Sunday, February 28, 2016

Uganda - The Last Day

Sadly, this was our last day in Uganda.  We spent the night at the Mission President's house, and we decided to head to the equator for the day.

I think it was about an hour drive.  There were a handful of shops around the equator that catered to the tourists where we bought a drum and some other mementos.

I'm always in the northern hemisphere in these pictures. I can't remember if I ever actually made it to the southern hemisphere.


Looking at the equator crossing the street.

Alison enjoying the fine Ugandan beverage.

We returned to Kampala (the capital city of Uganda) and visited the Sanyu Babies' Home, which is an orphanage for babies.

The orphanage is located on a small hill and has a beautiful of the city of Kampala.

The babies were all napping, so we started by hanging some wet laundry out to dry.

Sometimes, you've got to go up and use the loo.

The Church has made some donations to this orphanage over that last few years.  This is a cistern for collecting rainwater from the roofs.

Another view of the city.  We were blessed to be there on a beautiful day.

Once the babies started waking up, we were excited to help hold these little guys.

We still had some clothes to fold. We couldn't let the wee babies get in the way.

Alison and Isaac.

More babies.

There was a large hut where all of the cooking was done.  I showed interest in the ladies peeling the plantains, which are then cooked to form a mush called matoke, so they gave me a plate full of matoke and beans, which I didn't want, but had to respectfully force down...

This is me and Alison's good friend Isaac.

This is me and my good friend Joel.

Rocking our babies on the porch.  I tried to set Joel down a few times, but he was having none of it.  It was apparent that being held was a real treat for these kids. It wasn't until it was time for him to get his milk that he was willing to let me go.

Look at those smiles.

We left the Sanyu Babies' Home and started to make our way to the airport, which was in Entebbe, about 20 kilometers south of Kampala. We stopped at a market to pick up some digestive biscuits for Alison.

I looked for some Coke with my name on it, but I didn't have any luck.

Then we stopped at a restaurant that overlooks beautiful Lake Victoria for dinner before it was time to head to the airport to catch our long flight home.

We were sad to leave, but now that it's been about 11 months since this trip, my parents have actually been home for about 6 months.

Our flights on KLM took us through Amsterdam and LAX before finally making it happily to SLC to be reunited with our lovely girls. It was the trip of a lifetime!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Uganda - Paraa to Kampala

Another day in Uganda, and another 500 pictures to go through.  I've selected the best 50 or so for this post.

We got up super early (like 5 AM or so) to pick up our guide and make the drive out on safari to search for the elusive male lion.

There is a big area of bushes and brambles, and these guys were hanging out right on the edge of them.  Our guide, George, thought that the females and cubs of the pack were probably hiding out in the scrub, while the males were on the lookout.

He gave me a wink.

After looking at us for a bit, he decided that we didn't pose a threat and went back to napping. It was really cool to see these guys in their native habitat.  Well worth the early morning.

After seeing the lions we continued driving looking for other animals.  We found a pile of bones that had recently been picked clean.

Of course, somebody had to play with the skull and horns.  We may or may not have taken the skull back to Kampala to tie onto the front of the mission president's truck, and the skull may or may not have been full of maggots that got all over the truck bed and stunk up all of our luggage.  It's a good thing that didn't happen, because that would have been terrible, and probably would have made Alison mad...

This is our guide George.  He was great.  He carried his rifle around with him and sat between Alison and I in the backseat of the truck.

We went back to check on the lion king.  Still on the lookout.

Just chilling with a giraffe trio.

Look how beautiful this is.

One more picture of the giraffes in profile.  If you look closely there are also some antelope on the hill.

Another trio.

Elder and Sister Squire and George.

Big ugly Ugandan stork.

Our next adventure was another boat ride on the Nile to see the famous Murchison Falls.

This is the view of the Paraa Safari Lodge from the Nile River.

Everywhere we looked there were animals.  Birds and hippos.

This guy wasn't quite dead, but it won't be long before the gators get to him.

Elephants and hippos.

Hippos out of water are some of my favorite animals.

Hippos and some antelope.

This guy didn't like us getting so close.

Hippo and calf.

Another shot.  17 months of gestation for that baby.

Hippos, elephants, antelope.

Hippos, warthogs, antelope.

I don't remember what the birds in these next few pictures were called, but they were all very lovely. This one has an orange and black bill.

Apparently this one had some yellow.

I think this guy is a kingfisher of some sort.

These guys are black and white.

I think this is a colobus monkey.

There were dozens of little baby Nile crocodiles.  I think I could have wrestled one of these guys.  With gloves.

Is that a bald eagle?

And finally we made it to Murchison Falls.  The whole of the Nile River is forced through a gap in the rocks only 23 feet wide.  There is a lot of power coming through that gap.

We stopped on a rock to take some photos.

That picture above wasn't good enough, so we had to take a selfie instead.

On the boat.

This was our captain.  I'd bet that if I hadn't waited 11 months to blog about this trip, then I may have been able to tell you his name.  Alas, it is lost.

We found a huge gator. He never moved while we were looking at him, which made me want to get out and poke him with a stick.

Hippos and elephants eating happily together.

Alison was a bit bored with all of this so she spent her time picking her nails.

There is a ferry across the Nile at Paraa. We didn't end up taking the ferry because it only runs once an hour at most.  This globe helped us to always remember where we were.

One last shot of a giraffe's butt on our way out of the park.

We left the park and made the 4 hour drive back to Kampala on a busy two lane road.  We went straight to a tribal show with dancing and drums.  It was quite enjoyable.

Huge drums on their heads.

The girls had to dance with pots on their heads.

Back to Paraa, for some pictures from my cell phone.  This was our room with our mosquito netting around the bed. Oddly enough, although we slept with mosquito netting around our bed, I didn't see a single mosquito on our whole trip.

I would be terrified swimming with that stork.

At the pool at Paraa.  We didn't have any time to swim, but it was another gorgeous resort.

Here is the Murchison Falls selfie.

And here I was obviously very excited to get a picture with this warrior.

Tomorrow, we visit the equator before making our way to the airport to say our goodbyes.