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Published: February 2nd 2014
I just put this one in because I like the photo!
Greetings from Nairobi. What a culture shock - totally different from Gondar. The first thing I did when I arrived yesterday was walk to a shop and buy a diet coke. Bliss! The house I am staying in is lovely, comfortable and CLEAN. There is even someone employed to do the cooking. Result! It has wifi too!
Enough about Nairobi for now. This blog is my final one about Ethiopia. I left Gondar 9 days ago and have been travelling since. I first went to Harar. This is totally different to other places in Ethiopia that I have visited. It is close to Somaliland, has a big Indian and Arabic influence and is predominantly Islamic. The main thing that struck me was that so many people lie around the streets and chew chat. Even when I turned up to the little traditional house where i was staying, the staff were sitting inside drinking tea and chewing chat. It is apparently a stimulant but you have to chew a lot to get an effect. Harar is famous for the hyenas that live in the city. They run around at night but I have been told that they aren't dangerous. Saying that,
Alleyways reminded me of Morocco
I was petrified of bumping into one! Every night a man feeds the hyenas camel meat so they are always full and don't attack people. This has now turned into a tourist attraction and I even had a go at feeding them. There is a tradition in Harar where once a year, the locals feed the hyenas porridge but I can't remember the significance. Sorry.
My next destination was the Afar region. This is an area known as the "danakil depression" and borders Eritrea. It is a hostile environment and I felt sad to see how the locals struggled to survive in this environment. The area is famous for the volcano called Erte Ale which means smoking mountain in the Afar language. It also has salt lakes which are over 100m below sea level and volcanic sulphur fields, bubbling ponds and hot springs. It is one of the most amazing places that I have ever seen. The volcano is active and has a permanent lava lake. It last erupted in 2005. In January 2012 terrorists shot some tourists and scientists dead close to the volcano. Since then it has been compulsory to visit the area with protection from soldiers.
Most buildings are painted different colours. Before Ramadan the whole city is painted white and once it is over, the walls are repainted with a different colour.
The trip was tiring and hard going but worth it. Absolutely incredible. We spent our first and third night in a village/settlement but slept close to the volcano on the second night - we walked up there in the dark to admire the lava lake, went to sleep around midnight and then got up 4hrs later to go back to the lake and then walk down. Enjoy the photos.
Bye for now.
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