So, this weekend was awesome! We made it to Jinja in record time on the bus on Friday. The Elgon Flyer redeemed it's title as the most luxurious coach in Uganda. Once we got to Jinja, we headed straight for the Source Cafe. It was kind of a let-down. First of all, it turns out that it's connected to some faith based organization or something. The missionary guy who runs the place is a bit strange, talking incessantly and whatnot. And the menu was extremely limitedt--here wasn't a single vegetarian item on it. I can't believe they didn't have Virgin Mary French Toast. I settled for a chocolate milkshake, which was delicious but not entirely satisfying. Also, the craft shop attached to the place is way over priced. They're more worried about making money for Jesus than selling goods at fair prices.
We then moved on to some of the same craft places we had visited before As I am my mother's daughter, I bought a few more things--but I definitely got some good deals. Then we headed to 2 Friends for dinner. 2 Friends is apparently one of the nicer hotels in Jinja--it was out of our price range so I can't comment on the rooms, but the restaurant was pretty good.
After dinner we headed off to Adrift Lodge. Included in the price of the rafting trip is one free night at lodge. I kind of felt like I was back at camp/sleeping in a tree house. There were four bunks, each consisting of four beds, made out of huge tree trunks. The beds had about three feet of space between them, so it made for a slightly cramped and claustrophobic sleep. Some beds had tiny little bed nets, while others went without. My bed had a net, but it also had a hole the size of my fist so I'm not sure how effective it was. Also, the sheets were super musty and of questionable cleanliness. Needless to say, my allergies did not fare well. I woke up wheezing and unable to breathe. Nothing like the fresh air of the Nile to clear that up though!
We got up bright and early in the morning--mostly no one slept that well--had some breakfast, loaded on the sunscreen (that was mostly me), and headed off to our boats. Between the 12 of us, we split into two boats--a wild boat and a mild boat (though the mild boat actually had the wildest ride). I was in the wild boat with 7 UBC students and our guide, who was also Canadian. We went over class 3, 4, and 5 rapids. It was SO much fun! We had a delicious lunch of sandwiches and fruit. It was so nice to eat whole vegetables rather than ones that had been chopped up and made into a sauce. We applied more sunscreen, and set off for the second half of the day. We went over a 16 foot waterfall, though it didn't really seem that high. I was a bit scared at that point, but it al turned out well.
The mild boat had a much different experience. There was a large rock at the top of the waterfall that several boats got stock on. Naturally, one of these was the mild boat. I heard this story after the fact, of course, but apparently their guide, a local guy who had grown up on the river, was yelling at the boat, and Nrupa in particular, that they didn't paddle correctly, which caused them to get stuck. After several minutes of bouncing and attempting to get the boat unstuck, the guide (Tutu, though now renamed Totem Pole) jumped out of the boat and supermanned it over the waterfall. The boat slid of the rock and over the waterfall. For about an hour after this event, our boat didn't know what had happened. All we saw were pissed off faces and silence between the guide and everyone in the boat. After a powwow a bit later, the mild boat switched guides and had an enjoyable remainder of the ride.
Saturday night we headed back to Jinja town and attempted to find a hotel. We had emailed the hotel we stayed at two weeks ago earlier asking for the same rooms, but apparently there was some confusion. The manager on duty told us that we were actually charged incorrectly last time. Now, our two rooms with two full size beds for four people would cost 50,000/= more shillings. Apparently they decided that a double bed is really only made for one person and that the two extra people staying in the room would each cost an additional 25,000/=. After much arguing, we went to a different hotel, which turned out to be much better. It was slightly cheaper, had much nicer bathrooms and really good food. After showering and taking a quick dinner, we all promptly passed out.
The next morning, we took some breakfast and went back into town to finish our shopping. I managed to get all of my gifts and then some, plus a really good milkshake! We caught a taxi back home. Ramtin sat with a live chicken. I had someone ask me if I wanted to make babies with him. All in all a pretty standard taxi ride back to Mbale.