Hikes, six degrees of separation and weddings!

My dad has arrived and we have spent a few days with him in Kapsowar before we head to Masai Mara tomorrow. Yesterday we did the ridge walk with one of the med students here (from Queens), his wife, their two friends from Tanzania (one Canadian and one Tanzanian), a medical student from Australia and our friend Risper from Kapsowar.
We did the ridge walk that we had done before with Josh and Kendrah and I was amazed at how much easier it was this time now that we have adjusted to the change in altitude.

Me with some coffee beans that Risper found for us along the trail. (She actually found the plants and took the beans.) She was our nature guide as we walked, constantly picking plants and telling us about their medicinal benefits or what the Kalingen people used the plants for.

We stopped at a church that was being constructed along the way and were given a tour by the chairman of the building committee. This is the office for the pastor and for some strange, unknown reason (to us at least) there is a ladder leading to a window. Marc of course took the opportunity to get in a little climbing. Doesn't he look angelic?
My dad cut his hand putting his backpack on (on a pen sticking out of the pocket of all things) and Risper worked her herbal magic (hee hee). We just happened to be stopped right by a healing plant when he cut his hand and she pulled off the leaf and squeezed the juice onto his hand. It actually sealed the cut and took the pain away but now he can't get the green plant dye off his hand.This is Marc and I with Dan and Catherine's friend Abram. (Visiting from Tanzania) We found out that he was roommates at Regent with our good friend Steve, met Marc's cousin Rob while he was in Nairobi and also knew Marc's cousin Stacey from Regent. It's truly a small world.
My dad also brought us the new Harry Potter from London. Notice how happy I am and I even let Marc read it first! What a nice wife I am.
Today we went for a hike into a jungle and I got a little dirty as you can see. I also MAY have decided that I should wipe my dirty hands (muddy from falling) off on the grass and MAY have accidentally wiped them in poop. Oops!
We stopped to watch a football game at the local children's home.
Some safari ants along the way.
Lastly, we are REALLY REALLY REALLY sad that we cannot make it to the wedding of these two today. Congratulations Lowell and Julie we love you lots and lots and wish you a wonderful day! Even though we can't be there physically we are thinking of you two today!!!!!!


uganda etc.

we are picking up kylie's dad greg from eldoret today and this weekend we will be heading off to do some more travelling and hiking with him. in the meantime i am finishing off a marathon week of work. i was on call this weekend and it was BUSY! on friday i started off with a c section in the evening and it went downhill from there. after admitted numerous patients i got to bed around 12:30 only to be woken up at 2:00 to see a guy who had been shot in the leg. the bullet entered his lateral thigh, smashed through his femur, exited his medial thigh, reentered his testicle and exited the penile shaft on the opposite side... ouch! he had lost a lot of blood so i was pretty worried about him, and he couldnt feel or move his leg, so after resuscitating him i was still worried that he would lose his leg, but by day 2 he had blood flow and some sensation back. whew. i am still not sure about his convalescent copulatory capacities though. his buddy had been attacked with a machete but wasnt quite as bad.

before greg comes and we have a whole new batch of pictures i thought i should post a few more from uganda:

here is kylie outside the fishing village we camped beside in the ssesse islands. the island dwellers were much friendlier on the whole than urban ugandans.

exploring the island with a motorbike. day 1, just after it stopped raining.

there was a monitor lizard that used our campsite as a hunting ground. we were pretty impressed with this one, which was a little over a meter long. then we found out that someone had killed this one's mother on the beach last year and she was about 2 meters long!

when we were camping in mabira forest near kampala we encountered a number of these trees which were huge but had no central trunk, just a tangle of supporting roots. amazing bioengineering.

freaky half mannequins which were absurdly common (and a little scary) in masaka.

chris and rachel on a motorbike in jinja.

as mentioned previously, we got stuck on buggala island for 5 days b/c we just couldnt bear to leave. the days were filled with swimming, hiking, kayaking, motorbiking, eating, sitting around the campfire and just relaxing in general. i discovered that beaches are ideal locations for practicing tai chi and took full advantage of all the free time and soft sand.


At days end...

I am feeling much better. I had a great day today (Marc's was not so great, he is on call and EXTREMELY busy) and am feeling much happier about being in Kapsowar. I spent the day cleaning, watching Veronica Mars (very fruitful I know, but it is oh so good . . .), listening to Monster Ballads (why am I admitting this again on the internet?) and doing a craft with these two.

Today was sunny (does wonders for my mood) and at days end I looked out and saw this cow out in our yard. It made me happy.

Here I am just to show you how happy I am. (See I'm not lying!)
And now I am off to make chick pea curry, some of you who know my previous taste in food may think I am totally off my rocker (ahem, mother) but let me assure you I am no longer the girl of yesteryear. I am very excited to eat my curry! Have a great weekend and congrats Ty and Kelsey!!!!!



Warning: Kylie is in a pessimistic mood and wants to go home. This will not be a happy go-lucky post. (I taught my students today the difference between pessimism and optimism the whole time thinking about how pessimistic I feel right now.) It is freakin' cold (so cold that most nights I am wearing long underwear to bed) and cloudy here right now and seeing pictures of people laying on the beach and hearing about how hot it is makes me really want to go home and go to places like this:

And hang out with these people:

And enjoy the wind in my face whilst sitting on this:

Playing with this guy:

While eating one of these:

And then going home to make one of these:
And most of all I REALLY want to go home to attend the wedding of these two: Alas it is not in the cards for us. :(
Don't worry I am not in the depths of despair, just a little homesick. I am excited that my dad is coming next week and if I were not here I would not be able to experience beautiful sunsets like the ones we saw in Uganda and have great upcoming travel experiences so all is not lost! (Edited to add: I am now back from work and stopped off at the local convenience shop and bought A LOT of chocolate. I have had three pieces now and feel much better. I just needed an aphrodisiac I guess.) ;)


Oh the sounds of Uganda!

We have arrived safely back in Kapsowar after two weeks in Uganda. One thing that we particularly noticed in Uganda that was different from Kapsowar was ALL the sounds. I slept horribly for most of the trip because of all the crazy sounds we were assailed with every night. Here is a quick (or maybe not so quick) list of our sound filled journey for you: (Complete with extra photos for your visual satisfaction.)

1. Call to prayer
For the first four nights of our trip we were fortunate? enough to stay RIGHT beside a mosque. Each morning at 4am we would be woken up by a call to prayer. We stayed directly beside a mosque in Jinga, down the block from one in Kampala and just up the street from this one in Masaka. (You’d think by this point we would be looking for one before we decided to stay in a hotel but we thought that we could not possibly stay directly beside a mosque three hotels in a row. Apparently you can!)

2. Ummm Ugandan Karaoke?
We came through Kampala twice on this trip. Once on the way to the Ssesse Islands and then again on the way back. The first venture through we stayed at a hotel that offered the aforementioned sauna and massage that Marc is now addicted to. When we checked in the hotel staff neglected to tell us that Tuesday night was talent??? (this has several question marks for a reason) night. They also forgot to mention that the room we were given was DIRECTLY across from the stage. Sitting on our bed and looking out the window we had the best seats in the house! From 8pm until 1am we were assailed with Ugandans lip-synching very poorly to a variety of songs. The climax of the evening occurred when a Ugandan dressed in full cowboy regalia complete with a sequined vest lip-synched to a George Strait's "I'm going to love you forever." All of this was occurring while Chris was spending much time in the bathroom. Which leads me to my next sound . .

3. Chris puking
Poor Chris ate some bad Nyama Choma (fried meat) in Jinga and spent four days puking. I think the whole laying in bed while puking listening to a Ugandan cowboy sing George Strait was a bit surreal for him. Here he is re-enacting his “fun filled” four days for you in Masaka.

4. Disco
Thinking that we were now headed away from all the sounds that kept us awake at night we headed for the peace and quiet of the Ssesse Islands on Lake Victoria. We were initially going to spend two days here but ended up staying five. Luckily the Disco at the resort next door (who has a disco on an island?!!) ;) only occurred the first two nights we were there.

We stayed at a camp run by a Dutchman named Loek. The islands were so beautiful with white sand beaches. We spent a lot of time reading and relaxing and eating the great food made by the camp staff. Marc went kayaking at sunset every day while I took multiple pictures. (It was very difficult to decide which pictures to put on because they were all so great!)
Me and the crazy boys.
The sunset on our first night on the islands.

The beach we spent much time on
Yet another beautiful sunset
5. Boda Boda
Uganda is overrun with motorcycles they call “boda bodas.” They are absolutely none in the area of Kenya where we are and I had forgotten how they change the atmosphere of a city. “Muzungu, Muzungu, we go, we go!” was heard constantly as we walked all over Uganda. They were all amazed that we would choose to walk instead of take a motorbike. After seeing them weave in and out of traffic in Kampala I was much happier walking.

We rented a boda boda for a self drive while we were on the Ssese Islands. The first morning we rented one it rained for the first little while and it took Marc a while to figure out the gears (they are all backwards from Canada). Also I am not a very good motorbike passenger, constantly telling (he would say yelling) Marc to SLOW DOWN!!! The second day we rented a different bike and I calmed down a bit and enjoyed the ride around the island much more.

6. Matatu park noise
Surprisingly, Kampala is MUCH (I have used a lot of capitals on this post.) busier than Nairobi. Firstly, as mentioned before there are no boda boda’s in Nairobi and there seemed to be ten times the matatus and people in Kampala. Our second time through we stayed at a hotel directly above the main taxi park. We were used to noises keeping us up at night by this point and it was very interesting to sit on our balcony and people watch from our vantage point high above the park. The cacophony of noises did not deter our slumber, in fact it lulled us to sleep.
The view from our hotel balcony. We had fun playing our own version of Where's Waldo, instead of finding Waldo we had to find the muzungu.
We had a great visit with Myla-Rae (a friend from university working in Kampala) and James who we met last time we were in Uganda who is now going to school in Kampala.

7. __________ is over
At many of the restaurants we went to on our trip we would sit down and look at the menu and decide what to order only to be told that “Spring rolls are over” or “Samosa’s are over.” Chris was told once that he could not order tea because it would take too long to make. ☺ At the same restaurant we were told we could order chips and liver, chips and chicken or chips and beef. Oh so appetizing.

The kicker came in the Mabira Forest where we stayed on our way back from Kampala. We chose a restaurant, sat down ordered a drink and then a meal. After sitting for about 20 minutes the waiter came and told us that, “Food is over.” We asked what he meant and he told us that the cook had gone to Jinga and had not yet returned. We asked to clarification saying – “So you have no food?” We were told, “Oh no we have much food, just no cook.” OHHHHHH we understand.
The food was definitely not "over" at this restaurant in Kampala was evidenced by Marc's extremely LARGE patty.

8. Happy Anniversary to us!
This was not heard incessantly on our trip but we did say it a lot yesterday as we celebrated our sixth anniversary. We stopped about an hour from Kapsowar and stayed at a great little place called the Kerio View which looks out onto the Rift Valley.
We met David and Joseph at the Kerio view, part of the Moran tribe, an offshoot of the famous Masai. (ummm why is this underlined?)
This was our leftover! bacon from our breakfast this morning. We packed it up and I will put it on pizza tomorrow night.

This was not taken on our anniversary but was a re-enactment of a picture we took four years ago on our anniversary in this exact spot so it deserves a space here.

9. Daktari, where have you been??
We arrived back in Kapsowar to many handshakes and greetings asking where we had gone. We were surprised at the number of people who had noticed our absence. The sun is shining again and it is starting to get warmer here. We sure enjoyed our trip but we are very happy to be “home”!