Blogs from Ethiopia, Africa - page 7

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Africa » Ethiopia » Amhara Region » Axum January 12th 2013

Having time to relax in a city with immenities has been really pleasant. Not included in those immenities is running water. It runs for about 2 hours a day, and if you miss it, you miss it. I am going to aim for a shower sometime today (or tomorrow). I spent sometime yesterday walking around the Axum (just one of the spellings) Stelae Fields and through the local museum. The museum was actually quite amazing. It was obviously not completely 'factual', mixing in a lot of biblical evidence and Ethiopian Orthodox Church information to produce a timeline of Axum that included the Ark of the Covenant, the first baptism (which was of course an Ethiopian) and Queen Sheba, but it was nicely contrasted with archeaological evidence in the form of pottery, coins and information on the ... read more
UNESCO doing its thing
Most Were in Excellent Condition
My New Favourite Restaurant (sign)

Africa » Ethiopia » Amhara Region January 10th 2013

So it has been awhile. After my day in Gonder, Will and I made our way to Debark. We ended up meeting a few other travellers who had the same idea as us, trekking in the Simien Mountains. After considerable negotiations we settled on 6 days and 5 nights in the mountains. We hired two scouts with guns (mandatory by park regulations), two mulemen and three mules to help with our luggage. The total cost including food ended up being abuot $90 per person for the full 6 days. On average we hiked something like 25km a day which left us generally exausted but feeling full of life. It was really great to get out of the cities and into the wilderness a bit. Some highlights include: Getting less than a meter away from Gelda Baboons ... read more
Posing Seriously with my Scouts
A few hours in
Mini Mountains

Africa » Ethiopia » Amhara Region » Gondar January 1st 2013

Three full days away from computers, cellphones and other tourists (minus one, who will be described later) was really fufilling. After saying goodbye to my new friends at the "National Grocery" in Bahir Dar, I woke up at 5am to catch the public ferry that crosses lake Tana over a two day period. The most frustrating part of the trip was right at the beginning when I lost my ticket! I really thought I was doomed to have to buy another one when I was told it was "ok, only two foreigners on the boat, you don't need your ticket." I was a bit nervous that this would not in fact be true, but in the end it was. No one asked me for a ticket. Ever. The other foreigner was a guy named Will from ... read more
Coffee Ceremony in a Village
This Woman was 87.
Another Passenger

Africa » Ethiopia » Amhara Region » Bahir Dar December 29th 2012

Went for a long walk on my last day in Bahir Dar, I leave tomorrow at 7am for a little bit of an off the beaten track adventure (you won't hear from me for two days or so). When I was inquiring about my idea most people said, "Oh wow, that is a nice idea. Good place." Even to the point that all the unofficial guides that normally hassle me said it was a better idea than what they could suggest! Now after this happened a few times I began to think I was doing something that no other foreign tourist does, so I began to ask. Unfortunately the answer was, "Yes a few other tourists do it, maybe 1 or 2 a week." Even considering that, I am still pretty happy. I can find little ... read more
View of the Blue Nile Down the Martyr's Memorial
Streets of Bahir Dar
St. George Church

Africa » Ethiopia » Amhara Region » Bahir Dar December 28th 2012

I woke up this morning and decided I was done with my hotel and the employment there. I realized that all I was doing was something that I hate when people do it to me! Overcharge, mildly deceive and then promote packaged tours that fail to get people out into the community. I was convinced by the my friends the night before, did I mention I have become friends with a number of the Bahir Dar University Professors?, when they started telling me stories about how the owner of the place cuts himself off from the community and how even with all his success he doesn't pay his employees well and how if they make one mistake they will be fired on the spot. On top of all that, it was overly expensive. Basically, he is ... read more
The Place Was Full of People Visiting a Church
I Figured it was about time I was in a Picture
It is the Dry Season

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Africa » Ethiopia » Amhara Region » Bahir Dar December 27th 2012

Yesterday I spent sometime on Lake Tana visiting some of the Ethiopian Orthodox Churches, most of which date to the 13th-15th Centuries. It was fascinating and it allowed me to spend my first time in Ethiopia outside of a city (for more than a pee break that is). Most of the monastaries were not worth the $5 entrance, but with some good suggestions, I was able to see a few gems. There ended up being a lot of conversation about the Ark of the Convenant, which is apparently in a church in Aksum. I was also able to see massive sheep skin books with information on religious writings, stone bells, Emperor's crowns and Orthodox paintings. I am glad I made it out. The night before I had to have a bit of a dispute with my ... read more
Goat Skin Book
Biblical Scenes and Stories from the arrival of Christianity in Ethiopia
Intense Imagery on a Wall

Africa » Ethiopia December 25th 2012

So here it is merry Christmas everybody's having fun......except that isn't quite true as due to the Ethiopian calendar it's 16/04/2005 and Christmas isn't for another 13 days. As a result we are volunteering in school for the whole of this week which, in fairness, it out of choice and better than festering in hotel lamenting the loss of turkey and associated trimmings with absolutely nothing going on in the town. We will have been at the school for a month by the end of the week and it's been a great experience which has allowed us to understand Ethiopia a little better as well as meet some very funny children and recover from the two months on the road. We are ready to roll now though and have our sights firmly set on the Kenyan ... read more
Christmas day lunch
Humour
Showertime

Africa » Ethiopia » Amhara Region » Bahir Dar December 25th 2012

Getting to the bus for 5am wasn't as challenging as I had expected because the night out on Saturday made me tired enough to fall asleep at 8pm. What was interesting was seeing the drunk people stumble home at 4:30am on Monday morning...Apparently they do not follow the traditional weekend party schedule. I have never really thought of Sunday as a time to go out dancing. The bus was far more organized and convenient than I had expected. Another major difference between Ethiopia and other African countries I have been too. Handlers ticketed my bag, guarded it (and everyone elses), I had a nice seat with decent leg room, and everyone got bottled water. Greyhound could follow the advice of Selam Bus. The ride was about 9 hours long with a few stops where all the ... read more
Tej
Drinking a Coffee This Morning

Africa » Ethiopia » Addis Ababa Region » Addis Ababa December 23rd 2012

I had an Ethiopian dance party last night. I went out and enjoyed lots of different "local" bars and clubs. I was quite the attraction! I only kind of ran into one other white guy, but he had his entourage of prostitutes keeping him busy at what was more of a brothel than bar, I just kind of turned around and left. I met up with a friend I use to work with and had some coffee. She works at the UN now, another example of what you can do with an arts degree! She told me that I found sketchier parts of the city than she had! That came after I told her about chewing chat and drinking beer with some locals and then being shown (through some back alleys and pulling a secret cord) ... read more
Hockey Burgers
Love it.

Africa » Ethiopia » Addis Ababa Region » Addis Ababa December 21st 2012

I made it to Addis Ababa! After two nights on an airplane, and 2 hours of sleep the night before my first airplane , I was exhausted. Fortunately Ethiopia is very famous for Coffee, which ended up being one of three things that kept me awake for a fun and full day. Immediately I noticed there are a number of things about Ethiopia that struck me as very different than anywhere else I have been in Africa. One, they don't serve Nescafe, they serve coffee, and it is so cheap and delicious that I am already in love with the place. Two, it is very developed incomparison. All the main roads appear to be paved while only side streets are sand and stone. Also, people didn't laugh when I wanted hot water at a budget accomodation, ... read more




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