Somaliland - worst then the European Union



I passed the border and quickly tried to leave the little border village with the idea to go in the direction of Hargeisa (over 300 km) and to hitchhike any passing vehicle, although i didn't believe there are any cars on this dirt road. The people in the village saw me while walking, everyone came to ask me where I'm going, if i am a journalist and evеryone was terrified when i said i am going to walk through the desert to Hargeisa ... Obviously this information quickly reached the ears of the custom officers who apparently thought that after i passed the border i was going to sit and wait Land Rover or Toyota (this acts as a bus or taxi here in the desert, paid transportation). Before i reached the end of the village a car almost crashed into me. Two "officers" without uniforms came out and tried to put me in the car by force, first they tried to pull out my backpack from my back. Extremely furious i hit one of them in the facet, pulled my backpack and yelled like crazy all the time. Local people surrounded us, the officer yelled in my face, I answered with even bigger aggression. I didn't stop yelling until he became more calm and started talking normally. As he failed to push me into the car, he began to explain me that I am arrested and must return to Djibouti immediately. The reason is that i am trying to walk! It is forbidden for a white person or foreigner to walk in the country just like this and if i refuse to take transport, i must go back to Djibouti. He started threatening me that i will not set foot farther than this village. Since I refused to get in the car back to the customs, I had to walk back to the border, where I was arrested and put behind some fences next to the border post. I was told to wait there and the officer without uniform took my passport and disappeared.
I decided whatever happens to not let them force me to go with paid transport and if they want to send me back to Djibouti, it's actually better than staying in a country where I am arrested for having walked on foot ... The idiot was back in an hour, he was decently drugged with chat and was much more relaxed, apparently under the influence of the chat. He gave me back my passport and told me that I have to pay $40 for transportation to Hargeisa, otherwise he will send me back to Djibouti. I refused and asked him to leave me a few more hours at the border, so I at least have a chance to get a ride if any vehicle passes the border. I told him that I travel only by hitchhiking which he didn't want to understand, but he let me stay behind the fences. If a car would pass, i was just a few meters away from the road so I could ask them to take me. I sat there from 9 am to 3 pm ... no cars, no nothing. Finally the officer came back with a man who said he would travel to Hargeisa and take me. I was so happy to leave the border! The man was traveling with his wife and daughter. We left late in the afternoon, there was no road, just sandy track... the car was Toyota, quite a big jeep, a normal car would never pass here. All the dust was coming through the windows and we were covered from head to toe. The landscape was something between desert and savanna, i saw antelopes and many camels, birds of prey and some tiny animals which look like large rabbits :)) We traveled till midnight, there were one or two villages all the way and we stopped to sleep in one of them. I pitched my tent near the car and I was able to sleep good. My companions slept in local's house. The next day we reached Hargeisa in the morning. I got very pleasant first impression, everyone on the streets was talking to me and trying to help me, one person even gave me his phone to call my host from Couchsurfing. Ian is British, he is teaching English in the university of Hargeisa. When i arrived he was out of the city, but one of his roommates Anna came to the center to pick me up. She is American, together with Ian and another 3 boys from the US, they live in a big house in the suburbs. All of them are English teachers. Everyone in the house was very nice and friendly to me, we spent a nice evening talking about Somaliland and the culture here. The next day I went for a walk around the city, talked to a lot of nice local people, an intelligent elderly man invited me to lunch and many wanted to talk about Europe and what we think of Somaliland ... a girl invited me to visit her house and i met her entire family. They fed me sweets and we talked a lot about their country ... Somaliland is supposed to be different from Somalia and although it is part of it, certain countries recognize it as a separate country, but most do not. This is what most people want - independence. They are defined as totally separate state and if you say "Somalia" instead of "Somaliland" they will be offended. Everyone thinks that if you are white, you are a journalist doing research in the country. No tourists come here. Especially after recent kidnappings and killings in Kenya committed by Somalis nobody comes here anymore. In the center there is a monument of an military airplane MiG, it has been a terrible attack by air, which has killed many people in 1988. Somalis are very nice and kind people as I expected. They are Muslims and i was impressed that there was no woman on the street, who didn't have a cover on her hair. In most Muslim countries you can see women with no cover of the hair but here there are none. The use of chat is even more intense than in both Djibouti and Ethiopia. You can not see a man with normal teeth here, when they are 20-25 years old, they no longer have teeth or if they have, the teeth are dark brown in color ... Chat kills not only the brain but also ruins your teeth. People are completely dependent on it .... an entire nation addicts. Chat does not make them aggressive however, but simply stupid and lazy, but when i say stupid, i mean really stupid. Because there is no way to be smart if you are sitting and chewing leaves in the shade with a dozen of goats all day long :)) Here in Hargeisa they have chat-markets where there is chat of any quality and if it's not delivered on time, the buyers get crazy. This is the reality not only in Somaliland but also in neighboring countries like Ethiopia where chat obviously affected them most because many people there were unique idiots ... In Somaliland whether because of religion or anything else, people are at least friendly and hospitable. After exploring Hargeisa, I came home and Ian had returned, so all evening we discussed trips, he has traveled extensively in Africa and learned some interesting things about many countries. It turned out that white people are really not allowed to travel independent and walk in Somaliland so i had no reason to travel more in the country. A country that restricts my freedom and where i am forbidden to walk on foot and hitchhike just because I have white skin, is not a place where I want to be. The next morning I left Hargeisa towards Ethiopia and as the police saw me on the road, they took me to the police station. Nobody accepted my explanation that I want to go on foot and quickly found a car for me to the next town on the road. The people in the car were super kind, which saddened me even more, i couldn't get to know the local population because of idiotic rules. I was very angry and even those people were instructed by police to leave me at the next police station where the next police officers had to put me in the next car, stopped by them, not by me. And so on to the border. My heart was full of anger, the whole point of my trip was crashed, i met no understanding in this country ...

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