Question: What do you do when citizens of other countries fail to show the remotest courtesy on a boat trip? Answer. Your form an alliance with the Americans and outflank them with military precision.

 

FOR QUEEN AND COUNTRY
As we arrived on the jetty, we were made to feel like an oppressed minority.  The French and the Germans had got there first and bagged all the good seats along the side on the boat, affording us no prospects for good viewing.  Our disappointment was temporarily relieved when the First Mate (or was he only the checker of tickets?) told us that another boat would be arranged for the four of us and the American couple who had now joined us at the rivers edge.
When, a few minute later, it was made clear that we would need to revert to plan A and join those already comfortably positioned on said boat, Debbie remonstrated as best she could but the jobsworth was having none of it.  We must find a seat along the aisle and make do, he seemed to be implying, although not in an assertive way, but merely with an African shrug the shoulders. Bart and Erica – they of Orange County – appreciated the finality of the situation more quickly that we and jumped aboard, gaining the best of the remaining spaces.  
Through all of this the other passengers made no attempts to make us feel welcome, nor did they squeeze up so that we might be seated for the journey; they just seemed to sneer down their noses in the way that only Mr Bean can when her deludes himself that he has secured some questionable advantage over someone else in any multitude of situations. With resignation we Brits ambled to the stern - not exactly sulking - but simply hoping we got some decent photos of basking Hippos and snoozing Crocodiles.
This was a lazy stretch of the Nile, where - often calmer than the proverbial millpond - the boat chug, chug, chugged along Northwards, like a truncated paddle steamer, it’s diesel engine the only sound above the occasional cry of wildfowl or twittering of smaller birds – all resplendent in bright reds and yellows.
Two hours later, having zig-zagged the river in search of crocodiles and sated with a final glimpse and photos to prove it – this after logs and sticks in the undergrowth had been discarded as mere imposters - we sensed a change in the current as the water become frothy. It was as if around the next bend a thousand washing machines were on rinse cycle.  
By now – and how it happened I cannot say – Bart and Erica had made their way by stealth to the forward end of the boat and had claimed sufficient of the benches to allow Debbie and Beverley (aka Bubbeley) to take it in terms to gain the best possible view and also in turns to hear this Mexican-American lady’s life story.  When from time to time Karan swopped with Debbie, she would slink to the starboard rear of the vessel and work her charm on the Captain.
Rounding the final bend in the river, we saw them – the mighty Murchison Falls, crashing, thundering, churning and swirling and even at a distance of half a mile away, the spray and spume filled the air and fogged up binoculars and camera lenses with reckless disregard.  Ever so gingerly the boat was piloted by the Captain to a small rock and with great care the First Mate jumped onto it and tied us up to a mooring of sorts.  Having already secured the front seats on the boat and the Captain now feeling well disposed to our little party on account of Debbie’s subtle flattery over the past hour or so – “You are really good at your job” and “Your have such wonderful eyesight Captain; how did you see that Eagle on the other bank from so far away?” – when he decided to open the bow gate, we Brits were the first to be allowed to conquer the rock and pose for our photos with the cascading Falls in the background.  
The dejected French and Germans looked on with disdain as we loitered with intent (to annoy them) and lacked only the Union Flag in our moment of triumph. Bart – like some photo-journalist from National Geographic magazine, took pictures as our continental fellow passengers got increasingly frustrated at our dominance of the rock and the seemingly endless chorus of “Just one more, from that angle” and “Can you get another on my camera please?”  The whole operation of claiming the rock had been undertaken with exquisite precision - and with the help of our American Allies working a pincer movement - bore all the hallmarks of a great military campaign.
Having basked in our victory for a few more minutes, some of the Europeans were allowed to scramble onto the rock and have pictures taken too but it was a hollow experience for them. When eventually those on the upper deck realised what was going on and filed down the stairway to get a slice of the action, our Captain had had enough and ordered the moorings be slipped.
I never asked if the rock had a name.  I expect that Chwa Kabalega - the last King of the old and prosperous Kingdom that once was this part of Uganda - had a name for it, but just in case he didn’t, I shall name it Diamond Jubilee Rock!

 

FOR QUEEN AND COUNTRY

As we arrived on the jetty, we were made to feel like an oppressed minority.  The French and the Germans had got there first and bagged all the good seats along the side on the boat, affording us no prospects for good viewing.  Our disappointment was temporarily relieved when the First Mate (or was he only the checker of tickets?) told us that another boat would be arranged for the four of us and the American couple who had now joined us at the rivers edge.

When, a few minute later, it was made clear that we would need to revert to plan A and join those already comfortably positioned on said boat, Debbie remonstrated as best she could but the jobsworth was having none of it.  We must find a seat along the aisle and make do, he seemed to be implying, although not in an assertive way, but merely with an African shrug the shoulders. Bart and Erica – they of Orange County – appreciated the finality of the situation more quickly than we and jumped aboard, gaining the best of the remaining spaces.  

Through all of this the other passengers made no attempts to make us feel welcome, nor did they squeeze up so that we might be seated for the journey; they just seemed to sneer down their noses in the way that only Mr Bean can when he deludes himself that he has secured some questionable advantage over someone else in any multitude of situations. With resignation we Brits ambled to the stern - not exactly sulking - but simply hoping we got some decent photos of basking Hippos and snoozing Crocodiles.

This was a lazy stretch of the Nile, where - often calmer than the proverbial millpond - the boat chug, chug, chugged along Northwards, like a truncated paddle steamer, it’s diesel engine the only sound above the occasional cry of wildfowl or twittering of smaller birds – all resplendent in bright reds and yellows.
Two hours later, having zig-zagged the river in search of crocodiles and sated with a final glimpse and photos to prove it – this after logs and sticks in the undergrowth had been discarded as mere imposters - we sensed a change in the current as the water became frothy. It was as if around the next bend a thousand washing machines were on rinse cycle.  

By now – and how it happened I cannot say – Bart and Erica had made their way by stealth to the forward end of the boat and had claimed sufficient of the benches to allow Debbie and Beverley (aka Bubbeley) to take it in turms to gain the best possible view and also in turns to hear this Mexican-American lady’s life story.  When from time to time Karan swopped with Debbie, she would slink to the starboard rear of the vessel and work her charm on the Captain.

Rounding the final bend in the river, we saw them – the mighty Murchison Falls, crashing, thundering, churning and swirling and even at a distance of half a mile away, the spray and spume filled the air and fogged up binoculars and camera lenses with reckless disregard.  Ever so gingerly the boat was piloted by the Captain to a small rock and with great care the First Mate jumped onto it and tied us up to a mooring of sorts.  Having already secured the front seats on the boat and the Captain now feeling well disposed to our little party on account of Debbie’s subtle flattery over the past hour or so – “You are really good at your job” and “Your have such wonderful eyesight Captain; how did you see that Eagle on the other bank from so far away?” – he decided to open the bow gate, so that we Brits were the first to be allowed to conquer the rock and pose for our photos with the cascading Falls in the background.  

The dejected French and Germans looked on with disdain as we loitered with intent (to annoy them) and lacked only the Union Flag in our moment of triumph. Bart – like some photo-journalist from National Geographic magazine - took pictures as our continental fellow passengers got increasingly frustrated at our dominance of the rock and the seemingly endless chorus of “Just one more, from that angle” and “Can you get another on my camera please?”  The whole operation of claiming the rock had been undertaken with exquisite precision - and with the help of our American Allies working a pincer movement - bore all the hallmarks of a great military campaign.

Having basked in our victory for a few more minutes, some of the Europeans were allowed to scramble onto the rock and have pictures taken too but it was a hollow experience for them. When eventually those on the upper deck realised what was going on and filed down the stairway to get a slice of the action, our Captain had had enough and ordered the moorings be slipped.

I never asked if the rock had a name.  I expect that Chwa Kabalega - the last King of the old and prosperous Kingdom that once was this part of Uganda - had a name for it, but just in case he didn’t, I shall name it Diamond Jubilee Rock!