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Ethiopian Priest, Lalibela — April 27, 1998


Ethiopia 1998 Journal


Friday, 17 Apri — Axum

Golly, I’m sitting in this room, the size of the one in Dahab, Egypt (small), and I realize, this ain’t Dahab, this is Ethiopia; and it is an odd number in a string of rooms that I have been staying in for the past month, and I realize that this is backpacker’s traveling and I’m 26 and Peter (from the Netherlands) is 36 and he is traveling too, so it is never too late because Ray from Massawa is 50 and he is here, or was here, too! And today, for the first time, I really felt Ethiopia, ate the food, strolled with the people, touched the woman. And now, I feel a lot more secure in this place. And the shrinking moon is rising as I fade into another Larium induced trance-a-thon all night long.

Monday, 20 April (4:20) — Adi Arikay

So I am sitting here in a pretty crummy hotel in Adi Arikay, Ethiopia, and thinking… this is by far the worst room we’ve ever had. Everything the LP suggests against this room has. Various stains on the walls. Dirty sheets, although, after much complaining, those have been changed and replaced with a double layer (which I am laying on top of now-pink! But you know, for 10 birr a night, including an amoeba infested fungi spectacular shower, I can’t truly complain. Theoretically, it does have running water, and this, again, is Ethiopia, and we have been traveling for three days now on dirt roads. Those bus rides, ah those bus rides. Yesterday was the best physically. Today’s vista wise-was better, but that goat spaghetti I so gracefully consumed last night had fermented and gassified so I wasn’t in the best spirits, but yesterday, the ride climaxed when the rooster in front of us started innocently cock-a-doodle-dooing. It was great.

Well, well, it’s Thursday, and you know what that means…Larium day. So we down yet another in the series of mosquito treatment medications with Ethiopia’s finest mineral water (not Ambo) Bure H20. And I’m thrilled to see what the night brings. (Oh actually, ever since Ray—the-50-year-old-Brit in Massawa said he built an immunity to Larium dreams—I’ve stopped dreaming as much.) Who really knows. It is probably all mental anyway.

Anyway, we made the wonderful journey— by lorry—from Adi Arkay via a 4 hour stop in Zimara to Debark, and this is where we have literally rested for the last three days. Decided not to go Simien hardcore, but caught a ride with some Austrian guide instructors and went into the National Park for the day. Went down a gorge on a new trail. First tourists to do so. Other than that, just been kicking at the Simyen Park Hotel and resting. A minor case of runny bum but that’s OK at least no dysentery yet. Ethiopia is cool, but I got kinda frustrated that other night as the days go by here. Its getting hotter in the other places we would like to go to (Yemen), hella hot, so hot that we may just by pass altogether.

I still hope I make to the Oman.


Friday, 1 May — Addis Ababa

There is a land, far, far away, its called Santa Cruz. Yeah, only in America do they sing romantically about these places — Addis Ababa. Here we are! Not only is today Larium Day, but today May 1st (1 yr from the last Tina + Brian.) But we have reached a lifelong milestone! Addis! OK.

Woke up this morning at the beautiful Ghion Hotel on Lake Tana, and after, a typical African breakfast (eggs, toast, chay) We go to the airport. Until the gunshots of course. And I even ignore the .22 but can’t quite take my eyes off the brownish liquid dripping form the plane’s wing. Oh, here we go again. Take Off. And we are 800’ feet off the ground and we are doing a real sharp turn. And suddenly we’re not going up anymore, hmmm. Ummm. Hey? (Guess we ran out of gas, huh?) Or guess the Larium is working well. Either way, I am praying, and as it turns out, we are 360ing, at low altitude, in a commercial plane just after takeoff to get a good look at this fire gong on below. Nice flight, the landing superb.

And now I am sitting at the Park Hotel ( GPS: 9.029874, 38.755078 ), eating chat, sitting on top of the world looking at Addis Ababa for two hours (or at least 1 and ½.) And I love traveling.

Monday, 4 May — the “Buy Breakfast” day

Well, well. Today is one of those every 5 year days. The kind that you don’t get much sleep the night before, because you know the next 24 hours will be full of life/path changing decisions. To top it off, not including a swollen left tonsil, it turns out that we going to be buying a 4x4 car to take down to Cape Town. Holy Shit. I am scared shitless. Of what? I don’t know, but I am nonetheless a bit anxietic. Well, the call to the parents goes better than planned. It seems as though as they remotely understand, as after explaining that East Africa is no where as dangerous as we think. So we attempt to buy in Addis Ababa, on May 4, 1998, two months after a famed Egypt Air flight, a 1980 White Toyota Hilux small truck for an African Overland Adventure, with a rebuilt Ford V6 engine. Your joking, right? No, we are serious here. And to top it all off…
Todd is going to become an Uncle. Big problem.
And then our Neur friend, Bier, asks for “a hundred US” spot. Hmmm.
Oh lord, please let me get some rest tonight. Let my tonsil heal, and let us make it to Cape Town in as few pieces as possible. Amesegënallô. (Thank you.)

Next Country: Kenya

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Bedele Beer label

Produce of Ethiopia, Bedele Beer, Bedele Brewery, Ethiopia — April 1998

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