De Addis Abeba a Ciudad del Cabo (From Addis Ababa to Cape Town)

Avoiding reality and ‘you, you, you!’ in Awassa
December 20, 2011, 5:56 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Lee este artículo en español.

From Lalibela, it was time to head back to Addis to begin our trip down south. Instead of subjecting ourselves to the two day bus trip (we have plenty of road time ahead of us), we thought we’d opt for the 40 minute flight instead.

Once in Addis, we found a clean and quiet guesthouse where we hid, I mean rested, for two days (I just about only left the guesthouse to eat at the restaurant around the corner and to get my nails painted (bright red with decorations on my big toes even). Neither of us was feeling too great anyway as we think we ate something dodgy in Lalibela so it was good to have some time to rest (and rest is sometimes hard to come by in Ethiopia as your sleep is often disturbed either by loud music, priests that continuously chant for up to five hours or the yelps and barks of dogs fighting outside in the street).

On the morning of our departure to Awassa (our first stop on our short southern itinerary) we trundled our way through Addis on a public bus and then through the mayhem of the market with our backpacks to board one of the old buses bound for our destination. The windows on our side didn’t open and our seat sloped so we had to keep shifting position to ensure we didn’t slide off – this was going to be fun in the midday sun . . .

More than seven hours and only 270km later (it was supposed to take five but a truck had overturned less than 100km from Addis so traffic had built up quite significantly) we arrived in AWassa just before night fell, found a reasonably looking room close to the bus station and tucked into some fresh tilapia (the town of Awassa or Hawassa is within walking distance of Lake Awassa so the fish is fresh and delicious) for dinner.

On Sunday morning we were up early to look for another room (ever notice how much nicer things can sometimes seem in the dark?) and moved to the Hawassa Inn which is closer to the ‘centre’ of town.

Later we took a walk along the lake and I was very excited to spot at least seven African fish eagles (I heard their call first before we saw them), numerous hamerkops (hammerheads) and quite a few pied kingfishers darting in and out of the water catching their lunch. We also passed loads of alien-looking maribou storks who look too big and unnatural to be capable of flying. During our lakeside walk yesterday we even spotted a hippo not far from the lake bank!

African fish eagle

African fish eagle

Pied kingfisher

Pied kingfisher

Sunday lunch was spent at Lewi Resort, a monstrosity of a place perched at one end of the lake and yesterday, we thought we’d escape reality again and do more of the same. This time we wandered along to Haile Resort at the opposite end, which is owned by Haile Gebrselassie, the amazingly talented long distance runner, and chilled out by the infinity pool while watching and listening to the fish eagles and generally pretending that we were actually on holiday and not battling our way through Ethiopia . . .

This is the life . . .

This is the life . . .

Hiding out at the resort also meant we had a bit of a respite from the almost constant shouts of ‘You, you, you! You give me money!’ generally whenever we passed children or beggars, which for me makes me quite cross and annoyed.

However the fantasy can only last for so long as we’re travelling again today, this time to Dila which is apparently quite a nondescript little place but where we will need to spend the night in order to catch our bus to Moyale, the border town for Kenya. And then from Moyale it’s around 11-12 hours in a cattle truck (we WILL be paying extra to enjoy the privilege of sitting infront with the driver) along mostly unsealed roads to Marsabit. Now do you understand why I needed to spend that day by the infinity pool pretending that Africa really isn’t all that hard?

We hope to reach Nanyuki, the base for exploring Mount Kenya, in time for Christmas but we’ll have to see how the travelling goes.

Anyway, if we’re not able to get in touch before, we want to wish everyone a very happy Christmas and we will be in touch early in the new year if not before.

Take care and sending lots of festive love to all of you.

6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Love reading you blog!! If we don’t speak before Christmas, have an awesome day and may 2012 bring you all you wish yourselves. Lots of love JC and Stellie XXXX

Comment by John and Estelle Collier

Sounds like hard work guys, but it looks amazing at the same time. I see Pedro has still not had a shave(sis)!!!!

Hope the rest of you journey starts getting a little easier.

Comment by Tyronne

Hi Simone and Alberto,

Great to hear you are following your dreams and having a fantastic trip, although we did miss you at our mulled wine party last weekend, it was a good one
Sending you lots of love from London and every happiness for the New Year, will be following your journals with interest
Noel and Byron xxxxx.

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