super gluing Robyn's busted up lip together (is that normal?),
the elderly English doctor turned
attention to Robyn's doxycycline/malaria prophylactic induced
yeast infection - "I can tell you from personal experience
that if you are using a penis as a yogurt applicator that
you should make sure the yogurt isn't cold!" We had
been warned that the doctor was a little eccentric. Apparently,
upon seeing a gravely ill patient in the morning he had said, "I'm
surprised you made it!" He meant through the night...
Yesterday Robyn and I went rafting on the class V rapids
of the White Nile just below Lake Victoria in Uganda. We
both got bloody lips for it, I got whacked
by a safety kayak and spit mouth fulls of blood into the White Nile. Apparently
we tied a record by completely flipping our raft four times. Robyn tried to mitigate
the experience by spending most of her time in the "safety raft", but
the occupants of that got tossed out twice as well! Scary but very, very fun.
I started off a week ahead of Robyn in Nai-Robbery. That's
a scary place! Few people carry bags during the day, no
one walks on the streets at night. Cab drivers roll up their windows
lock the doors as soon as you get in the car. I went
running with the local H3 club. An expat gave me a ride back to town different
from the way we'd come, "This way has less chance of a car jacking," she
explained. Of course! Why not? I locked myself in my room at night and began
the copious reading I've been doing - "Hegemony and Survival" by Chompsky, "A
History of Everything" by Bill Bryson, the "Da Vinci Code" and "A
Dark Star Safari" by Theroux, where I learned that "safari" is
the swahili word for "travel."
I spent a few days biking at Lake Naivasha, Hells Gate National
Park and Crater Lake Game Reserve. Saw loads of zebras
and giraffes and had a relaxing time.
Headed from there to run a marathon at Lewa Nature Conservancy.
Similar wildlife plus a view of Mount Kenya made a great
backdrop to a long difficult run. It
was a small race (<500 runners, of which only about 100 were running the full
marathon) and included many of the world's top marathoners (who are all Kenyan),
including the men's 1st, 4th and 11th ranked runners. (I didn't win!) It was
difficult, but I was pleased with my time (4:09), which was just 20 minutes slower
I dashed to Uganda and met Robyn at the airport. The capital, Kampala, is not
Paris, but is at least safe and is therefore a welcome respite after
We met an English traveler who had traveled overland from Cairo. He said, "Khartoum
makes Nairobi look like Geneva." He was disparaging Khartoum, but instead
made me very interested in it.
We also ran the H3 in Kampala and then headed towards the
southwest corner of Uganda to go gorilla trekking. On the
way we stopped at Lake Bunyoni, hiking
and relaxing for a couple days. Gorilla trekking was awesome! We saw a group
in Mgahinga Gorilla Reserve, which is where Rwanda, Congo and Uganda intersect
along three awesome volcanoes, which form a great backdrop for "trekking
in the mist." We hiked for two hours through the jungle, following gorilla
trails and going through the previous night's gorilla nests before we found the
group. Actually, the silverback found us first by letting out a terrifying screech
banging himself against a tree 5 feet away just to let us know that we'd gotten
close - we all back pedaled, falling over each other.
A couple brutal bus rides put us at Budongo National Forest
for Chimpanzee trekking, but we had less luck there and
only got a few glimpses of some elusive chimpanzees.
The bus rides both ways, however, were interesting. On the way down, a small
exhausted girl slept in Robyn's lap. On the way back, the only ride back to
town that we could get was a 2 hour ride (to go 40kms)
in the small bed of a pickup
truck with 25 (literally) locals. We were packed so tightly we had to stand
straight up and had nothing to hang onto - it was very
scary! The locals thought it was
very funny to have a couple Muzungas (white people) on board. They were very
good natured and having a great time. A colorful experience that I hope we
don't repeat soon.
We'd love to hear how you're doing- Safari Ala Carte