Mombasa and Kampala 8/5 – 8/11
We set off from Shela beach in Lamu early morning on a boat to catch our bus to Mombasa. We were not really wanting to leave, but after two weeks there, we knew it was time to get this adventure on the road again. On the boat to the mainland we witnessed something you would ONLY see in Africa!
As our boat was on its way, some people who had missed it caught up to us in another boat and tried to jump on. The last person to try was a woman who had a baby wrapped to her belly. She put her hand on, then tried to bring her leg over, just as the two moving boats started to separate. Stretched to the near brink of falling into open ocean, her baby’s head was down to the water, seemingly ready to slip out of her wrap at any second…but yet it remained asleep, completely unaware of the potential fate. The boats separated even farther, and I started to panic; I was sure she was going in, baby and all. Amazingly, incredibly, miraculously she was able to hold on as a human bridge until we were able to pull the boats back together enough for her to climb aboard. She then sat down as if nothing had happened, hopefully grateful that her baby’s safety was now assured. I thought to myself, “It’s way too early for this. Let’s turn around and go back to our peaceful ocean front hotel. ” But on we went…
After an 8 hour bus ride, we were stoked to find out our hotel had Nat Geo Wild channel, a movie channel and one that played awesomely bad reality TV (Australian version of my all-time fave COPS and Cheaters). We were also glad it was within walking distance of the closest thing we have had to Pizza Hut pizza and GREAT Indian food!
The next morning to set off early to purchase some kanga fabrics (to be used on certain, very special upcoming day:). Elizabeth was so excited about making wedding plans, and I was feeling good to get something accomplished for it. Although I don’t care for shopping much, I was happy she was so excited about the wedding. We hit the crazy market street, bustling with women frantically purchasing the newest kanga patterns. Because Ramadan was ending in just 3 days, they were on SUPER sale (Mom, you would have been in heaven!) Muslim women were literally lined up elbow to elbow outside of storefront to get their hands on these fabrics. It was like Black Friday at Walmart, mixed with a fiendish concert event…at any moment, someone might get trampled! We didn’t really get what the madness was all about, but then we realized they were just trying to get the newest patterns before they sold out. Entire patterns (each in 4 or 5 different color schemes) were selling out right before our eyes!! We finally politely elbowed our way to the front, and before we knew it we where the proud owners of 30 kangas (again, Mom, can you believe I would be so into fabric?)
We spent a great day wandering around Old Town’s winding alleyways, and we were able to spend all but just the money we needed for dinner and a taxi to the airport the next day on some really cool souvenirs (Next step: confirm the baggage policy on Turkish Airlines because we are loading up!)
One flight later, we are in Uganda! It’s our last country before we fly home, which is incredibly hard to believe! Just over 5 weeks left, and I think both of us are having a hard time realizing our trip is coming to an end. For a while, we fantasized about how amazing sushi or a GOOD cheeseburger would be, or how excited we are to see our family and friends. I dorked out and missed web development and design. But now that the end seems so near, those things have faded. We are finally just getting “good” at traveling together and in Africa, so we don’t feel ready to leave. There is still so much to see and do!!!!
A few days in Kampala then we were off to see the rest of the country. We started things off right in a new country with a date night to some fantastic Chinese food (also one of those things we have been missing…can you see a theme yet?) The night only got more interesting as we watched some “street justice” from our hotel balcony. All of the sudden, we see a guy running from about 3 or 4 other guys carrying big sticks. They finally catch up to him and start whapping him with their big sticks until he hit the ground and were able to tie his hands. We had actually read they use this “street justice” technique here if you yelled out someone had robbed you, but we never thought we would actually see it firsthand!
We don’t know what he did to deserve it, but from someone whose favorite show is “Cops,” it was pretty wild!
We spent a day sorting out a permit to visit the gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest…but two visits to the Uganda Wildlife Authority office later, we are going! We were even more stoked because we get to go with our friends Annie and Steve, other travelers from England and Australia we had been lucky enough to spend a good deal of time with in Lamu. So with a week to go until we actually do it, we decided to leave Kampala and head to Fort Portal for some relaxing at the Crater Lakes.
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