In Uganda, the word ‘Ginger’ is spoken amongst tourist all the time, long before arriving in Uganda, I knew all about it. Now, I’m not talking about a tall strapping young ginger lad or the taste of spicy sweet delicacy of a ginger zingiber. I am talking about the little town, situated at the source of the Nile called Jinja. Jinja, architecturally is astonishing, harbouring many examples of East African Colonial architecture and art deco palaces along with the natural beauty of Nile river.
For me, Jinja was just meant to be a one night stop over on the way to Kampala. But its beauty just gripped us and every day, Mike and I said “Nah, we will leave tomorrow”. Days later, we tear ourselves away from its captivating grip and drove the last 80 kilometers to Kampala. We pack our bags, leaving only Mikes sleeping bag out to breathe while having our last good cup of coffee. When a storm appeared out of nowhere, it only took a few moments to realize that we had left it out there. But it was too late to save it from the heavy drops that soaked in too quickly.
Despite the grey clouds ahead of us, we leave for Kampala with Mike’s sleeping bag unpacked, but under the elastic mesh to hopefully dry out before we arrive at our next destination. Just as we entered the rain forest that lines both sides of the main highway, it started to pour down once again, soaking everything before we had a chance to stop and stuff everything away out of harm’s way.
The kilometres dragged on as I could feel cold damp undies give me a chill. With less than ten kilometres to Kampala, I felt my accelerator catching and not allowing me my full throttle range. I could no longer pass Matatu’s (mini-van public transport). I was stuck behind them until they would have to pull over to let a passenger on or off. I started to lose Mike from my view. He stopped to wait for me and I explain that something is wrong with my accelerator. But after a quick check in the rain, I cannot see anything out of place.
A few kilometres later, half way through a small intersection in the middle of a village my accelerator just won’t work anymore. In the confusion, I let my bike stall and I am stranded in the middle. Leaping off, I quickly push it off to one side and start hunting properly for the fault. Mike was long gone and the rain was just starting to ease up. Motorcycle taxi guys started to approach me, asking if I need help. But I wave them off knowing I should be able to find out what the problem is.
Everything looks ok at the carburettor and everything looks ok at the handlebars too. I started to over think the problem, wondering if everything was normal after all. Mike who had returned refused to tow me the final kilometers so I was determined to fix the problem right here and right now. That’s when I saw it. The lock screws had unwound and fallen off, allowing the throttle cable to come completely out of its holders. Which in turn, doesn’t give the right amount of tension on the cables to perform 100%.
As soon as I realised this, I was able to fix it and be back on the road within minutes. Laughing to myself about how silly and easy it is to miss something so simple. We arrive into Kampala, a city known for its boda boda’s (motorcycles) and crazy driving. But after so long on the road we find it a breeze to slip pass the long lines of cars and arrive at our guesthouse quiet quickly. Soaking we stand at the reception, watching the puddles below our feet grow while the staff slowly flick through the huge reservation book, hoping that they have a room available. Camping tonight with our wet gear and one wet sleeping bag would be the pits! For the first time today, we got lucky as there was one free room available!
Kampala is a far cry from the beauty of Jinja, but my auntie Chriss is arriving from Australia in a few days. So, I am teaming with excitement for her arrival and the adventures we will share together!