It must have been strange after all of the activity of the trip so far to suddenly have a completely lazy day. Why am I not surprised that after the conclusion of the passport debacle, and the ensuing relief, it ended up with all of them playing a game of ‘Chase the Chicken’ …
Day 24 – 8th August
Whilst in Hotel Janus I tried some locally made coffee and discovered that I really liked it, so I took the opportunity to try it again this morning. What I didn’t realise is that you have to filter it when you make it yourself; and that’s how I found myself drinking nice tasting mud with milk in. Accompanying my mud for breakfast was a large hash brown that covered the entire plate.
The mood during the night and this morning was sombre because of the prospect of Chris and Andy going home early. Chris and Andy themselves had to rise at the crack of dawn to go to the police station to file a theft report. When they returned the tension was palpable as we waited for the phone call from Alex. Instead, we observed a motorbike arrive with Alex on it holding his thumbs up. The million-to-one chance had happened: Alex found Chris’ money belt and passport. Obviously Chris was over the moon at this discovery, and he gave Alex a generous tip and bought him a drink.
After a warm goodbye we had lunch. Several of us ordered a grilled cheese sandwich with tomatoes and onions which was nice even though it had about 3 g of cheese on it.
Today was a completely lazy day, I had my first shower in ages and washed and dried my kit. The view from the hotel is spectacular; apart from the main feature, Sipi Falls, there are 4 subsidiary waterfalls contributing to a perfect backdrop to lunch.
The happy feeling was marred slightly by the fact that one of the cooking stoves has been lost or stolen. Gavan and I had ordered a plate of chips each, and I had coated mine with too much chili sauce and dried chilli flakes. This meant I could barely speak when Adam came downstairs to interrogate me about the stove. Everyone checked their rooms and their bags to establish that the stove was definitely gone, and the manager suggested that a local dog might have run off with it. With nothing better to do, we spread out and searched for it. Chris and I climbed to the very top of the Crow’s Nest to look, but we were distracted by the awesome view – the falls on one side and the Great Rift Valley on the other. The Great Rift looks like a never ending plain stretching away to infinity; from up high you can see the curvature of the Earth.
Eventually we came down and found that no one had discovered our runaway stove, so Craig and I went to the police station to file a report. Upon arriving at the ramshackle station I explained the situation to the man on duty who took down World Challenge contact details and information about the stove. He began writing his report, pausing occasionally to question Craig and I. As we sat with little to do, we observed several people in handcuffs being brought in for questioning or imprisonment (hopefully unrelated to our situation). The report was eventually finished although we struggled to decipher the spelling and handwriting.
When we got back everyone was sitting in a circle cleaning their boots, so I sat down and joined in. Suddenly all hell broke loose as Craig scared a nearby chicken to come rampaging through our circle and frighten the life out of us. This somehow led us to an interesting game: catch the chicken. As there were plenty of chickens wandering around the hotel (we were staying in a scattering of log cabins with bunk beds), we spread out and climbed up and down and around the hill (sometimes on hands and knees) in a group attempt to circle and corner one, co-ordinated by Craig. We were trying for a good hour, mostly being bested by the wily fowl. The closest we came was corning one onto a miniature cliff edge, resulting in it sprinting off the cliff and flapping with all its might, just missing Andy’s face on the way down while squawking the fright of his life into him. Another time we chased one under a fence (through Craig’s legs) and into a random house, where we discovered a completely unperturbed old woman sitting down and smoking who didn’t even bat an eye.
I had spaghetti again for dinner, although others were more adventurous. They make garlic bread here by taking any random slice of bread and frying it with garlic and butter, which had never occurred to me before but tastes amazing. The waitress sidled over to Craig and asked whether we wanted chicken for dinner. He replied no, and she said “Oh, you were just keeping fit with the chickens then?”.
We were offered a deal for some locally grown coffee and thinking of my Dad I haggled down to a reasonable price and bought 2 bags for him. By bought, I mean ordered – they will be roasted/ground tonight and delivered in the morning.
Tonight we sat up late drinking assorted soda and playing cards. Tomorrow we travelled to Jinja for white water rafting on the Nile.