Published: December 1st 2012December 1st 2012
Don't look behind you!
And the blog returns......
So we have now completed the 'northern circuit' which took us up to the border with Eritrea in the north and then returned us to Addis Ababa. The trip took about 20 days and around 80 hours of that was on the bus covering the 2300kms.
It was a great trip, highlights included endless, stunning views across the mountains of the central ethiopian highlands (including perilous dirt roads with 500+ metre drops inches from the side of the bus). The chilled town on Bahir Dar on the edge of lake Tana. The castles of Gondor - castles in Africa is pretty unsual. The stelae of Axum (big tall pillar things built by the Axumites) see the pic for what they look like.The unbelievable rock hewn churches of Lalibela where they decided to take the hardest possible route to building a church by carving it out of solid rock, first cutting the main shape of the church down into the ground then hollowing out the surprisingly ornate interiors. So we have been pretty well behaved on historical touristry but more importantly have got well and truly in to the swing of Ethiopia despite still not understanding
This time without hyena fear
why everyone freaks out if there is the slightesy opening of a window on a bus or why people will resort to putting whole cloves of garlic up their nose to prevent the travel sickness which causes at least 20% of the passengers to vomit on each and every trip. My advice is to never, ever pick up an interesting plastic bag at the side of an Ethiopian road.
We are on the final jaunt before heading back to Adama to the school tomorrow so have headed east to Harar which has an beautiful old Musli city with windy alleys and brightly painted family compounds, a really nice, vibrant place to walk around and free of cars, trucks, tuktuks and bikes for once. Last night we went the visit the 'Hyena Man of Harar' which we'd read about but were clearly not prepared for judging by how long I could feel adrenaline in my system for afterwards. Basically you go with a guide through the windy old town after dark then come out of the city wall to an openish area which looks like a small dirt car park sort of place. Then you realise there are things skulking
around and then you realise they are hyenas whos eyes glow green when you shine a light at them. A little bench is set out where you are asked to sit while the hyena man, totally relaxed, thrown meat to 6 then 7 then 9 spotted hyenas which we unfortunaly knew were the largest of the hyenas and actually hunt rather than scavenge (unfortunately). We sat motionless on the bench while the hyenas ate from the floor from a stick the man held in his hand and his mouth, he is obvously insane as I had a real primal fear when they , were less than a metre away both in front of and behind the bench with no railing, fence or wall to offer any protection. So yes, not for the first time on this trip I am happy to say I was terrified. We went back to the hotel and inhaled two Harar beers to calm us.
We are well, have very much enjoyed Ethiopia but looking forward to a change of pace at the school, missing home a bit, especially Christmas which is thus far non existant.
Muchos amour. C&A. x x x
There are more photos below