Walking into Spiderwebs…

Apparently I needed an escape from my escape from life. After being bombarded with work on Friday (a good thing – all fun and interesting work), some mediocre Indian-Chinese food, and miraculously uneventful milkshakes with the family, some friends and I awoke well before dawn for an island adventure. Still nursing a nasty cold and exhausted, I was less than thrilled to arrive at the dock at 6:40 in the morning when our ferry didn’t actually leave until 8. But 3-hour ferry rides are for sleeping, and after exploring the town of Kalangala, the four of us piled into a fishing canoe and headed off to Banda Island.  What follows is a highly abbreviated, poorly thought through version of my most awesome island adventure.

Clockwise from top left: waiting for the ferry at Port Bell (in Luzira) at dawn, beach chair (i.e. my throne) at Banda Island, campfire on the beach, and the fantastic bedding that was provided. My tentmate got Spiderman sheets.

Don’t really know what to say about my trip except that, like everything else in Uganda, it was beaaauuutiful. I spent most of Saturday half-napping, half-reading, and blowing my nose on the beach. It was a fabulous change from dust, dirt, planning and coordinating. Lake Victoria was a gorgeous clear blue, the sand was white-ish (albeit full of stones), and apparently my camp was in the middle of hippo-territory. Luckily, no hippo attacks but I DID wake up Sunday morning to see SOMETHING moving under my mattress. Too terrified to figure out what, I decided just to try my luck and hope that nothing would eat me. I WAS doused in bug spray (highest concentration of DEET available!) and wearing long sleeves.

The hippo might have stayed away, but the birds, fish, giant mystery grasshopper-like bugs, and spiders certainly didn’t. Apparently DEET doesn’t give you special spiderweb-vision. Neither does watching Spiderman days before an island trip. Somehow, every turn involved me walking into a spider’s web the size of my torso. No surprise, it wasn’t long before I had that No Doubt song running through my head nonstop.

Top: Sparkling lights from the fishing boats at night. The light attracts the fish. Bottom: playing Jenga by latern-light.

And as our island weekend wore on, my cold slowly, slowly disappeared. We discovered that Jenga was a Swahili word for “building,” played Jenga by lamplight, and got lost hiking in a rainforest, wearing flip-flops and vainly attempting to keep moving so that safari ants wouldn’t eat up my feet. I did get a small cut on my feet, which caked itself with dirt (ew). I made friends with a confused-looking toddler in a fishing village, and then we missed the ferry back and had to arrange a mid-lake water transfer, where we literally jumped our fishing boat onto the ferry.

Sunrise over the Lake Victoria. Believe it – my feet are under about a foot of water in this picture. Who knew Lake Victoria could be so clear?

On a side note, as I’m trapped in the office afterhours because of rain, I’m getting REALLY excited about the Olympics opening ceremonies this weekend, wishing I was in London, and reading lots of Olympics literature.  As it turns out, the Olympics are economically inefficient.

Sad day!


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