most of the journey. At port I was surprised to have to hand over my passport…. We were still in Tanzania…. Weren’t we? Zanzibar signed a declaration of unity wit Tanganyika in 1964 creating the united republic of Tanzania.

The port art Stone Town was busy, women in colourful hijabs roamed, men with skull caps and heads with big mosque bruises dominated. The light was hot an harsh and the sky perfectly blue.

On return of our passports we set off on foot to the Safari lodge located down one of Zanzibar’s labyrinth like lanes. As we wandered you could be forgiven for thinking that you had stepped back in time. Stone Town famous for being the commercial centre of the Spice Islands was once home to one of Africa’s largest slave markets which saw 17 million people sent off to the Middle East in the 400 years proceeding Livingstone’s courageous petition to the motherland which outlawed the practice in the 1960;s.

Stone Town has oodles of charm, decorative doorways and a feeling tat not much has hanged lately. Distinctly middle eastern in architecture d├ęcor or dress it feels very exotic and a million miles from my imagining of what Africa was like before the trip.

After checking into the Safari we went for a walk to a local restaurant where I ordered some Pilau rice (a delicious cardamom flavoured dish). Afterwards despite the tempeture pushing 40 degrees and an inhumane humidity level we set of on a tour of the Slave market, cathedral and spice plantation.

Dave decided to stay behind with his brother and sample some local brew at Mercury’s bar on the dock- FYI Freddie Mercury of Queen fame was born on the island and is the local legend.

Our tour of the island was very good- who knew that doctor Livingstone was so busy… not only was he responsible for discovering the source of the Nile, tramping into deepest darkest Congo he found time to utilise his influence to end the abhorrent practice of slavery too…. Definitely the next biography I read.

I was really impressed with the Spice tour- I had never seen what spics look like before they are put into those cute little jars at the supermarket.

That night we watched Dave’s beloved Liverpool take on my favourite team Villa at Mercury’s and saw Liverpool assert their dominance winning 5:0. Afterwards Dave and I had our first argument and it was horrible…. I was in a mood and he took the full force of my anger…. Luckily his forgiveness was close at hand and aside from feeling rather embarrassed and annoyed at myself for the way I unfairly acted in what I label ‘my rebel hour’.

The next morning we drove deep into the island’s interior and stopped at Kendwa beach, a small sea front which is paradise.

With beautiful endless white sandy beaches, clear aquamarine waters that you can se forever through….. I was in bliss with my lovely handsome liverpudlian beside me.

If I have ever been to a postcard perfect panorama this was it.

With 3 days up our sleeves I encouraged Dave to arrange a boys day out as a chance for him to do some bonding (aka drinking) with his brother as some how I felt like I may have hijacked Rob’s holiday and stolen his brother….

I took the opportunity to snorkelling with the girls and whilst I was having perfectly lovely time exploring a nearby atoll, watching dolphins swim and catching some rays Dave and his lads were getting hammered. I returned to one very drunk scouser passed out at the beach bar. Seems that the boys did more drinking than fishing and caught only one measly fish between 9 of them… but they had an amazing time.

Later that afternoon after Dave had sobered up we went sunset swimming. It was nicer than words watching the sun set over the sea and hard not to wish time would stop and we could be together like that forever. As we watched the sun show us her magic turning the sky all the colours of the rainbow before departing I decided that our sunset swim was my favourite moment of the trip ….

Our final day at Zanzibar was marred by two things….

1. I thought I could have Malaria- somewhere between dinner and sleep the night before I had developed a fever and a general malaise overwhelmed me. I awoke the next morning feeling pretty rubbish but thankfully with out a fever, instead I had all the signs of a cold (which coincidently are the same symptoms of Malaria). I took the opportunity to chat to my group leader who said he doubted I had it but he did request I monitor myself and at the onset of any fever go to the hospital (so you don’t worry it had been 5 days since this and I have felt progressively better every day so no need to worry!!!).
2. Dave was leaving in less than 36 hours and that thought is just plain cruel. How would I survive with out his energy, enthusiasm and likability until he came to Sydney??? NOTE- I am no closer to working this out 3 days since our last hug.


After a lazy morning spent dosing up on panadol and tissues for my runny nose Dave and I had a quiet afternoon getting henna tattoos, swimming, sun baking and playing a dice game called Zilch. Dave and caught the last of the sunset together and I tried to keep a brave face.

Later that night at dinner, Dave got really sad to be leaving and I did my best to cheer him up with bad jokes which did the trick.

Later still, Dave and I went for a moonlight swim and it as MAGIC, so still was the water and so active the plankton I thought I was swimming in a pool full of diamonds and a sexy liverpudlian.

Dar

DAR

With low expectations on what Dar would be like, I was shocked to find myself in a thriving metropolis, complete with modern roads (and traffic lights), tall multi story building painted various pastel shades, well dressed locals and a nice beach on the northern side of town.

The City itself is for most tourists (myself included) a jumping off point for East Africa’s beach paradise Zanzibar. The Cities modernity was surprising, its affluence and obvious development a million miles from the chaos that is every other African capital – think Nairobi, Cairo, Kabali and Kampala.

We drove to Absolute Africa’s base camp a sweat filled house on the shores of the sea. After a delicious seafood BBQ and game of beach cricket which amused the locals we made a camp fire and Dave and I escaped for a quiet moonlight swim.

I won’t bore you with the lovey bits but our swim was incredible as the sea was full of plankton and lit up with sparkles every time you moved.

Arusha

Arusha


For some bizarre reason when we arrived in Tanzania we were camping in a snake park that is home to many of Africa’s deadliest and most dangerous snakes including a real Black Mamba, rock python and more varieties of Cobra than you could spit at.

The Park was also home to a couple of dangerously low fenced crocodile enclosures with only waist height walls.

After an early night (relatively) we woke early to hitch a ride in our land cruiser to the Serengeti. Our driver shared his name with the king of the jungle; hopefully Simba would prove to bring us some good luck in our pursuit of the big 5.

Our first day was pretty disappointing, aside from a couple of Cheetah spotted at some distance the Cats were illusive and morale was as low as the storm clouds that hung overhead.

We awoke early on day 2 keen to make amends for yesterdays poor display and despite missing a lions pride laze under a tree we were not disappointed. By 10:00am we had seen more than 20 female lions and cubs at close range, a leopard cruising the road so close I could have touched it (amazing), elephants, Zebras, wildebeest on migration, vultures, hyenas and more birds than I could ever possibly name.

The scenery of the Serengeti is unlike my imaging- the plains are wheat coloured, dry and mostly flat with no dense cover for the animals to hide. The sunrises and sunsets of the Serengeti are magic and the sheer concentration of animals made me question why anyone would EVER game drive anywhere else.

Next stop was the phenomenal Ngorongoro crater, heaven on earth. Neighbouring the Serengeti it is the most stunning place I have ever been privileged enough to see. The crater measures approximately 20 kilometres in diameter and is greener than a Christmas tree plantation. It is also home to more animals than one would think possible and by being there we wee able to get close and I mean within centimetres of some male lions strutting there stuff walking down the road, so majestic was the sight I felt my heart miss a beat. The adult male lion is breathtaking and clearly the king of the jungle. We were also able to get within inches of a female lion and her playful cubs who posed for pictures, spitting distance from a heard of elephants and we were also able to see 6 black rhino (One of the worlds most endangered species) which completed our pursuit of the BIG 5.

After a couple of magic days in the Serengeti we headed back to the Masi Camp in Arusha. It was Lily and Aziz’s last night and the first time that the ladies had a dance on the trip. Together (with An) we busted our favourite moves and even invented some new ones. Whilst we shake out tale feathers the boys played pool and drank the bar dry.


During the night I came to logger heads with one of the girls (the one I have mentioned previously) who like a lot of girls on the trip like getting physical with the boys in an attention grabbing way they slap, punch, pinch and play with them at any opportunity and as long as they leave Dave along I have no qualms with it… on this occasion though the girl thought it fun to hit Julius our Ugandan team leader across the face. Aside from thinking that this act was immature it was also disrespectful, culturally insensitive and just not cricket! I made my feelings very clear on this (as I will on any subject after a few vinos) as no one else dare spoke… group mentality sux sometimes.

Subsequently, I have received some dirty looks and despite An and Dave trying to mollify me with talk of jealously (on the other individuals behalf) I don’t buy it and just feel that it is not nice to be disliked.

In the morning I said goodbye to Lily and Aziz and Lily was so sad o be leaving that she cried…. I will definitely miss her.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

It is a long way to Tan- Zan-ia

Waking up still dreaming of goat and with a late night conversation with Dave still fresh in my mind- i was not in the best mood.

Before slumber last night Dave told me that one of the other girls on the trip said some nasty things about me to him the details of which I wont bore you with here.... the end result was that I was and am pretty upset.

I also remembered how upset i was at his flirting with other people. It is Dave's fault that he is hilarious and handsome and that girls naturally flock around him and given girls out number boys on the trip 5:1 the stakes are high, girls are bitchy and Dave for all the positive qualities he possess likes the attention- which really aggravates an already tense situation.

I wont go in to specifics but say this- the flirting that happens is at times outrageous, at other times hurtful and whilst it is surely fun, it is extremely destructive and makes me like him less as it is clear that he does not respect me.

Mindful not to let my aggravation show in front of the team, i have found myself having to walk away when it gets too much. Silently i slip away and take 5 minutes of KP time to cool off, secretly praying that his outward flirtations will stop.

Last night i told him i was very upset with the situation and only hope that he changes his outward behaviour to the others because with all the girls throwing themselves at him and his displays of friendly flirting i fear i may loose my mind if things continue as they are. The joys of being a women.

After such a long digression I forgot to mention that we picked up 9 more passengers in Nairobi 3 of which are set to be good friends... first there is a kiwi couple called Ash and Wiki from Invercargil and Rob 2 (moby) a Manc who now lives in St Albans in the UK. Sadly we lost Aziz and Lily (my favourite couple) who i really like and am so glad that i met.

The drive to Tanzania was long and the air was hot- I could not think of a worse way to assimilate a new group of people but they seemed to manage.

It was a quiet day on the roads and aside from a 1 hour wait at the Tanzanian boarder there was not much to report....

One of my favourites

Back in Nairobi to met 9 more passengers i was surprised to have one of my favourite days of the trip.For a girl who is afraid of animals, i have taken massive strides on this holiday... firstly there was my pain stricken encounter with the Hippos at lake baringo, then my terrifying brush with a 400 kilo silver back in Rwanda and now I had the opportunity to interact with my favourite herbivore- the giraffe.

At the Karen Blixen giraffe sanctuary in Nairobi i fell in love with Lauren the giraffe as i felt her slimy tongue caress my hand as i fed her.

Lauren's breath stunk and her lick was slurpy but her manner was so friendly i could not resist, grabbing more and More food- patting her head and posing for photos with her.

With a track record of never hurting humans giraffes make great friends.

Afterwards when girl could not get any happier we went to a elephant and rhino orphanage and watched as the cutest elephants came and played with us....they are the cutest thing in the world. next we were introduced to a 2 month old baby black rhino who was adorable and the size of a Labrador...shiny, leathery and lovely too.

That night after a few games of Killer (darts) where i discovered i am hopeless and only hit the board about 50 % of the time- despite aiming for the BIG 10 i did manage to hit the bullseye once.

Afterwards of the recommendation of Julius we went to dinner at a local restaurant named hysterically 'the Mamba' and only Goat available i was unsure of waht to expect.... but i was in for a perfect ending to a perfect day.... we delighted in the succulent meat and i decided that goat is fair game... it is amazing and i urge you all to try it if you can.

Aside from the food dinner was amazing, the company (Lily, Aziz, An and rob (Dave's brother) had a ball.

Navasha

After Nakuru we travelled about 100 kilometres down the road to a town called Navasha. I Navasha Dave and I decided to upgrade from our smelly tent and get a room to share.

On one day we ventured into town with my hero Steve in search of a tennis ball t facilitate a truck ashes series with a game of cricket.

The Town (if you can call it that) was small, dusty and seemed to be one that time had forgotten... aside from a bright blue Barclay's bank on the main street that consisted of 5 shops that all sold the same thing and a bar- it was completely devoid of modernity. Cows wandered the litter filled streets. After stopping at all the shops without sicess we stopped by the bar for a quick beer to the delight of the publican... mazungus (white people) are a novelty in this part of the world.

Afterwards in an attempt to nullify the stupid heat... he was ridiculous that anywhere should be so ht we had a nap and afterwards we woke up and went for a walk around the camp and spotted An who seemed delighted t see us- seemed that after we left the town it had burned down and she was worried we were missing... Reading the newspaper the next day i saw that 100 homes were destroyed as well as the market.. we had missed it by minutes.

****************

Back in Kenya

Crossing the boarder back into Kenya was painless and gave me the opportunity to better observe the differences between Kenya and Uganda.

It seemed that Kenya was dryer, more barren (but more affluent at the same time) than it's neighbour.

We were headed back to Nakuru, the city where the original 4 spent our first night of the tour.

This time however we were to stay in the Nakuru national park after a game drive.

Nakuru is Kenya's second largest game park and home to thousands of smelly pink flamingos, leopards (who were on holidays when we visited), White Rhino and Lions (who had in the past 2 years killed 14 people at our very campsite).... wnough to guarantee a good nights sleep.

The park and game drive were spectacular- the landscape straight out of a photo anthology of what Africa should look like. Wheat coloured plains dotted with acica trees and an endless cobalt blue sky filled with the occasional marshmallow like fluffy whte cloud.

The wild life proved more dense and plentiful than that of Queen Elizabeth and allowed us to see dozens of Buffalo, zebra, rhinos (only 3 or 4), thousands of Flamingo (who don't photograph well) baboons (awful aggressive monkeys with red bottoms) and our first Dik Dik (a fox like little animal).

That night i felt distant from the Liverpudlian... almost as if he'd switched offa tap of affection and attention for me... for a minute t seemed that i might have made a mistake... t was at this moment i decided to reclaim my trip fr me and not let anyone Else's thoughts or actions impact on the enjoyment of my trip.... easier said than done. it was a terrible feeling.... that of being unwanted or uncared for by a man who until that moment i was thiking i could be falling in LOVE with. The feeling highlighted what a vulnerable position i was in.

At bed time i said good bye to the group and did not single Dave out.... Almost asleep i was amazed when a light appeared at my tent door- yep you guessed it- the Liverpudlian had come to apologise for being distant and quiet and also he came to say good night... the effort even though it was only a few steps through lion infested forrest gave me some faith in there beig an US existing. Since then each day has seen the affection grow and after pages and pages of gushing i bet you might be interested to know what the Liverpudlian is like....

Well looks wise he is about 6 foot tall (maybe taller), skinny with brown eyes and cheek bones to die for with short dark hair. Workwise dave is an aspiring photographer who studied film and Tv at University and currently works as an art director on movies and Tv. He is also hilarious.

Jinga

After the longest drive in history, the entire bus were all in a good mood to arrive in jinga Uganda's action capital. Situated at the start of the mighty Nile it's claim to fame being that it is the source of the river.

Approaching the City from the north it was easy to see hat this town is somewhat different to those in the rest of Africa and to Paul Theroux's assertion that all big Cities in Africa are slums- Jinga's red earth roads lead to grand colonial homes with wide verandas, bay windows and a general affluence unseen in the rest of Africa.

After lots of encouragement from a nameless boy i decided to go white water rafting on the mighty Nile (with out travel insurance)- the first and only crazy thing i have done this Holiday.

On the morning f the rapids i expected to be a ball of nerves instead i was ready for action and adventure as my blog title suggest i should be.

The boat was lead by Paulo a Ugandan champion kyacker who has competed all over the world whose mission was to maximise our fun, ensuring that we avoided the 'chicken' runs at all costs instead flipping our boat 4 times on monster rapids... causing optimal carnage.

Despite falling upside down in grade 5 rapids i never felt unsafe and instead got a massive rush.

The other 2 days were spent lazing Nile side with Dave being cute and developing an infatuation. Jinga was also the place where we came out to the rest of the team.

The news was well received buy the rest of the group (in the main) the girls seemsed happy for me and the boys seemed not to care... well all accept one girl who made nasty comments under her breath... the remarks were hurtful and i was more offended by her unwavering and unrequited affection that she displayed to you know who (this is a common theme of the weeks ahead).

Apologies- After Rwanda

First and foremost apologies from Dave for being such a distraction that I have not written a word of sense since we met n Entebbe.

This blog has become more of a 'love fest' than i had ever imagined and i appreciate that not everyone wants to hear about a lovable Liverpudlian wowing me all over Africa.

So i thought i would recap about some of the things that i have been doing lately and try not to mention the man.

After our drive back from Kabali we landed in lush, tropical Uganda- it was coincidentally the Liverpudlians birthday and also the day of our first game drive.

The bus was very excited- we were all eager to catch a glimpse of the BIG 5- despite most of us not being able to name them (me included). For the record they are

1 Elephant
2 Water Buffalo
3 Leopard
4 Black Rhino
5 Lion


Queen Elizabeth national park is located in South Western Uganda and home to Uganda's largest collection of mammals. Unfortunately some of this collection were victims of Uganda's bloody civil war.

On entrance to the park we were all thrilled to find a heard of African elephants not More than 20 metres from the truck.... the size, power and strengh were breathtaking- graceful, elegant and enormous.

The rest of the drive gave us the opportunity to see hundreds of Poomba (warthog), Hippo, more elephants but unfortunately NO cats- which lead t some disappointed faces.

Dave and I (ok, i wont mention him often) sat next to each other for most of the drive and the tension between us was building.... later that night we had our first kiss (which was like being hit for 6), made our first team bon fire and slept scared that the lions that the ranger came to warn us were in the vicinity might maim us.

The next day was the longest drive of the trip- a full 15 hours undertaken on minimal sleep but with a funny fellow beside me it flew by.

Back to Niroberry

I was not happy when the trucks itinerary included a weeks drive back to Nirobbery- complete with stops at the same places, campsites, monuments and parks as we did in our first week.

However there was one shining light- Dave & I- I am still really enjoying his company, affection and laughter (which is contagious).

The dynamics of the bus have changed a little- there are lots of romances in the air.

1- Dave and I
2- An (my favourite Belgium)and Julius our Ugandan tour guide.
3- Tweedie (my old tent buddy before Dave) and Ian (the Aussie Chippy)
4-Steve (our mechanic and my hero... he is awesome)and Rachel ( a particularly sweet lawyer from Manchester).

It is strange having a relationship on the truck- fr starters i have discovered i posses a jealous streak which i hate. Dave being a ladies man attracts attention from the girls and i hate it when other girls hug, touch, squeeze and flirt with him... i know that i am not really allowed to have these feelings but they certainly exist.

Also i feel that it would be nice t go out on a date with him with out the whole world following us- it is hard too know f there really is stuff happening or if the chemistry that exists would follow us to Sydney or Liverpool at some future stage.

rainbows and wonderful adventures

Africa has proved a wonderful adventure for me- providing me with not only a thousand unanswered big questions but also with the opportunity to get to know myself (and like myself) better.

It is now day 19 and i feel more comfortable than ever... the only sadness that exists within my soul is associated with the departure of the lovable Liverpudlian.

I desperately don't want him to leave in Zanzibar as preplanned and whenever i catch myself thinking about it i want to cry.

I am not sure if it is fair but his presence is like a huge rainbow in my life- shining beautifully now but certain to disappear at some point- like all rainbows do.

In my mind i try and think of solutions to the departure-i am cheered by the fact Dave has promised me he will move to Australia at some point this year.

The last few days

Since Dave's birthday which was spent at a game park in Uganda dodging Lions, Hyenas and Hippos we have become inseparable.

After a few perfect days in Junga (Uganda) where we spent our time swimming in a secluded part of the Nile river, whitewater rafting and sleeping under shaded trees doing the cross word... it is fair to say i like him... a lot.

he is not perfect (but then again neither am I)- but he is perfect for me. Last night he said the sweetest thing- that I write here purely to preserve the sentiment

'You know everyone hates the long bus rides but me i hope that sometimes they were longer so i can spend more time with just you'.

These are not the exact words he said but close enough for you to get the idea.

I really like myself when i am around him, he is the kind of individual that brings out the best qualities in those he surrounds, most of the time i am beaming from ear to ear.... I worry a little too- he has unfinished business back in Liverpool and leaves the trip in 3 weeks.

In other news the Bus has turned into a Love fest and Dave and I have nick named it the Love Bus- there are a few other romances in the air which makes things all the more interesting.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

a quickie

Just a quick one to let you know i am in Zanzibar (Tanzania) and will be back writting my blog later tonight- tomorrow- i have written almost daily in my notebook so it will be a monmster session.... cant wait to share the news... LOVE you- Love me

XXX

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Back to Uganda

It was still dark when we got up- the 5th morning in a row that we left camp before 5:30am and it is begining to take it's toll- my morning wake up calls are sounding less cheery and i think we are all just a little flat.

Last night we were in bed by 10pm and slowly our sleeping time is getting earlier and earlier soon we will be in bed by 930 and no doubt it will eventually get to sunset at the rate we are going.

Due to bad road conditions we have had to drive back to Uganda the way we came (which is the long way apparently)-- via Kambali. Which is both good and bad- good because the scenery is stunning but bad because we have another long truck... i am so thakful that i have Dave who makes the hours fly by.

As we make our way back to Uganda i am very content to lie under my sleeping bag (surprisngly Rwanda is very cold in the mornings...) with Dave and look out the window.

Rwanda is a special place with a rare etheral beaty- the hills here are so green and the lushiest i can remember and I want to saviour the memory of their beauty and make special mind photograps that i go back to later.

Rwanda is so different to the land i had imagined- i am still finding it hard to imagine the atrocities that occoured here as they are so incongerious with the land that surrounds me... to think that the mud rivers once ran red with blood, that the very roads we travel on were once littered with dead bodies and people trying desperatly to get to the boarder as refugees... some 2 million people were internally displaced in the genocide.

I have noticed that the people of Rwanda are more reserved that their Rwandian neighbours but still friendly and they still wave to us on the bus as we pass.

There is very little sign of wealth here, people are either dressed in rags with bare feet or some second hand western style suits that are a few sizes too big... ocassionaly there is a women in an african style frock and she usually looks amazing.

There are very few cars on the roads (aside from mini vans, buses and Land crusisers used by aid agencies)and the people carry most goods by hand balanced precariously on their heads... anything from a whole banaa tree to a sheet of corrigated iron.

As we pass through the grubby Ugandian boarder around lunch time i amsad to be leaving Rwanda... i was only there a second but it was a second i will cherish.

Gorillas in the Mist- Day 10 & 11

Seems Rwanda has turned me into a hyperbpowlic maniac-the beauty here is magic! The country is certianly a looker.... breathtaking vistas as far as the eye can see, if the world's countries were in a beauty contest Rwanda would get a prize!

I find it hard to fathom that a place that looks like heaven could ever have decended into hell. When i imagined coming here i thought of red dusty roads, trees bare of leaves and rubbish and mud everywhere... instead it is lush, green and full of foliage.

Yesterday we went and saw the Gorillas int he wild and it was such a privledge to spend an hour in their presence. To reach our designated Gorilla family, we had to trek into thick jungle in the presence of armed guards. It was sometimes scary but mostly amazing....

I wont give a blow by blow account- it would or could take hours- what i would say is that if you ever get the chance to spend some time in rural Rwanda (on the Ugandian and DRC boarder) do it- as an hour with the gorillas will stay with you forever.

KP

XXXX

Rwanda

The land of the rolling hills was covered in a canopy of thick mist as we made our way to the Capital Kabali.

The lushest green hills enveloped the road- covered in luminous, eatable green tea plantations as far as the eye could see. Rwandian country side is stunning, in fact so beatiufl is the scenery one cant help wanting to get all hyperbowlic and say some big sweeping statement like... 'The landscape of Rwanda is the most beatiful in all of Africa' with out lying.

Knowing a little about the atrocities that occoured here when the world turned a blind shoulder in 1994 it is uncomprehsable and athetical to all that surronds me.

We stopped in Kabli for lunch and a visit to the genocide museum- the very sight that 50,000 people died just 15 short years ago.

What is contained within the walls of the museum/memorial is a harrowing inditement on the human condition... brutality enough to make grown men weep.

I dont look at the people of Kabali much, I find eye contact difficult as what the people here have seen and done to each other is just unthinkable.

As the bus makes it's way out of Kabali we pass rivers of mud that resemble Willy Wonka's river of chocolate, picturesque banana plantations and terraced alotments that seem to reach into the clouds.

On the bus front-seems that Steves crush on Tweedie has been pacified by Aussie Amanda's presence. Dave and I are getting along famously- he is hilarious and I feel special that he chooses to sit with me as he is easily the funniest and most well liked person in our group....slowly in seems we are devloping our own secret language of stolen looks, winks and smiles. Mel is still mother hen and coolest couple would be Aziz and Lilly- two sydney-ites who i just adore.


Love me

Monday, March 09, 2009

The Road to Rwanda

Awake at 5:30am as designated alarm clock we packed our tents quickly and left Kampala for the second time- on the road towards Rwanda.

We stopped en route at the equator to pose for pictures and confirmed that water does really go down the drain differently in different hemispheres.

Afterwards we stopped at a fruit market as some kids from a local orphage were making their way to a near by church.... without warning teras suddenly flooded my face - the smiling faces of these beautiful orphans was enough to break my heart.

Mother hen Mel wrapped her arms around me and as i apologsed she said 'KP at least you feel and that is a wonderful thing'. It was a really nice thing to say. I am pretty embarressed by my mini break down- but sometimes the poverty here in Africa is gut wrenching... I feel fragile here- given the smile of a little kid is enough to make me cry... is that normal? Am I normal?

I have noticed that the further outside Kampala we get and the closer we get to Rwanda the happier the children get. Kids wave like maniacs and i feel a little uneasy and too privledged in my luxury bus waving regally to anyone that passes... maybe i am thinking about things too much???

Africa has certainly made me question so many things... i just hope i will find right answers.

KP

XXX

The Black Mumba and my new friends

The bus has been injected with new blood and it is good. Whilst I have only spent a few hours with the newbies firm favourites are already developing.

I can see myself gettig along really well with Dave from Liverpool- with a sense of humor to die for, since meeting him i have not stopped laughing. There is also An from Belgium who is interesting, mature and intellectual (someone i am not afraid to say... 'i have read a book about that' too)...It is funny to think how the injection of 14 people will effect us... the orginal 4. Will Mel (my favourite) mother hen who thankfully reminds me daily to take my malaria meds be over taken??? Will Steve's infactuation with my lovely 18 year old tent buddy Tweedie survive now that flirty aussie amanda is on the scene??

Tweedie and I are developoing a really nice friendship- i feel a little like her mentor and only wish i was 18 too and could do all the things that she does instead of being the older wise friend. I have to say- she is defiitely the coolest 18 year old i have ever met... at an age where i was deciding if i should go to the enterance for the weekend she is off on a wild african adventure by herself...

Today whilst our new friends went off to a chimpanze reserve Tweedie and I decided to save some $$$ and spend the afternoon at the botanic gardens in down town Entebbe.

Our peace, serenity were unfortunatly shattered when a man let his trouser snake escape (black mumba) on purpose.... poor tweedie does not need to be exposed to anything like that whilst I as her more mature chaperone definitely dont need to see anyone flashing me...

Thats about it for today.

KP

XXX

Picking up new friends- Day 5

Waking up early with no sign of our fearless leader and commander Julius (who as it turned out had been out to a night club until 5:00am the night before) we made a breakfast of fried tomatoes on toast and waited and waited for Julius to wake up so we could head to Entebbe and pick up our 14 new bus mates.

At 10:30am Julius surfaced and with trick/bus packed we decended into the maze that is Kampala's traffic.