Published: April 9th 2007April 9th 2007
More than 400 SQ KM of nothing.
In our guide book we have read the following information: the daily cost in Djibouti was 3 times the other African countries, country had many foreigners and an strategical high tech sea port. With this information we imagined that would be a rich country, beautiful and clean (Higher cost of living) and easy to travel (many foreigners).
But once we arrived, the big surprise. Even thought everything cost a fortune and people doesn't seam to realize the value of things (We went looking for hotels in Dikhil and, as we are used already, they offered a room if much higher price. But instead of being like Ethiopia that the price goes from 3 dollars to 6 for foreigners, he wanted to charge us US$150 a night for a room in a hotel with not even running water... he could do a discount - "I Make US$100" - he said. And this didn't stop there, people offered us places in floor (a place not like a living-room but more like a dirty stable), for US$50 a night. We really got confused if he was offering us that money to stay there or the opposite... huahuahua)
the population is very poor
37 countries of backpacking experience. How do you think I grew this moustache?
and the country one of the dirtiest we have seen. Many streets in the capital (Djibouti city) are impossible to go in because of the amount of garbage and sewage in it, from the 15 African countries (and I don't know many cities) that we crossed, Djibouti city was one of the ugliest and dirtiest we saw... hehehe... its hard to be that dirty
. OK the European quarter is exception. To suit the many french military that live there, everything is clean and organized. And had a very good juice stand. Ohhh!! How much we missed the fresh fruit juice!!
Even looking for the cheapest places and almost not eating (we are already used to that anyway... hehehe)
our budget was over 70 US dollar a day per person. We just can't understand why everything was so expensive. Paying 10 dollars for a sandwich in Switzerland or Germany you see a reason, but not there where people is so poor, how they survive? Ethiopians that lived there came to us in the streets with the standard greeting - "Hello, Whatizyourname?" - and followed by - "Howiz Djibouti, expensive yes??". Djibouti city is crowded with Ethiopians, most of them truck
High Tech port
Yes, it's Djibouti. But US build. Can I use your country as a military base in Middle East wars? Yes, as long you build us a new port!!
drivers carrying goods to and from the port. We had some good time talking them about their favorite subject: "Cost of living in Djibouti compared to Ethiopia" hehehe.
Aside the financial part Djibouti has some nice parts to be visited (of course we didn't go to most of them because there where not public transport and a private tour to anywhere cost minimum US$200 a day).
Hitch hiking from across Djibouti all the way from Ethiopia in trucks, we manage to visit a few nice sites before arriving in Djibouti City. Grand Barra is an amazing dry empty flat area of more than 400 sqr Km. Is perfectly flat and empty. The only thing you find there is wind and micro tornadoes. Perfect to cart sailing (a pity that the company that used to do it has closed)
From Djibouti port, we didn't succeed in getting one boat to cross to Yemen, not that there wasn't any (there where many wooden Dow's)
, the problem was that waiting a few days for it to departure was more expensive than paying for a flight. So it was Monday around 12 o'clock, after visiting the port for the 3rd time,
Sinonimum of cleaness and organization.... hehehe.
when we decide to look for a flight to Sana'a, Capital of Yemen. We found out that the cheapest flight to Yemen would departure in 2 hours time. Enough to buy the tickets, run to the hotel, check out and go to the airport. We took an old Russian airplane from Djibouti airline. When it landed we saw the sign in Arabic and felt relived to be in the Middle East again (and specially relived for surviving the flight with the WWI airplane)
. In the next second we looked at another sign, this time in English, that said "Welcome to Aden".
Fernando - "What is Aden? English name for Sana'a?"
Claudio - "I don't know, but we can try to ask!"
At the immigration office:
Fernando "How far is downtown Sana'a?"
The officer "Downtown Sana'a? Sana'a is northen Yemen. You are in Aden!"
Fernando -"Aden?!? What is Aden? Fuck!!! We took the wrong airplane!!!" -
Claudio - "No, no! now I see it's written Aden in our tickets! I just hope we are not in the other side of the country!! Where is Aden?"
The officer "Southern coast, about 900Km from Sana'a"
After one hour and a
Djibouti Airlines or Russian Airline
A russian flying tank. It still fly!!!
half to pass the immigration (Yes, a big queue, almost 10 people... hehehe)
we officially enter Asia again.