03 May 2009

One more from the guest blogger...Didi's World and the Nile 10k

This weekend was pretty eventful...and while I'm logged in here, I can't resist sharing it with you guys. I think you'll be amused by the shenanigans...

Saturday: Didi's World:
Over the years, I've done some ridiculous things in some ridiculous places (playing paintball in Bulgaria and singing "Summer of 69" in a Nairobi food court immediately come to mind), but Saturday's experience may have been the most bizarre...

Nestled in the middle of Kampala, about a 5 minute drive from the Atherstones' house, sits Didi's World amusement park. Yep, that's right, an amusement park in Uganda.
The legend of Didi's World begins over ten years ago, when these same rides and structures resided in Italy. Evidently, someone was killed on one ride, so the generous Italians donated all the equipment to Africa. So, it all sits in the middle of Kampala, and for a mere $2.50 USD you can enjoy the fun all day!
Saturday, we took Noah and Kadin to spend the whole day running around and riding rides. As for me, I spent most of the day simply in awe of the mere existence of this place. Didi's world boasts a mini rollercoster (not operational on Sat.), a Ferris wheel (turned off), a swinging pirate ship (pretty awesome), go-karts (there was one), bumper cars (4 of em), and about 50 of the best video games the mid 90s had to offer (including "Out Run" and a John Deere game).
Though this might sound rough, Didi's world certainly has an appeal all its own.
For example, let's compare Didi's World to Disney World:
Admission: Disney $70, Didi's $2.50
Lines: Disney 1 hour, Didi's 0 minutes
Sodas: Disney $6, Didi's $.50
Lunch: Disney $14, Didi's $3
Rules: Disney, if the ride is locked, it's closed. Didi's, if the ride is locked, climb in through the window and turn it on yourself.
Ride Operators: Disney, way too many, often surly. Didi's, 1 per 3 rides, usually friendly, sometimes asleep.
Mascots: Disney, Disney characters only. Didi's, Disney characters, Looney Tunes, and even some random new ones (see below picture)
All in all, Didi's World was a great time. Now if only all the rides worked...

This is me with my favorite mural...a Computer man super hero...complete with mouse hands, a CRT head, and the best part...an attached chainsaw and cougar. I spent an hour trying to figure out the chainsaw + cougar combo...

Sunday: The Source of the Nile Marathon
About a month ago Jeff told me about a 1/2 marathon along the Nile, taking place on May 3. He said if I was up for it, he'd sign us up. As you know, Jeff is an avid runner...one of these guys who wakes up at 5 am and runs 6 miles at a sub 8 minute pace every day. I'm a much more casual runner. I run every now and then in the evening, for however long I can stand it at whatever pace I feel like. Sometimes this is 8 miles at a good kick, sometimes it's 2 miles almost walking.
I'm not in 1/2 marathon shape at the moment, but fortunately, they also offered a 10k...so...I said giddyup! Considering that my previous "running diary" blog was a hit, I decided to go for it again.

5:00 AM: Alarm goes off.
5:01 AM: Realize my alarm is going off...but have no idea why
5:02 AM: Remember that we have a 2 hour drive to get to the race...climb out of bed
5:03 AM: Stand in a stupor and suppress angry thoughts
5:10 AM: Take anti malaria medication while continuing to suppress thoughts...
5:17 AM: Jump in the Land Cruiser w/ Jeff and roll out
5:19 AM: Jeff chooses Coldplay...always a good decision.
6:00 AM: Roll through the Ugandan countryside in the pitch dark
6:01 AM: Mention something about the lack of the stars in the sky...a moment later the Coldplay tells me "Look at the stars, look how they shine for you." Liars...
6:30 AM: Cross the Nile River...as Jeff accidentally skips past a Police checkpoint
6:50 AM: Make it to Jinja, the town hosting the run.
7:00 AM: Scout out a coffee shop for out post-race celebration
7:15 AM: Drive around looking at the Nile...it's beautiful
7:20 AM: Use a map that is slightly more specific than a globe to try and locate the race starting point.
7:25 AM: Realize that the map is useless...but it does tell me that medical staff will be at the start and finish. Good news. I'll just make sure to not die during the race.
7:30 AM: Have yet to see anyone in running attire.
7:31 AM: Decide that we can't find this place on our own and ask a policeman who may or may not have been able to read the paper we showed him...he sent us off in a general direction.
7:33 AM: The general direction led to some goats.
7:35 AM: Find a taxi driver, and pay him $1 to take us to the starting point
7:38 AM: He takes us to a "fitness club" that is essentially deserted, but claims this is the place. He leaves and we are greeted by a sad looking dog and an older man...whose shirt is 1/2 buttoned, and is possibly hungover. We ask him about the race...he looks as confused as I was when I walked into Didi's World. We conclude that this is not the starting point.
8:00 AM: Continue to drive around aimlessly...
8:03 AM: Spot a poster for the race which reads: 31 May, 2009
8:04 AM: Realize that today is not 31 May, 2009. %&#*@#!
8:05 AM: Laugh for about a minute solid
8:06 AM: Jeff declares this one of his best African moments.
8:07 AM: Jeff realizes that they had initially set the date for the 3rd, but after a low sign up, must have decided to move it to the 31st and add a 1 to the posters...without telling anyone! This isn't really a big surprise.
8:08 AM: Decide to go to the coffee shop anyway
8:15 AM: Arrive at the coffee shop to see that it doesn't open til 10
8:16 AM: %#&$*#@&!
8:17 AM: Down, but not out...we decide to head back to Kampala
9:30 AM: Get coffee and breakfast at a great place
10:00 AM: Return home 5 hours after leaving and without running, but with a story to tell.
10:01 AM: We decide it was a good day anyway
9:00 PM: Finish this blog, still a little disappointed that we didn't get to run, but know it was an experience I'll never forget. Seeing the Ugandan countryside was great...crops, hill, rainforests, and the Nile!
9:01 PM: Realize I probably woulda passed out by the 6th km anyway


jena said...

I LOVE Didi's!!!! I couldn't look at all the rusted out screws holding the rides together! I just closed my eyes and let our kids have an adventure!

Darlyne said...

This post was hilarious. I can't believe I had never seen that computer super hero. You really had me chuckling the whole time.

Bradpetehoops said...

God bless Uganda!

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