What did i miss?

Trip Start Apr 09, 2008
Trip End Aug 30, 2008

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Flag of Ethiopia  ,
Wednesday, June 4, 2008

So this is what it feels like to enter civilization after having zero contact with the rest of the world while in one of the world's most remote areas:


This is just a little note for beloved ones back home to know we are safe and healthy in rainy Addis Ababa. Intermittent internet connection (no way to upload photos yet i'm afraid, nobody allows me to use my own laptop), mud and dust and disgusting pollution, gorgeous people with warm smiles, shoe-shine boys no more than 10 years old harassing you at every opportunity, and the typical "African bureaucracy" when trying to change money, hail a cab, barter for an item.

Addis is like being plopped into another planet where we don't understand the language or the script, where there are beautiful churches every few metres, and in between cafes and bars and roadside stalls selling fruit and meat. And everywhere, absolutely EVERYWHERE there are people, old, young (lots of em), and many pregnant women (very high birthrate in Ethiopia and depending on who you ask, a National Family Planning campaign missing in action).

We stayed in a rather musky hotel room last night at the Itegue Taitu Hotel, recommended by the LP, but we're moving elsewhere tonight. We have sent in about 10 kilos worth of laundry to be done but everyone here charges washing by the item, so I'm not looking forward to the final bill. Still, we can't leave it too much longer or else something fungus-like will certainly start to multiply in our sturdy yellow bucket, which is so over-stuffed that we've had to start using our big plastic bags, aka: bio-hazard.

So we are using Addis as a temporary base to get our Sudanese and Egyptian visas for onward travel, to catch up on admin stuff for back home (school for Matt and job hunting for me), and to just catch our breath and sleep uninterrupted for hours on end.

Enough for now. SO much to say about the past few weeks but will need a day or two to digest it all.

Have had some incredible (both in the good and bad sense) off-road experiences, some strange insect bites, some wonderful starry nights by the campfire, and some impromptu meetings with the remote tribes of the Omo valley, where topless women wear huge round plates in their lips and where all the men sport the tiniest miniskirts imaginable and carry AK-47's slung over their shoulders, plus a round of bullets in their leather belt. Incredible! At least the police chief who detained us didn't put his weapon to the test!

Civilization? Yup, we're back in it.
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