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Friday, November 12, 2010

A Date With Africa

I've never really cared for this month. November is one of those inbetweener months where nothing really happens, much like May (or February before family day rolled in). However, what May has going for it, that November can never boast, is a warming of the air and gradually increasing sunlight. In contrast, November assaults me with a chill and a thin layer of frost on my windshield come sun up. There are no holidays in it, and the only real event is day lights savings time. I'll never appreciate any mechanism that shortens my exposure to the sun.

That said, I'm in a pretty positive mood these days. The past couple weeks have gone by without any real definitive moment - but contained a lightness of mind that I havn't experienced in a while. I guess the main reason is that shortly before Halloween I gave my notice of leave. At that exact moment the job no longer became who I was, but instead a transition step towards who I am becoming. I am still going about my job with a smile until the end of the year, but no longer is it my future as well as my present.

Furthermore, I've just started waking in the morning with the apprehension that comes when something big is looming on the horizon. I said this once in a previous post, but I find the fear of the unknown exhilerating. I literally just got off the phone with my sister, and it seems that we finally have agreed on a route. With our tickets likely being booked within the next day or so, I'll share our planned iternerary with you now.

During the first week of January we will be departing from Toronto towards Kigali, Rwanda. Since we're cheap, and will sacrafice our comfort to save a dime, our flight over contains a couple of stops: Chicago and Brussells. Unfortunately it sounds like out time in Belgium will be limited, which really is a shame.

Once in Kigali we will be picked up and be taken to our campsite in the Mgahinga National Park of Uganda; Visas will be grabbed at the border as we pass through. Mgahinga will be where we spend the majority of our time in Africa.

Youtube Video of Mgahinga National Park

While there, our main objective will be to observe and record data pretaining to the Golden Monkey populations there. The Golden Monkeys are an old world monkey that are endemic to this part of Africa. If you google image search them you will most likely come up with pictures of furry blue-faced beasts, that are native of Asia. The ones we are working with are actually Guenons, a type of primate, which have forward facing eyes and opposable thumbs.

The Monkeys have an untapped tourist potential, and require further human habituation to make them more attractice to visitors. With tourism will come government protection of its assets, and then maybe this endagered species will stand a better chance going forward.

On top of that, some time will be spent in the schools of the local community, working with the children and teaching the importance of conservation. Extra days of the week can be used at my discretion, and I am sincerely hoping that I can garner some experience working with the field vetrinarians.

Furthermore, from the sounds of it, our permanent residence while working there will be in the same area that all the tourists use as they come. This means that on a daily basis I will be able to intercept, meet, and talk new people. Meeting new people on any given day can be kind of a mediocre experience, but something about new people while traveling is more addictive than heroin. Sweet!

Three months after arriving in Uganda we will take our leave of the jungle and head north to the capital of Uganda: Kampala, situated on the north-west end of Lake Victoria. If Jessica hasn't lied to me, then from here we'll be able to do some tours of the Nile River via kick ass white water rafting.

Kampala Tourist Website

From Kampala, we plan to work our way down the east coast of Victoria into northern Tanzania, which boasts such sights as the Serengeti national park, ngorongoro crater, and my prized jewel: Mount Kilimanjaro. We are climbing that bastard. Any mountain that boasts the transition of 7 different ecosystems as you climb sounds amazing. Not to mention that after doing the Inca Trail, few things can make you feel as mentally and physically accomplished as a mountain climb. I destroyed the Inca trail, this is next.

Another borrowed youtube video:

After that we're heading to the coast, and the Indian Ocean. I've had the pleasure of putting my foot in the Atlantic and Pacific, but I won't miss the chance to cross a third from the list. From the coast we will fly out of Tanzania and into the last country on our trip: Egypt. Our plans for Egypt arn't in any way finite, but it sounds like visas are obtainable upon landing, and we'll have a good week or two to kill once there. Recent communications with friends have led me to believe that it is awesome.

And, that is it. Pretty awful, right? I am so excited!

Once again I've written too much, and as a result I will end here. I would rather bring you a lot of good thoughts, instead of little bits of tripe daily - so I will use that as an excuse for my infrequency.

Thanks for reading, much love,



  1. Finn, I'm expecting frequent updates from this grand expedition you're putting together! Sounds like one hell of a kick ass trip!

  2. Enjoying your blog Sean, keep it up! :)

    P.S. Something DOES happen in November. Hint...November 24th :D