The only thing worse than the layers of dust on and in everything after northern Kenya, we discovered, are the icy cold showers of Ethiopia’s rainy season. There were times of extreme discomfort, freezing moments when only the small fires of local Samaritans provided relief and lots, and lots of shivering. But, we have made it all the way to Bahir Dar in western Ethiopia and it is only 17 ‘October’2004 or 17 Säne (Ethiopia’s 10th month) 2004!
Yes, according to the Ethiopian calendar the millennium didn’t pass too long ago – and it shows. Addis might be a booming city, expanding daily, but the rest of the country seems very isolated and undeveloped, which guarantees a feast for the eyes of traditional dress, housing, customs and dancing. Few things that we have seen in Africa can compare with the beauty of these people, their ancient culture and passion for religion.
Our journey through the country with 13 months of sunshine brought many up’s and down’s (literary) and coincidentally not much sunshine. In just 10 days we drove through the lush south, very dry middle, rainy, windy and chilly Blue Nile Gorge and now the stunning Ethiopian Highlands all the way to Lake Tana, the origin of the mighty Blue Nile and possibly one of our last stops in Ethiopia.
We’ve had to fight for our rightful place on the road with the likes of donkeys, sheep, camels and other ‘cattle’, ate some very curious (and spicy) meals, slept in interesting places for dirt cheap and chased after a couple of kids who threw stones and bottles at us – confirming that Ethiopians really do run ridiculously fast!
Yet, as interesting as Ethiopian culture and cuisine might be, equally interesting times await when we travel through the last two countries on this journey; Egypt, which is currently lost somewhere between election results, a possible army coup and many riots and Sudan, which is at war with South Sudan and where rioters have also hit the streets of the capital, Khartoum.
Our Big Boy has never braved the heat of a full scale desert (nor have we) and we have very limited resources at our disposal. Again the ‘small’ issue of the lack of a Carnet de Passage for our vehicle is brought up and just to add extra pressure, we have a time constraint put on us by our visas. But, all of this makes us two very happy travellers – again we face a couple of elements, which when combined, guarantees as much adventure as possible!