ArbaMich to Jimma via Sodo, The Road Less Traveled

Trip Start Dec 15, 2009
Trip End Mar 02, 2010

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Flag of Ethiopia  , Oromīya,
Friday, February 19, 2010

I've arrived in the city of Jimma, after traveling by bus for two days.  The total distance is only about 340 KM, 220 miles, but it's been slow going.  The road is an improved gravel base, but it's through the mountains, lots of switchbacks, we are either going up or down 90% of the time.  It's required about 18 hours of 'bus confinement', either moving or just being stationary.  The next time I'm flying in ecconomy class, and thinking this is not so comfortable, I'll be sure to jog my memory to the last two days!! 

As every bus journey has been in Ethiopia, it's had it's benefits.  The scenery is spectacular, we are in the rolling mountains again. It's very green and VERY rural. The route I have chosen is usually not traveled by tourists, as it requires an overnight stay in a very small and isolated town named Tucha.

I arrive in Tucha in the late afternoon.  I don't have much information on this area, but my guide book mentions the 'Engada Hotel'. No one speaks much English here, when I ask about the Engada hotel, I think they must have just have understood 'hotel'.  I'm shown to a hotel, and perhaps I should have tried harder to find the 'Engada"., but I think it's only for one night, no problem.  The room is small, dark, dingy and dirty, but I still have my travel sheet so I just decide to use it.  I should have taken the time to check the communal toilet, I failed to do this, big mistake.  My western nose and sense of smell rebels, "you're not taking me in here".  OK, I can find a discreet place when nature calls.

I'm not willing to risk eating any prepared food, this is not the place to get sick and require any kind of help.  I buy  three bananas and two rolls, wash it down with a St. George Beer. I have nourishment to get me through the night! 

The hotel also has a bar.  I go to bed early, I want to be at the bus station by 4:30 AM to make sure I get a seat.  There is only one bus each day from Tucha to Jimma, I don't want to spend another night here. Many of the small seedy looking hotels in Ethiopia also double as brothels, and for the first time on this trip, I've apparently chosen such a place to spend the night. The music gets cranked up, and there are frequent coming and goings all night.  The music lets up at 3:30 AM.  I took 2 Tylenol PM to help me get through this, so I did manage to doze on and off.

At 4:30 I arrive at the bus station, only a five minute walk from the brothel/hotel.  I nearly panic when I board the bus, it appears full!!!  But there is one seat left, and I get it.  I would probably have resorted to 'free enterprise', would have attempted to purchase an already occupied seat at whatever premium was required.   Kind of like what the airlines do when they have oversold a flight.

This computer is acting up, so I'll publish what I have written and give an update on Jimma later. 
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