Trip Start Jun 08, 2005
84Trip End Aug 18, 2005
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We actually spent 19 whole days in Ethiopia.
We spent, on average, 1.5 nights and less than 1 day in each place.
We travelled an average of 180km per day, all on public transport.
We may, possibly, be bloody stupid.
Ethiopia has been the most fantastic place I've ever travelled to. Stefan agrees - me thinks we shall be returning! The people are friendly and hospitable, and wonderfully proud of their history and culture, which is so nice to see.
The geography, whilst sometimes working against us and making journeys very long, has been wonderful to look at from bus windows and from the top of land rovers. The most beautiful place for me was Nechisar National Park.
Even though I'm not religious enough to fully appreciate the wonders of Lalibela, it was truly staggering to think of the love and faith that went into the construction of the churches.
The food has been surprisingly tasty. I'm aware that we are about to enter the land of pap/ugali/tasteless goop, so I can say that I've enjoyed eating in Ethiopia. We were able to eat fish while by the Rift Valley lakes. And we didn't get ill, not even with the kitfo (except that time here in Moyale, but that wasn't the food, it was the unwashed hands of our host...)
For a run down on the food, go to the near-end of this post.
The places we have stayed have been generally clean and nice. Yes, we got bed-bug-bitten in Addis, but we can cope with that. Some of the showers were interesting - the dark room in Yabello springs to mind - but considering Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world...
The toilets... don't even get me started! Ick. I'll leave it at that.
Yes, we got a little bit of hassle, but with the exception of the boys on the way to Harar, anyone who asked us to buy something/give them money etc generally took no, or yelem ('there is nothing'), for an answer.
I guess the main thing that wears you down is the early starts - 4-5am at the bus station.
Hello - salaam
How are you? - denaneh? (spoken to a male)
denanesh? (spoken to a female)
Fine (reply) - dena
Thank you - ameseginalau
Bye - chau
Yes - aw (often spoken as a sharp intake of breath)
No - ay
There is not/ I don't have - yelem
There is - ale (pronounced ah-ley)
How much? - sintano?
1 - and
2 - hoolet
3 - saust
4 - arete
5 - amist
... and 50 cents - ... ka amsa (eg 4.50 is arete ka amsa)
OK - ishee
No problem - chigger yelem
Why? - lemin?
Toilet - shinty bit
Where is..? - yetale..?
House - bet
Coffee - buna
Tea - shai
Bread - dabo
Good (food) - touroono
Tasty - if afotak
Ethiopian - habesha (good for when kids are very vocal with the ´Farengi! Farengi!')
For dealing with persistent beggars:
I don't have - yelem
Go! - hid (used with animals - only use with really pesky kids!)
Pelican - seen in Bahir Dar
Beisa oryx - from bus through Awash NP
Spotted hyena - seen in Harar
Dromedary camel - from bus back from Harar
Guereza/ Black and white colobus monkey - Awassa
Vervet monkey - Awassa
African fish eagle - Awassa
Marabou stork - Awassa
Silvery-cheeked hornbill - Awassa
Olive baboon - Nechisar NP, Arba Minch
Greater kudu - Nechisar NP
Thomson's gazelle - Nechisar NP
Swayne's hartebeest* - Nechisar NP
Guenther's dikdik - Nechisar NP
Warthog - Nechisar NP
Grevy's zebra - Nechisar NP
Vulturine guineafowl - Nechisar NP