Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Uganda 3

  • Despite the challenges encountered in the country, I really enjoyed the act of camping.  Felt very cocooned in my tent with all my stuff somewhat organized around me.  Didn't enjoy packing up and taking everything down frequently.  Am definitely more of a pitch a tent and stay put type of person. 
  • My back felt surprisingly good sleeping on the ground.  I had some concerns with developing back pain but fortunately nothing manifested.  Prior to my arrival, I even practiced camping in my living room -- That's just how committed (crazy...) I am! 
  • Others I met would literally just stay one night -- Arriving later in the day and then up at 5 - 6 am to pack up and go.  Some of them have been on the move for at least a month, doing jeep or motorcycle touring across an impressive amount of the continent.  Covering a ton of ground, that's for sure, but not something that would appeal to me at that pace.
  • It did feel weird being the one left behind though, being the only one not packing up and moving on.  Felt seriously let down for a while, like I was missing out on something really cool.  Something I hadn't expected to feel, considering how far I had already journeyed to get there.  Peer pressure!
  • There is definitely a certain "breed" of people who tour Africa for long periods of time.  Not scientific but there seemed to be a good number of introverts.  Because of the sheer size of the continent, you spend an inordinate amount of time on the road.  I've never done a road trip that lasted more than 3 weeks.  And certainly none under such harsh conditions.  I don't know how relaxing it would be given the pollution, noise etc. Those people are far more hard core than I think I could ever be. 
  • Wouldn't do another safari again.  The opportunity came up last minute and I made some changes to make it happen.  Once it got going, I realized how much experience I already had with respect to seeing the various animals compared to others in my group.  I couldn't believe that some had never seen a giraffe or elephant before!  
  • The amount of sitting and the long days ( 6:15 am - 6 pm for 3 days) made me glad to get back to camp each night.  I would have be totally happy just staying there, keeping an eye out for the hippos and warthogs and taking walks down to the river.  There were surprisingly few bugs at the safari camp.
  • Lots of expats in the country working for the very numerous NGOs, UN based agencies, in development, healthcare (very inventive and smart HIV/AIDS poster campaign in central Kampala), human rights.  For the majority of them, this was their first placement -- Not what I would consider a soft landing.

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