These are the last of my Rwanda photos.
I should have noted yesterday that YES! I own and am wearing Tevas in some of these photos. My family got really into Tevas when we white water rafted the Colorado River in 1995. Despite innovations in technology and fashion, my parents swear by them, and I was given an adult-sized pair in 2004 to wear around “camp” when we hiked the Grand Canyon for my mom’s 50th birthday. I can’t bring myself to get rid of them, so I continue to wear them on family vacations where there is no judgement.
Our first morning at Nyungwe, my dad and I woke up at 4am and went and tracked chimpanzees. By this point we weren’t jet lagged, but because of lack of things to do at night, we were going to sleep by like, 9pm, so waking up at 4 really wasn’t all that difficult. Our drive to the site was mostly in the dark, but then the sun started rising when we were almost there, and it was beautiful. The moon was also visible (though not visible in the photos), and because we were in the southern hemisphere, the bottom half was illuminated.
Tracking chimps was not nearly as cool as being 3 inches from the gorillas. In fact, we only saw one, and when it took off running, our guide was like “we could follow them, but they ran into the valley and it would likely take the rest of the day to hike out to find them.” My dad and I were not enthusiastic about this suggestion.
Instead, we spent the rest of the morning taking a hike to the canopy walk. I have a nauseating fear of heights. Somehow I overlooked this and agreed to go on it; this metal, wire and mesh contraption. There were three sections, the first and last were short and were somewhat close to the ground. The middle section, however, was roughly 130 feet from the ground. I almost threw up crossing the first section. My dad had no idea of my newly acquired fear of heights and he looked on nervously, “do you want to go back?” I contemplated it, but then refused. We crossed the middle section. My feet sweat profusely during this time. I didn’t look down, which is probably the entire point of doing a canopy walk, but I am pretty sure I would have fainted.
In the end, I made it all the way across. The rest of the group we were with chose to return to the starting point by way of the walk. I chose to take the long route on the ground.
My early wake up/hard work/confronting my fears was rewarded in the afternoon by complete relaxation and slothdom. We went back to the lodge, ate a three course lunch followed by some milky Rwandan black tea, and then went to the pool, rode bikes for one lazy loop around the lodge, and took naps. We also spotted some monkeys hanging out in the ravine behind the pool. I am pretty sure the day ended with some scotch on our personal deck… while we were both wearing Tevas.
The next day we left for Kigali to get our flight back to New York. Not pictured: me getting a serious massage at the spa. Also not pictured: what I looked like after roughly 36 hours of transit.
Tomorrow: a little bit of reflection from my trip.