Crossing the Mountains

Trip Start Nov 05, 2006
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Trip End Jan 14, 2008


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Flag of Uganda  ,
Thursday, June 7, 2007

One more day of overland through the infamous mountains of Uganda to
arrive in Kisoro, our launch point for the stealth  mission of
gorilla trekking in D.R. Congo. (Are we nuts???)  As with the previous day, the African scenery never ceases to amaze as what we expected to be dry and arid, is in fact, a lush landscape of mountains and valleys.  Oh, for those of you planning to come here, AFRICA IS COLD!  It's on the equator right?  Shouldn't it be warm?

Highlights of the day's travel included a spectacular view of three adjacent volcanoes each in a separate country.   We are constantly greeted by local children which run alongside the truck - most frequently shouting "Pen!" "PEN!"  While the education in Africa continues to progress, the availability of school supplies must be short.  Every kid asks for a pen!  If you're coming to Africa BRING PENS!  So as we all gazed out the windows over the heads of the pen hungry children, our German truck-mate earned the quote of the day (read with a German accent) with "I just love this place.  I could stay here forever.  If it weren't for all these f___ing kids."  Laura's jaw dropped to the floor in horror.  I collapsed in laughter.

We arrived late afternoon near the Ugandan/D.R. Congo border where we were prepped for our "stealth crossing" the following day.  We were instructed to bring nothing as some groups had been robbed (great.)  Our fees, pre-payed, included the permit fee, visa fee (no passport stamp) and the "back door" payment (bribe) to the border guard to look the other way while we crossed into and out of D.R. Congo.  You see, officially if you go to the Congo you have to pay for new Ugandan and Kenyan visas.  That's an unwanted $80 expense so some greasing of palms is in order to save money.  Luckily, border supervision is an entrepreneurial business and $10 per person makes everyone happy and no passport evidence ever exists.  I'm not sure what you do if something goes wrong. 
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