Monday, June 27, 2011

East Africa Day 45 (Mon June 27): Adventure Planning

Elaine and I got up late this AM – after 10am. Elaine then made roasted potatoes with rosemary from her mother’s garden in Irvine, CA. Over breakfast Elaine taught me how to dry rosemary branches. She ships it all over the world to friends, straight from her mother’s garden. She then helped me plan my next adventure – Kibale National Park, to go Chimp Tracking. She’s an expert on Uganda’s parks and wildlife, because she’s spent a lot of time (sometimes five weeks at a time) in the parks conducting research. I really appreciated her advice.

We then took a matatu over to the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) main office, which is approximately a ten minute drive away. I went into the permitting office to gather more information about the Chimp Tracking Permits. Just like the Gorilla Permits, you need to buy a permit to see the chimps. Only a certain number of permits are sold for each day. I would go see the Gorillas on the border with Rwanda, but the permits are $500 per day, whereas the Chimp Tracking Permits are $90 per day – plus park admission fees. I was able to get a Chimp Tracking Permit for this Wednesday, July 29. I decided to take it when I learned that the National Park Fees were going up on July 1. Kibale is $30, but will go up to $35 on July 1. So that seemed like an extra incentive to go to Kibale this week:)

After purchasing my permit and park admission ticket, I hung out in the UWA library while Elaine finished up her meetings with EWA staff regarding her Fulbright project. I made an attempt to plan out my next two weeks in East Africa – looked at a calendar, and made some phone calls. I’m going to visit the Invisible Children office in Gulu on Monday! Caught up with my mom for a little bit.

Elaine and I then took a matatu back to her neighborhood, where we ran into Liz and did some shopping in the markets – fruit, groceries.

photo: Liz and Elaine outside of Elaine's apartment building

Then headed back to her apartment and made dinner. Her friend Katherine from Iceland, who attended Cal stopped by with her friend John. They’d had a very eventful visit to Murchinson Falls. Katherine picked up her bag and had to head to the airport to fly to Iceland. John is spending the night at Elaine’s and leaves for Rwanda tomorrow, via bus. I leave at 7:30am to catch the bus to Fort Portal, and then a matatu to the place I’m staying outside of Kibale National Park. Looking forward to taking the Post Bus to Fort Portal!

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