Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day 30 - Alan's Perspective

After a tasty dinner, the night was spent trying to sleep whilst listening
to Richard coughing in the room next door!! He said he has a post nasal
drip!!! I am afraid he was not wrong.

The next morning after breakfast Richard told us about a quiet, scenic
route that took you past Mt Elgon. So off we went, it was Gavin's turn to
lead and he disappeared into the distance. First we were on a tarred road
driving though the most amazing scenery, the mountain was covered in clouds
and looked absolutely amazing. The tall canopy thorn bushes were a sight to

After travelling for a short while on dirt roads, in African terms (1
hour), we arrived at the Suam border post. What a surprise, here was a
little-used border post where officials were interested in where u were
from, where u were going etc. It was so quiet!!!!

We crossed over into Uganda and started to climb into the most beautiful
green hills, you get to drive through lots of villages with all the kids
shouting "mzungu"!! Locally they stop and stare at you as you are the
"mzungu tv".

We found virtually no traffic on the road and those trucks and motorbikes
that were around were travelling pretty slowly.

Down the pass we went!! All of a sudden Gavin's break lights come on and he
slows down to a crawl. The reason? The road was one BIG mud bath and he had
to engage 4x4!!!! Slip slide down the road he went!!! I looked at Jess and
said "oh well no wonder the road is so quiet". There after we slided,
skidded and bounced down the road. On some corners there were locals that
were either fixing or pretending to fix the road - definitely pretending as
they were not making a difference at all!! But they wanted money!!! Gavin
just drove through and so did I. I mean hey we did not need their help - we
drive Landcruiser's (that sometimes break down).

It felt as if the road would never end, never!! At some stage Gavin stopped
to get himself a beer but I decided against it (he should of as well
because the beer ended up all over the inside of his car. On and on went
the mud and sliding!!

The vegetation changed from farming fields to forests and with this the
road changed to a nice smooth dirt road for at least 5 km! Then back to the
fun stuff (and heart stopping as there was a pretty sheer drop on our

Eventually, hours later we hit tarred road again. What a pleasure!! With
all the mud caked on the wheels it felt like the wheels needed balancing
but after a few pot holes we were back to normal.

We stopped over in a place called Mbale for the night. The mozzies just
about carried me away.

We set off fairly early for Jinja. After a few kms The Beast started to
lose power every so often. Overtaking became a issue as every time I
accelerated she would lose power. Before leaving SA the car had spent two
days at Toyota whilst they "fixed" the problem. It appeared to be back!!

We arrived in Jinja and drove to the Nile to have lunch and to book a river
rafting trip for Jess, Gavin and Jen. Lunch consisted of battered telapia
and crispy hot chips. Delicious!

Our camping spot was at Gavin and Jen's friends (Neville and Ina) who were
farming just outside Jinja. We were met by their son, Graham, who was going
to show us the way to the farm. Driving to the farm we encountered more mud
but the difference this time was the oncoming trucks. They hog the middle
of the road and expect you to drive on the shoulder where all the mud and
water is. Gavin and I were slipping sideways. Pretty lousy section of road.

The farm is located next to Lake Victoria and has stunning views of the
environment. Neville does fish farming on the lake. Pretty interesting

Ina and Neville prepared battered kapenta, talapia and a fish curry for
dinner. Delicious!! We pitched our tents in their garden for the night,

Early the next morning we set off back to Jinja so that everyone could do
white water rafting.

Jess was extremely apprehensive at the thought of going down the Nile on a

Apprehension became excitement and off they went!! I had decided not to do
it because of my knee and shoulder and was to drive to the first rapid and
take pictures from the river side. I never got there!!

The Beast would not start at all so I spent the day taking both my petrol
tanks off and replacing both fuel pumps. With the help of Paulo and
Abdillah we managed to get the tanks off. Imagine this, I have this huge
200 litre tank full of petrol and no containers ti syphon it into. Well the
problem went away when empty buckets appeared and I saw the quality of the
fuel. I negotiated to pay for their help with petrol. The look of glee on
their faces was a sight to behold. Frankly, I paid too much but it was
worth it.

We eventually finished the job and it appears to be fixed. Today will tell!

I drove to meet the others who by now finished their adventure. Jess was
beaming from ear to ear, Jen looked happy to be back and Gavin was pale!
Gavin had nearly drowned when a rope from the raft wrapped around his leg
and he could not get it loose!! Hopefully he will write about his

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