Alright, I know I said no personal life, but this is just WAY TOO COOL to not share.
A friend of mine was turning 30 here in Juba which is, as you can imagine, a disappointment on many levels, and it was felt that something extremely cool had to be done to improve this situation. What was the natural conclusion? Tubing on the Nile, of course!
For those who don't know, tubing is when you either a) attach inner tubes to the back of a boat and try to hang on or b) get in inner tubes and float down a river whilst drinking beer and, usually in my case, singing lots of off key country music ballads.
We realized that neither of these options met our needs completely because in option a and b, you are at the mercy of the river, which flows EXTREMELY quickly here and also because there are crocs in the river, in theory, and we didn't want to be too far from the boat. So it was decided that we would just tie the tubes off the boat and let the boat and the tubes float down stream.
This brings us to the next problem. Inner tubes. This is Juba, I can't run down to WalMart. So began my epic journey in to the heart of the Malakiya market, going from shack to shack talking with a zillion men about 12X24 versus Cruiser and trying, subtly, to figure out how big the inner tube of a tire really is versus the breadth of my backside. In the end, I got in a bargaining war with Saoud, a nice gentleman from Kordofan, who sat and battled with me for about 35 minutes. We alternated a lot between laughing, yelling, big gesticulations and pretending to walk away (on both our parts, which was odd, since it was his shop, not really sure where he thought he was going). In the end, the price I got was so low my Dinka logisitician said he wouldn't've been able to get that.
On the day, then, around 15 of us got in a a lovely little oversized canoe of a boat with an outboard motor and a canvas roof and set off down the river. Within 20 minutes, I was in the water, getting, probably, a whole host of new parasites, drinking my beer which was firmly ensconced in a Piggly Wiggly coozie. Because I am the sort of girl who has a beer coozie in Southern Sudan.
Seriously, it was such a lovely day. We laughed, we sang songs, we swam, we ate Ethiopian cake, we drank Ugandan Waragi and beer and just generally forgot where we were.
At least I did. And now, I can always say I went tubing down the Nile. Sweet.