The Great African Love Bus

Welcome to He Says, She Says Sundays! A battle of the sexes. Two different opinions on a jointly enjoyed experience! Have fun reading them both!

She says:

Even before we became an item, Dilman and I were tickled by
this idea of a road trip around Africa, filming our experiences along the way
in the hopes of baking a mean documentary and whipping a bestseller. You know,
two strangers travelling together for six months. Will they fall in love or beg
the gods to not let their paths cross ever again? Weave in the inter-racial
thread in the picture, and you get yourself a money-making venture, people!
Well, the universe had other plans. Cupid got to us first
before the road trip materialized. But that didn’t mean we had totally
abandoned it. When the opportunity presented itself, we jumped into the Love
Bus from the shores of Lake Victoria to the coast of Mombasa. Our imaginations
were drenched in thoughts of cuddling at the back of the bus, whispering sweet
nothings into each other’s ears while the whole world was asleep (except the
driver). You know, the kind of things that normally make you cringe but can get
away with when you’re travelling in a foreign country.

To give you an idea of our madness. 
But boy, oh boy, was I in for a reality check. After the
four-hour ride from Kampala, we had to alight at the border town of Malaba to
clear immigration. I wanted to get it done with as quickly as possible and
catch a wink, but Dilman, of course had another thing in mind. He is capable of
much cheesiness as he has silliness. He had this silly idea that walking
hand-in-hand under the pale moon (to cross over to the Kenya side) was very
romantic. Only that, it involved ten minutes of maneuvering through the
potholes of an unlit road pregnant with ten-wheelers and impatient drivers with
red eyes glowering at us. It could well be one of those Alfred Hitchcock sets.
Once we had crossed over, the health officer fussed over our
yellow-fever certificates. Probably trying to squeeze money out of me, as what
the airport thugs in Nairobi did. His income-generating stint became quite
obvious when he demanded to see Dilman’s vaccination card as well. Instead of a
bribe, he got a tough-lashing instead. Huh! They think they can get away with
this BS?
The first signs of distress became apparent when Dilman, in the
most unholy hours of the night and in the middle of the busy Malaba border,
hopped in between trailers to look for a non-existent toilet. (He blamed the
snacks I packed for his tummy and bladder woes). We strayed too far from the
bus that the conductor had to look for us, as we were holding up a busload of
impatient passengers.
I couldn’t remember most of the trip except for the cold. I
had to cover myself with the bus’ window curtains as the prince would not lend
me his jacket until I had to pull off an epileptic show, it embarrassed him.
Hour after uneventful hour passed before the sun rose over
the Rift Valley, bathing the savannah in gold, as zebras and kobs nibbled on
their breakfast at the side of the road. What a magnificent sight! For a while
I thought the trip was a good idea, until the bus crawled to a 30 kph speed,
with the driver catching a wink every few seconds. I can’t blame him. Driving
at night for 12 hours is no mean feat! There were no major casualties—only a
couple of meerkats and probably some rats.
That said, we arrived pretty late in Nairobi and had to deal
with the traffic jam before hopping onto another bus bound for Mombasa. The bus
was comfortable enough. It didn’t have air-conditioning so we had the luxury of
filling our lungs with the dry dust-filled savannah air. We spent most of the
eight hours devouring my food stash and squealing in delight—well, that’s
mostly me—at the sight of zebras, and antelopes, and the red Tsavo elephants
casually lazing by the roadside. Money well spent. I didn’t have to shell out
extra for a safari. At some point, I saw a UN helicopter hovering above the
bus. For some reason, Dilman didn’t see it and accused me of hallucinating. I
swore I saw the white giant dragonfly. If it wasn’t real, then it must have
been the dehydration and exhaustion that played with my imagination.
Mombasa greeted us an hour later than we expected. The
traffic jam was something that reminds me of Manila at rush hour. Terrible. Dilman’s
bladder was bursting, my tummy was crying for a real meal. My patience was
thinning, Dilman’s tolerance of my mood swings was disappearing into the humid
air. My shoulder was dislocating from carrying Dilman’s laptop and video camera,
while he carried the big backpack with ease.  I was mumbling, he was very quiet. He wanted a
tuktuk. I hailed a taxi.
Good thing, we found Nirvana waiting to soothe our souls and
calm our nerves.  All that trouble was
worth it. 
He says:
The idea of travelling by bus from Kampala to Mombasa seemed
romantic. But I did not know it would turn out to be like something from a
Robert James Waller novel! Certainly, the decision not to fly was a good one,
because for a tenth of an air ticket, I got the adventure of my lifetime and a
free safari through the game parks of Kenya! Twenty four hours on the road made
me think of that NatGeo photographer in “Bridges of Madison County.” It was the
longest bus ride I had ever taken in my life. And there being very few toilet
breaks, it seemed even longer that twenty four hours.”

Read Dilman’s version here.

Dilma blogs at No Grannies in Africa.

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