Wednesday, September 19, 2012


WEATHER: Wet, cold and 15C


BUMMER OF THE DAY: Cold water showers


Ahhhhhh so that is what it feels like to sleep in till 8am.  HEAVEN and it has been awhile.  Who would ever have thought back home 8am would be a sleep in?  Zeme had some errands to run this morning, phone credit, clothes from home, swapping the hire cars etc…. So after breakfast he set off and I was happy to be able to get a blog uploaded in his absence.  It is pretty bad I am still in London and haven’t even made it to Scotland yet and here I am now in Ethiopia.  I’m going to need some serious time and will power to knuckle down when I get to Phuket to get caught up in time before the Elkins arrive.  I’ll just keep plodding along where I can for now.  The internet at the hotel seem faster and more reliable from the last time I was here.  They have also added a shower curtain to the bathroom and a table in the kitchen as improvements from last time.  It isn’t the Ritz here and it ain't a Fleabag Hostel, but it is home every time I come back and we have had the same room, except once, each time we leave and come back.  It was nice when I checked in on Sunday morning and the reception chick remembered me and said welcome back-shucks….thanks……

I sometimes look out the window to see what is happening in the street and to just watch people passing by and this time when I looked there was a man having a seizure on the ground right out front of the hotel.  You could see him shaking quite violently and there were about 50 people all around him and they all looked worried looking at each other wondering what to do.  I didn’t know either, so there was no point me going down there I would have just drawn attention away from the man that needed the help.  There were a few people trying to help him and turned him on his side and just let the fit run its course.  When I looked back out 10 minutes later the man was sitting up and people were handing him water bottles, a few went for soft drinks and others were passing over tissues to help wipe some of the mud and dirt off the man’s face and hands.  As I stood and watched these people that don’t have much themselves were showing so much compassion for this man that it bought a tear to my eye.  If we were in Australia I bet that people would just walk past and not take a second glance or call the Ambulance and be on their way.  They do have an Ambulance service here as I saw one scream past the other day, but how their nonexistent healthcare system works I am not sure.  But it warmed my heart the kindness they showed this man and it looked like he was going to be okay.  I wonder if he knows what’s wrong with him?  Has he seen a doctor?  Does he need medication?  Can he afford medication?  For a country that has 1 medical doctor per 100,000 people I would say the answer is no to all the above and how does one even start to turn the tide with a population of 82 million?  We can’t save everyone and this is a hard fact for me to swallow……..     and here I was getting cranky that I have had to have a cold shower each morning with the hot water system not working-toughen up princess.

Zeme was back before lunch and what we were going to visit today we have decided to do on Sunday and just have a day at home.  It is the same with everyone I have visited in their home towns, I have come to see them, if we go and do some stuff then great if not as long as I am spending time with them then that is all I came for and Zeme is no different.  It is great to be here and talk to him about what has been on my mind, as it is quite hard over the phone with the connections and sometimes the language barrier, so I have had a lot to get off my chest.  But we are on the same page and I should never have questioned it-time does make the heart grow fonder but is also an enemy at times.  We have spoken about his trip to Australia in November and it looks like it may all go ahead.  He has changed jobs at work so he will be just doing work in around Addis once I get there and not doing the 3 week tours of the country, his boss is happy to give him 3 weeks from work in November-so it is back to that damn visa which he will need to apply for in the coming weeks.  I have 12 days free from when my last tour finishes in Nepal to when I am due back in Singapore for my flight home, so I am going to come back to Addis for that week and then Zeme and I will fly to Australia together and you should have seen his face light up.  I think he really like the idea of not having to do his first international flight on his own and I guess I would be the same as well when English was not my native language.  So either way, whether he gets his visa or not I will be coming back to Ethiopia in November and then I will be back in January for good 6 weeks after that on the 4th January.  I am so happy with that plan and I have told Zeme I am coming back in January no matter what but it looks like he has all the work stuff sorted out and we are now on track for me to move in January.  I am a planner it feels nice to have a plan in place.  WOO HOO.

This was definitely going to be a slower paced trip than the last and I am okay with that.  We have decided to just do a few day trips from Addis and we have a 2 night trip planned to see the Blue Nile-I wanted to see that last time but it was the dry season and the falls apparently aren’t that spectacular during the dry season.  I have had a flip through the 2 Ethiopian guide books I bought with me and it is nice to say I have done probably 85% of all the tourist things there are to do here.  There are 3 main attractions I haven’t done and that is Axum, the Semein Mountains in the north and the far Region in the north east.  Zeme and I have plans of doing all that when I come back in January and also including the dangerous area of the Afar Region where we have to be escorted by soldiers to get there, but the photos are amazing of the salt flats there of bright yellow and orange, an active volcano and it has the lowest point in Ethiopia and one of the lowest in Africa.  The danger coming in the form of it being close to the Eritrea border where the relations between the two countries are not the greatest.  We will see….

Minalu stopped by late in the afternoon and it was great to see him.  He was my tour guide on my first trip here and we have caught up each time I have come back.  He is a great guy and before I left Australia I asked for any orders of anything before I left and Minalu was after a good pair of sunglasses.  It is tough buying sunglasses for myself let alone someone else, but I did and I have to say I did a great job and the sunnies look fantastic on him.  High 5 me.  We told him about our plans to the Blue Nile and he said he was there 8 weeks ago and they weren’t that great but with all the rain that they have had he said they will probably look very different and they may even have the dam open and we could be lucky.  So we are still going to go out tomorrow but we also told him about our plans for Axum and Afar and he was keen as mustard to get to that part of the country as well as the tours he does only go as far as the Semein Mountains, so he said name a date and he will pay his way and make all the bookings for the guides and security and he would even cancel a tour if he had to.  I wonder if we should ask Chombe if he wants to come?  I guess it maybe a money issue but I might speak to Zeme about that.  I also mentioned to Minalu about the new Ethiopian plane and how I DIDN”T get it.  He said he just found out the other day that they are promoting the plane in Africa as they are the first airline outside Japan to own Boeing 787 Dreamliner, so I had bucklys of that plane being in London.  I did then check the Ethiopian website and they have a schedule on their till the end of September the routes that the Dreamliner will be operating and it did go to London….. once……. 2 weeks before my flight.  Dang.

So that was our wonderful day at home.  Tomorrow we checkout from the hotel and have a full drive day to Bahir Dar where we will spend the next 2 nights for our trip to The Blue Nile.  I have been to Bahir Dar before so have done the other touristy things there already.  I have packed up all my stuff and will be leaving it here at the hotel for my return and have a day bag packed for the 2 nighter.  Seems a little crazy to take the whole monster for just 2 days.  I have been looking forward to The Blue Nile trip so hopefully it will be in some form of flow with all the rain.       

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