Ethiopia... again!


Once again I went to Ethiopia, wondering if i should be happy that I can walk everywhere without the police stopping me, or i should cry that I'm back to the worst country in my trip so far! It all started again right after the border - people following me, all sorts of cheaters and hasslers... so familiar to me ....
I got a ride in a truck in the trailer, and the wind cleared my bad thoughts .... I arrived in Harare, where I had a couchsurfing host - Silvi, half Belgian, half Ethiopian. The European part of her certainly was stronger not only visually, but also intellectually. We had many conversations and she was not surprised when i told her about my hard times in the country. She was born in Addis, her father is Ethiopian, who lived in Belgium and now she has decided to return to live in Ethiopia. She teaches French at the largest university in the country that I had the opportunity to visit by accident when I left Harar. The University is really huge, as an independent town with banks, shops, even zoo, swimming pool, courts, etc. ... things that are not at all typical of Ethiopia. They continue building dormitories for students and have large areas for cultivation of plants and animals so the university is independent and even food is produced there. It is located 30 km from Harar.
Otherwise, Harar became my favorite Ethiopian city because of its wonderful architecture - small houses painted in vibrant colors, very picturesquely situated in the mountains, and there is the house of Haile Selassie - the rastafarian King ... Another bonus - every night around 19: 00 dozen of hyenas come to town and there is a person who feeds them, unfortunatelly it's more like a tourist attraction but still great to see these beautiful animals, i really like them!
Ethiopians are big meat eaters, they eat raw meat, this is their favorite delicacy ... So my days in this country became even heavier because of this circumstance. I learned a lot about these people but unfortunatelly not many positivities... After Harar i went south and i visited Awasa lake, full of beautiful and strange birds ... A heavy rain started and i had no host, so i started looking for a place to pitch my tent near the lake. A safe place to camp is really hard to find in anywhere in Ethiopia because of the huge population density, there are people everywhere and nowhere to hide. Fortunately for the first time i had a pleasant experiences with people on the street - a girl approached me and invited me to her house for the night... She told me that what i am trying to do is very dangerous and there is no safe place to camp around so it's better to stay in her house. For the first time someone invited me in Ethiopia! And it was right on time. The girl named Mona, however, was definitely different from most local people. She was from the neighboring town Shashamene, which is the most famous rastafarian place in the country, but now she studies and lives temporarily in Awasa. She took me to her house, where she lives with her cousin. They both insisted that i sleep inside the room but i wanted so badly to sleep in my tent, i am no more used to sleep inside and would always prefer to sleep out! So they gave me the yard and i got as a bonus their dog Lucky, which according to them is very dangerous and will bite me. Fortunately the "dangerous" Lucky became a good friend of mine :)

In the morning I left towards the mountains, I wanted to visit Jinka hoping to see some tribes in the area aside from the tourists. Unfortunately this is one of the most touristic places in Ethiopia and everything is paid, it's basically as a human zoo. If you want to photograph a person from any tribe ther is a fare for each picture, depending on the size of your camera - the bigger, the more expencive! Even to enter some villages you must pay a lot! The hitchhiking to there was quite easy, i got picked up by two Frenchwomen and their driver. I camped in the yard of a guesthouse for free. The driver of the women was very interesting person and I managed to have some pretty meaningful conversations with him. I also participated in a typical African car-wash in the river, which was a fun experience. :) I walked around Jinka mountains a lot, it was really  beautiful and peacefull. I saw a lot of local tribes konso, tsemai, ari, bana and even three people of the mursi tribe, who are the weirdest looking and interesting for tourists :) I saw most of them at the local markets, i  was lucky to find myself there, that's the best chance to see them without paying to the charlatans from the tourism industry. Because here many pockets and mouths get full by taking advantage on those tribes. And the whole thing is so ugly ... can hardly be described in words.

I left the mountains and Jinka with a clear purpose and direction - Kenya. Enough with Ethiopia, at least I explored it well, which I'm glad i did because i definitely won't be back here in this life :)
I chose the way back to Shashamene because I got a ride with a car going there, instead of the shorter road toYabelo. I arrived at 22:00 in Shashamene which is supposed to be one of the most criminal towns. I walked a little on the main road with the idea to find a hidden place wherei can pitch my tent but no need of that - a police officer approached me and suggested I pitched the tent at the police station and so I found myself in the company of a dozen police officers, each of whom was trying to help me in putting up my tent or bring me a bottle of water or offer me food ... They were all very nice, i slept perfect, and the next morning i continued south to Kenya. Funny how at the end of my time in this country i started having good experiences, not only problems... Half the day had passed and I was not very far from Shashamene, but i already was at the edge of a nervous breakdown because there were around 20 children and older freaks walking after me for miles and screaming "give me money" and throwing stones .... and then I heard a car :) As I turned the car had bypassed me and i couldn't even put my thumb up, but after a few meters the car stopped :) It was a huge Land Rover, covered with stickers (even Bulgarian sticker "BG") and apparently fitted for round the world trips with expanding tent on the roof and a huge tank of water, and many other strange stuff ..... When the car stopped my first thought was "that's the end of my nightmare in Ethiopia" and when the Austrian Benedikt opened the door asking me if I need transportation, a loud "yeah" came out of my mouth. :) Within seconds we were adjusting the backpack in the trunk and we could not stop talking, who goes where, how, why, when ......... He was traveling alone with his Land Rover driving all the way to Cape Town :) Funny, i just hitched a car going to my final destination, but i wasn't tempted to get off there, instead of Kenya. That was not my journey, and i was so exited to meet all these wonderful people who were going to pick me up in their cars until i reach South Africa, i wouldn't skip that for nothing! But a warming thought went through my mind - i am leaving Ethiopia FOREVER :))) And i have never been worried about the unknown - Kenya simply could not be worse than what i went through. I did not have much time to think while traveling with Ben because he asked me a lot about my journey and the conversation was going great non-stop. He is a photographer and journalist, he was going to move to Cape Town and get a job there, so the car was full of all his belongings.
The road was bad and we didn't reach the border same day, just before dark we stopped in a village and asked if we could camp in a secured yard. There was a guy with a gun who was going to be our security guard and he agreed. Out of nowhere many children and adults appeared and started observing each move we make, luckily there were fences and the guy with the gun didn't let anyone come closer. I pitched my tent on the lawn and watched Ben opening his tent on the roof of the car, it actually looks pretty comfortable and practical, but not when there is wind. Then it turned out that he has two chairs and a table, he put them on the lawn, cooked dinner and shared it with me, it was so much food that I could go without breakfast in the morning. All the time the whole place was surrounded by curious locals and it became very noisy, our guard tried to chase them away. They wouldn't stop shouting "give me money", "give me bread", but i somehow did not care anymore, i thought only that tomorrow i will finally get out of this crazy country!
The next day we reached the border, i bought some food with my last Ethiopian money instead of exchanging them. Ethiopian customs officer was a complete moron and slowed us down so much. The Kenya officer, however, was very nice, friendly and after we paid $ 50 for a visa, he let us pass quickly. It was already late afternoon and the toughest was about to come - the road from Moyale to Isiolo was a dirt road dug by the rain, very bad and very dangerous because of the fighting tribes between the Ethiopian and Kenyan side. It is supposed to be one of the most dangerous borders and very few people make this trip individually, most are in convoys. You can pass only by jeep or truck, normal car will not survive this road. We passed 40 km after the border and it got dark, we stopped on the side of the road on a nice meadow and decided to camp there. I went to my tent expecting to hear and see animals at night, perhaps hyenas or lions, but heared and saw nothing, except small antelopes and funny birds, resembling large chicken with blue neck, running  across the road in the morning...


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