Friday, April 27, 2007

the mule, the muleteer, the lone gunman...

the rented mule.

the crew.

the lone gunman.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

pix like i promised...

it's bloody difficult to post pics most of the time from this continent. so, i had to settle for these to show.

another bit of news: my blog seems to be blocked from my view while in ethiopia. could it be an overly sensitive government censorship.

just in case you want to know, i'm back in good ol' addis ababa. where to next? dunno.

left to right: mountains, me, mountains. i have to credit the armed guard for this pic. he seems to have the artistic touch, eh, despite a slight slant to the compostion.

ever since learning the alphabet using picture books way back in ancient times, i've always wanted to see an ibex. well, i came across a whole bunch of them in the National Park. mmm...ibex(i).

contrary to popular belief, there aren't any child labour laws in ethiopia. this kid, one of many, look after the sheep/cows/goats (hell, the hills are alive, eh) of ethiopia..

next, i'll try to publish pix of my rented mule.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

was i staying in a ho house last nite?

hello my friends,

been gone, gone, gone for so long.

hired myself an armed guard, a mule and a muleteer and headed for the hills (simien mountains national park in the north of ethiopia) for 7 days.

lots of fun. here's a photo for now. will write again soon.

Friday, April 13, 2007

each step i take takes me closer to home...

well, today marks my 6 month on the road. so, i thought i'd give out some

most disappointing/bizarre moment: visiting the mursi tribe in the omo
valley (ethiopia)

most improved/likely city i thought was going to hell but didn't: nairobi.

best capital city: maputo, mozambique.

worst capital city: lusaka, zambia.

most yummy meal: (tie) braii in etosha (bbq chicken) -- sal thought i
couldn't cook, & seafood at the maputo fish market.

best travellers i've met: sergio (trans african through the congo), thomas
meixner - bicyclist.

best coffee: nairobi.

best beer: nile special (uganda)

the way, way, way off the beaten path award: water taxi/pedestrian crossing
into burundi.

best sunset: i dunno.

most dangerous place: vilanculos, mozambique.

worst bus ride: quelimane to nampula, mozambique.

the biggest eyeopener award: muthare slum, nairobi.

the biggest pothole in africa: entire route from isiolo, kenya to moyale,

best backpacker hostel: Upperhill Campsite, Nairobi.

best boat ride: ss liemba.

best 3rd world country with 1st world prices: rwanda/botswana.

worst tourist trap: twylafontein, namibia.

best national park: kgaligadi national park (south africa).

most asthetically pleasing country: ethiopia, rwanda.

biggest ripoff: letter of introduction (embassy of canada) - 50 dullah.

before i sign off, just want to wish my mama a happy birthday.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

what's nice road like you doing in a place like ethiopia...

some people back in the day had a whole lotta time on their hands... l to r: st. george's church, bubba.

so much for real time reporting. i should have said real africa time. the internet costs in lalibela were nothing short of extortionate. prices were written in stone, however. ha.

i'm exhausted. let me summarize. 4 glorious days in lalibela. i almost got married. good friday was great.

lalibela was a very difficult place to get out of.

i had to hitch a mammoth ride from some truck drivers. they had the slowest isuzu in the universe. it was 14 hr. day on the road.

got to werota. nothing to write home about.

bahar dir and the island monasteries were interesting but not overwhelming. i've come to the conclusion that guidebooks like lonelyplanet and bradt (to a lesser degree) really overhype some of these places. i hightailed it outta there. bad vibes.

hopped on a minibus for the super smooth ride to gonder (not to be mistakened for the fictional gondor). there is a big medieval church/fort here.

will now prepare for sleep. big day tomorra.

i forgot. here i am: n12 36.518 e37 28.129

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

live coverage of a major event...

through the miracle of the super info hi way, i bring you real time coverage of my northern ethiopian extravaganza.

i'm in the unremarkable town of dessie (n11 07.239 e39 38.043) on my way to the mecca of the ethiopian orthodox christian church. well, one of the meccas.

it's a 2 day journey. now, i'm shacked up in a cheap motel (20 birr or 2 bucks USD and change) waiting for a 5 AM start tomorrow morning. gruelling schedule but someone has to do it.

highlites today:

spectacular mountain scenary.
hair (if u've got it) raising, clinging to the cliff's edge highway.
highway smoother than a baby's putooty.
rained cats and dogs for awhile.
met an aussie on the bus -- jesse.
3 people hurled their cookies because of excessive switchbacks.

that's it for today. got go find a cheap latte and injera.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

i hate snakes...

well i think we're all getting a little tired of addis. particularly, this place N9 1.854 E38 45.189.

well, the hoopla over money (shortage of USD) and visa (knock on wood) problems are hopefully behind me.

plus, i'm getting tired of the cheap lattes. 4 birr (50 cents US). that's farangi prices for chrissakes.

it's off to the great unknown again.

this time it's off to the north of ethiopia... i'll give you a moment to get out the atlas.

i go with great trepidation since i've heard all the grim tales about ethiopian buses in the north (the subject of forthcoming posts).

8) bus
9) bus travel - lalibela
10) lalibela
11) bus
12) gondar
13) gondar
14) debark
15) sankber
16) gich
17) chennak
18) sankber
19) debark
20) gondar - bahar dar
21) addis ababa.
22) addis ababa
23) addis ababa
24) on the road again.
25) man, this road is bumpy.
26) will someone please open a window on this stupid bus. it's really hot in here. and, who are you sitting in my seat...?
26) i think i see the burbs of khartoum... inshallah.

this itinerary is of course subject to radical change. because of the non-cooperation of the sudanese visa office i'm forced to backtrack to addis (i hate backtracking). from addis, it's off to the Sudan with my, hopefully, brand spankin' new 14 day transit visa in my hot little hands.