The Thrill of Bungee Jumping

“I’d rather be scared to death than bored to death”

To take the jump or not to. This is how life has been lately as we battle every day situations and shenanigans in a crazy world. After a catastrophic week mired with anxiety, mild depression, zero motivation and whole days spent sleeping. I needed a push, a shove and a shrink who i found in my friend Adrian(Jack of all trades this one, same guy who did photography for my Airbnb listing). Not shocking since he hates my guts and  is not a professional counselor, Adrian advised me to go jump to my death. I cant believe i trusted this man’s discernment but i half decided to go Bungee jumping the following weekend.

I have been to the world renown tourist destination Jinja several times with family and friends, camped at the Nile and i always pass through it between home and Kampala. It is fun but there are those few seconds i always craved for. Those few seconds on the Adrift Nile high bungee. To suggest it to the parents would be like signing up for parentlessness and impromptu burial arrangements just like i waved off my rights to sue Adrift just in case something went wrong.

I have always known that am manically fearless and daring with my love for contact sports and trouble at school but jumping from one of the most spectacular 140ft high bungee in the world is something else.

A few years from now i will not be able to tell how i got up there but i hurriedly and fearlessly got up there with no second guessing or contingency plans but i guess this was partly induced by the the strict no refund policy in case one got weak knees and peed themselves.

Being a long time coming, i had to savor this moment,  while walking up the steel platform that soars over the cliff that towers over the deep fast flowing river Nile i looked down, i looked him in the eye. Though i highly suspect its a her since it involves risking it all and diving  into waters for a thrill that lasts seconds.

Prior to the decision to do the jump, one particular detail stood out being which diving pose i would use. Would it be the grand old pool dive, the superman flying pose, the Neo flying pose from the matrix or maybe the naked man stance. While up there I was shown into the ‘kings seat’ so called maybe because it has been sat into by greats including prince William and others who have taken on the ‘ultimate personal challenge’.  Here attention to detail was key as i was  strapped so hard at the ankles and at the waist area it left a humongous organ print on my khaki pants(exaggeration here for personal reasons). The bungee safety guy appropriately donning a t shirt with the words “id rather be scared to death than bored to death” pointed out the safety features perhaps in a bid to make sure i did not change my mind or because he has dealt with lots of back to back safety questions from scared patsies and sissies. Then under strict instructions i hoped to the edge, crossed the cord that separated the jumper from the safety guys which really made me feel like i was  in that situation where you are making a bad decision alone and the separating code was to make sure  you do not take anyone else down with you.  I still had my everything together standing on the edge, i was able to wave to the camera and  with the wind howling i heard loud mumblings with a barely understandable count from the safety guys as i jumped with the superman stance into the air. It felt like an unending jump into a bottomless pit in a dream, adrenaline at its peak with nothing to hold on, seeing nothing but green and blue then suddenly i felt a pull upwards and that’s when i felt saved and had to  soar like a kite in the sky. The upward bouncing ans swinging happened several times as i barely heard the  stewards calling on me to hold the oar so i could be lowered into an inflatable boat.

I Finally found the only thing that lasts shorter than sex or an mixed martial arts fight but more dangerous and exciting. I vow to do it again.

I was so exhilarated by the whole experience and relieved this moment again and again thanks to the great in-house photography and my resilient Sony xperia ray video recording. This is also when i found out that instead of looking like superman taking a jump, i looked like the drunk looser Hancock.

 

 

 

Nairobae

Being bored of everything everyday despite thousands of options for entertainment and preoccupation for me has passed the point of cliche and descended into a point of threadbare stereotype. Many of us are joining a group of zombies who are bored of everything. Bored of forwarded and recycled whats app messenger jokes,news, job adverts. Bored by the everyday tabloid headlines with fickle tabloid material. Bored of hang outs with the same deafening often bubble gum music played over and over again till your senses accept it as good music. Bored by the senseless politics and drama making for coleus and often revolting office talk among paper pushers who never want to leave their desks all in the name of job security. Bored of the economic recession talk which makes good fodder the social commentator’s gripe fest.

With this thaasophobia creeping up, i decided to take a random trip. How about go see a different city and speak an old language i used to know, meet old friends i haven’t seen in a long time(lots of change here). Usually i sit in Kampala have a drink with friends in different cities but now i was ready to risk it all mid year and take off. But random comes with its challenges as any attempt to escape reality. There were numerous postponements.

So i boarded a bus with my person with a mutual disdain for cliches and one equally incesed by stage bodabodas,  and her often well guided pessimism is for both our good. I had a smooth night journey, met very irritable border officials who pushed me to the back of the queue twice as this whole East African community thing hasn’t picked up well at the Busia border yet, got played by a money changer at the border or not and this remains a deeper mystery than the moon landing or jfk assassination. I had a smooth ride still, beheld the magnificent rift valley whose intriguing mystery and beauty cannot be explained then blankly gazed at the country side till we arrived in Nairobi

Its a different city in many ways from Kampala though. From the many midtown skyscrapers to more reckless and exorbitant bodaboda riders(still learning the dynamics from their Kampala buddies i guess) to the cool weather allowing for a leisurely walk around in my favorite hoodie and at the same time making swimming a very bad idea. it is here that uber’s selling point ‘cheaper and safer than boda boda’ makes most sense. It was quite a relief that there was no much hooting from motorists making it less irritating.
while a stroll in  the CBD feels like one is in Windhoek Namibia, one in Nairobi west near Nyayo stadium feels like its Kampala with the street food and loud music.
The hospitality from people is great but being from my city any act of good faith is met with high end suspicion. so i didn’t really acknowledge these numerous acts of kindness from the askari at the Forex bureau.
Nairobi is also a hub and perhaps a market research ground for international franchises from kfc, steers, burger king to others. yes i mostly noticed the food chains and Only the customer care would differ. I managed to grab myself 2 burgers for the price of one at steers as it was the visa burger week. For a man on a budget i was in the right city at the right time.
While here i managed to counter the famous ‘makarao’,the Kenyan police as i was frolicking along river road. It is said that these guys can dry your pockets faster than a trip to the mall and their camouflage uniform is rather unusual for the law enforcers making me wonder what the army would put on, iron-man suit???. As soon as i was stopped images you get when you google Kenya police ran through my mind but thank God it was just them welcoming me to Nairobi. so if you want a good nights sleep please do not google images of Kenya police. On the positive note, they are unarmed so for lack of  trigger happiness they compensate by whipping the baton.

It is in the lively and buzzing  Nairobi west that me and my recently overfed rugby playing friend Aleki hit the early waters, the healing waters aka liwowo aka liweng at the fully packed lively Discount bar. Here you could think protein and gender imbalance was on the menu as this was a rugby players hang out. The healing waters are magical to those who know them and they will brutally hurt those who don’t(sadly i didn’t know them).
its here that i got acquainted with the way of life of my Nairobi peers, quickly caught up over slurred words and noisy jabber . How can one survive in this environment of overly priced beer.

I was here just for a fleeting moment in time but this trip served me well to navigate the intricate web of life and my travels.

My Airbnb experience

‘I stood over him with such condescending grandeur’

One of the most humbling experiences in life is house hunting as this is when to your dismay and utter disbelief you discover with profound horror that you are miles far from making it. And it is while doing my house hunting that i discovered and gladly came across Airbnb

Airbnb is an online marketplace and hospitality service, enabling people to list or rent short-term lodging including vacation rentals, apartment rentals, home-stays, hostel beds, or hotel rooms. And just like the many others before, i discovered this revolutionary application a bit late 7 years after it launched. The money  i missed out on!

So after sailing the murky waters of Kampala real estate, i managed to find a modest place to call home in the outcasts of the city then i began my rent trouble days. This is when it hit me, that i can make side money by hosting guests at my place through Airbnb(That app which at first i simply thought was some realtor’s website).

So  i signed up with very little faith because i mean which muzungu is ready to stay in the deep annals of Kiwatule. But given my nature and  mindset about things that belong to me being appealing no matter what, i went ahead and tried to beautify the place and made slight improvements. I gave the place the best of descriptions and my friend Adrian(Thanks AJ) helped me take some awesome high definition pictures. Also i had to plead with the mosquitoes, ants and other visitors not to show up. Actually i sprayed them.

On a #tgif Friday morning i got an alert and it was from my first client Nasir(not real name in order not to offend my guest any further as ), oooh the celebration before responding to the request was out of this world. I mean am possibly earning over $200 without barely any initial investment. This is the best deal a yut born without a silver spoon  could get.

so after back and forth communication with Nasir and wondering which kind of person he would turn out to be(like people do on a blind date), he checked in for his first night and guess what…it was a disaster and also he was a short man from Canada. From mosquito bites (guys it was clearly a wrong day for games), no wifi  to lack of privacy as i hadn’t figured out where to go after giving up the whole apartment. That night i drunkenly stumbled in on Nasir who had hosted his Ugandan lady friend.

So just like any man who had hoped to get laid but wasn’t(i can’t confirm this), Nasir woke up frustrated and decided to cancel the booking and give me a long lecture on hospitality(he worked in hotel in Canada) citing various issues but i knew deep down this was because of the interrupted coitus from last night. i accepted this and of the $200 i got $16 for one night of which i only received on my account $5 as my bank charges $11 for international transfers. Not worth it.

Good news is that later i got around this by setting a minimum balance on my account before a payout and i also chose Paypal as my payout method. At least i could use the money for online shopping other than being robbed by the institution.

After the Nasir incident, it hit me that i need to take this thing serious as hosting visitors is not a simple thing like i presumed. This side income was good as i could cover my rent from only hosting a guest for 10 days. I got down and changed most things from the wifi availability, breakfast, cleanliness, scrubbed tiles like my mum taught me on the holidays at home or like the school tutor made me do as i served a punishment.

This greatly improved my views and i got numerous inquiries and a booking every month at least so far. I have hosted numerous people from many countries and i have made good friends too and had many other experiences which i will share in the future when they stop being embarrassing. I have made dollars in hundreds and i began to take pride in the fact that am among the few Ugandans bringing the dollar into the economy. looking at this as an experimental phase am hoping for business to be rife so i can have at least more than one listing.

All in all i will always remember my first experience hosting on Airbnb.

Kigali!

Have you been to a town so different from yours?Have you been to a town full of possibilities? Have you been to a city that makes you feel like starting something, even a fight. Not  out of anger or any other emotions that  might make one clench fists but because of the chill nature in this city, the peace and the general organization and cleanness. Being from Kampala you would want to push over something so everything can seem normal. You cant believe things can run this smoothly.

I should have written about this in November last year but for some reason i was locked out of my word-press account but am in now. feels good.

Going to Kigali was a random trip i took on a random weekend to appeal to my adventurous and spontaneous side and it was worth it. Worth the missed hours at work. Nothing scares me so much like getting bored by anything am in for a long time. Scares me cold.

From the shocking language barrier to the scenic hills, i was impressed how different this city is yet not so far away from the chaotic Kampala.

I went by bus and as always on every long distance bus there is a lost guy on it. This time it was me. Thought i was on my way to Katuna border but alas i was on a bus that passed via Kagitumba border crossing which threw me off track both in time and directions. Ended up being the inconveniencing lost passenger and guest. Yet earlier i was laughing at a couple that was lost in Kampala. karma. This mix up only gave me more opportunity to explore Rwanda and i would say i covered the whole country given my journey lasted a full 12 hrs.

With a sense of delirious abandonment i arrived into Kigali and started a stroll of self discovery, exploration, meeting new culture, drinking malt beer at the roadside Duuka and at the upscale bars and clubs being surrounded by the most magnificent rolling hills one would ever see. I mean with good company consisting of old school mates and friends who could hardly handle a drink, this was an epic visit to the most beautiful city in Africa.

Soldiers on each corner of the street wielding a nameless authority with their semi-automatic weapons did not only give me a sense of security but also fear but this only added to the excitement i had to continue my stroll around Kigali entirely on foot. This stroll did not take a toll on me in anyway as i did not even draw a sweat, it was rather refreshing to walk down good pavements except for forgetting to keep right as i walked and crossed the well marked streets. Almost got run over on several occasions.

I can say its submissive and law abiding citizens make the city what it is and i appreciate everyone from there especially the curvecious, tall female ones. I like hygiene but i also found it weird when they gracefully wiped each beer bottle with paper tissue before indulging. As for me a beer indicates masculinity and one can drink anything labelled beer anyhow even if it was deer urine. The other surprising and rather delightful surprise is the mayonnaise given along with french fries, this was awesome. Down here in Kampala one can hardly get good ketchup at an upscale restaurant with any order.

If it was not for the exorbitant Visa transaction charges by my bank, i would have completely and unregrettably enjoyed spending my money cashless as kigali is on a fast track to a cashless society. In fact i almost failed to take a bus from Kanombe to the city center as i did not have a prepaid card but thanks to  a stranger, i managed to get on in exchange for my pocket change. Being popular and hated for as one who usually doesn’t have cash on me always, this was a perfect setting.

Am definitely going back.