Thursday, 30 July 2009


Things have gotten progressively busier this week and the old Tanzlines has slipped again into neglect. Sitting here immobilized after what is likely my last Indian meal in Tanzania, I thought I would write a teeny-little bit about the last step of last week's adventures: white-water rafting on the Nile. Uganda is known for many tourist activities, but the two big ones are gorilla trekking and rafting the Source of the Nile at Jinja. The rafting part always piqued my interest, partly because that part of the river has multiple Class 4 and 5 rapids (the largest that can be commerically rafted), and partly because of the mystique of the Nile.

It was a great ending to fun week of traveling -- I met up with Esther (the one based in Kampala), Kelly, Caris, and a group of Esther's friends, some of whom I had met before. All told there were two full rafts of our group tackling the great river. The Jinja rafting experience is pretty incredible: it's 7 full hours of rafting, including large stretches of peaceful paddling, easy Class 1, 2 and 3 rapids, and several massive sets of rapids that flip the boats. I was sitting at the front so I got the full thrill when we went over the rougher bits. One of the largest rapids was an 8-foot drop off of Silverback, which surprisingly didn't tip our raft. I was tossed out of the raft twice (the best part of the whole experience, and one I had been semi-secretly hoping would happen). The second time it happened, the entire raft flipped right on its head. Someone fell on top of me, which, combined with the surging water, is actually quite a suffocating experience even if it happens only for a short time. It was fine in the end, of course, and I managed to swim back to the raft easily. Altogether, one of the more fun travel experiences I've had this summer in Africa.

Unrelated to any of the above: I'm flying out from Dar this Saturday on Ethiopian Airlines. I was just trying to re-confirm my flight online and I came across this gem of a result on google: "Ethiopian Airlines (Amharic: የኢትዮጵያ አየር መንገድ; የኢትዮጵያ for short) is an airline based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia." Sure, that makes sense -- "የኢትዮጵያ" for short... a lot easier to say when you cut out the whole "አየር መንገድ" thing.

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