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Monday, October 1, 2012

Joy for Beginners

I recently had a chance to go to Jinja again and I have to say it was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a very long time. I went to meet a friend from USF who is in Uganda doing research in Tororo district in a town called Papoli. 

The weekend was nothing short of fantastic, it ended up being exactly the relaxing weekend I needed. We decided to go paddle-boarding on the Nile on Saturday (I know what you’re all thinking…who does that?) and that evening we did the sunset cruise on the Nile. 

In the morning we went into town and made an attempt to see the source of the Nile. Now, I say we made an attempt because we were not exactly successful in reaching the source because of the complete frustration we both felt while making our attempt. So basically, you go to “the source” and pay an entrance fee at a gate which says you are paying an entrance to the source of the Nile. WRONG! You are actually just paying to get into these semi-botanical gardens and a small little park, from there you are required to pay another large sum of money (relatively speaking I suppose) to get on a boat and go to the actual source, which has been cemented and identified with a sign (I thought this would probably ruin the source rather than make it an attraction). So my friend and I are wandering through the gardens looking for the source when we find this out and we get upset ( I think it’s understandable). We have a few words with some of the guides and finally just decide to take pictures near the river (which we could have done for free) and then near Gandhi’s bust statue (apparently his ashes were scattered in the Nile…why? Who knows?). After this whole fiasco we leave and decide we want to have a few words with the folks at the gate about their false advertising. After going back and forth we finally get a “okay, we’ll talk to the management” response. As we are sitting there waiting for a friend to come pick us up, another vehicle packed with tourists comes to the gate. The driver comes out to talk to the gatekeepers about the costs and my friend, being the awesome person she is, wants to inform this driver of the real costs, not just the ones they decide they’re going to tell you about. Of course this causes the folks at the gate to get upset with us because we’re “embarrassing” them by telling the truth. Finally our friend shows up and we leave (not without a few further words exchanged). 

After this whole fiasco, we stop at a Mandhir nearby which has a full statue of Gandhi, where I do a quick puja for Ganesha, since it was the end of the Ganesha festival.

We proceeded back to the campsite for some paddle-boarding on the Nile, which proved to be easier than I expected, though I was going at a tortoise speed the whole time. There were a few times where I thought I was going to fall into the water and other times when I almost hit my friend (and sometimes we actually did run into each other), but neither of us fell in (BIG DAY!). We had to rush a little in order to make the sunset cruise on the Nile, but we made it and all went well. While on the cruise the music was broken so they had to use my iPod, which was fine, until a few other guests decided they were going to be picky about music. Now, I’m all about being picky about music, when I actually have control over the choice of music…but when you’re on a cruise with a bunch of other people and there is clearly someone else’s iPod playing and you have no idea what is on that iPod, why even bother? Just enjoy the unlimited drinks and the beautiful scenery. It’s not like I had crazy rap music on, I mostly was playing lounge type music…but apparently it wasn’t catchy enough for this one chic so she absolutely had to make her requests…oh well. You can’t win them all (though it was funny, at one point I just gave up trying to be the DJ, allowing other people to do as they pleased with my iPod because I didn’t want to feel like I was working while on this cruise…I did not pay for a sunset cruise to work on it!).

Another great weekend in Jinja. Be jealous.

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