Archive for the ‘Ethiopia’ Category

Sights & Sounds of Ethiopia

16th August 2014 by Helen

Before we left camp this morning Paul secured the water reservoir with cable ties but decided not to remove he broken turret on the promise of ‘good tar all the way to Addis’. The crossing into Ethiopia this morning took a bit longer than we hoped. On the Kenyan side they checked we had Ethiopian visas in place before they would let us out of Kenya. On the Ethiopian side we were asked for our Yellow Fever vaccinations certificates for the first time since leaving England in 2010.

Despite the ‘promise’ of good tar all the way to Addis – it wasn’t! The road is still being built and once again good tar, pot holes and dirt track diversions were the order of the day. It turned out to have been a mistake to have left the broken turret in place as a couple of the more vicious pot holes ensured the obviously fragile water reservoir got more damaged with a hole punched in the bottom, the same as had happened with the previous one when the turret broke. Fortunately a mini bus driver coming in the opposite direction alerted us to the fact we had a water leak and Paul was able to refit the old one that he had repaired after leaving Botswana. Good job he followed his instinct and didn’t throw it away! At the same time as replacing the water reservoir Paul realised that one of the blades on our fan has broken and a couple of others damaged (the Uaz fan we put in after hitting the horse in Siberia in 2010). At the same time as replacing the water reservoir and removing the turret Paul realised the shock absorber itself (replaced new in South Africa) had also broken and was no longer absorbing shocks so he removed that too. That was all very well but it meant that in the event of hitting a big pot hole there was a risk the spring itself would pop out with no turret or shock absorber to otherwise hold it in place. Yup, that’s what happened not long after. With a hissing noise that was the spring whizzing through the air the front right wing sank into a lopsided position as we came off a vicious pot hole. Seconds later a young man came running up to our window with our spring in his hands. I can only wonder at his thoughts as our spring had no doubt come tumbling through the air towards him. We were on a hill so Paul drove on until we had some flat ground where he could raise Landy on the hi-lift jack to put the spring back in.

Finding it hard to believe just how many things can go wrong mechanically in one day!!!! And this is the second day!

Ethiopia has proved to be very lush and green as we are effectively driving through a tropical region. The soil is very red and appears fertile. There are people everywhere. Along the roadside it seems to one long continuous village. Children wave and shout OiOiOiOiOiOi or YooYooYooYooYooYooYoo at us, holding out their hands for freebies. A hazard of stopping anywhere is we attract lots of attention and an audience, many of the children and young men seeing this as an opportunity to strongly beg for money or food. Driving after dark is particularly hazardous because of the sheer number of people just walking along the road – not to mention the donkeys, goats, dogs and cattle of course. More people use donkeys here for pulling carts and carrying heavy loads. Unfortunately litter, especially plastic bags and bottles, can be seen pretty much all along the verges and caught up in bushes and trees along the roadside.

Needing to make up time after our various roadside repairs we kept driving until quite late, reaching the small town of Dilla around 9.30 pm, where we treated ourselves to a night in a luxury hotel “Hotel Delight” that was actually cheaper than the almost wild camping in the Kenyan Wildlife Services Campsite of our previous night, but included WiFi and breakfast. We took the opportunity to have an evening meal in the restaurant – I chose the adventurous route and selected Cikina Tibis from the traditional menu and got a delightful spicy lamb dish served with a sort of pancake that looked aerated on one side and tasted better than it looked with its grey colour – and meant to be eaten by hand using the ‘pancake’ to pick up the meat and soak up the liquid. Paul went for the recognisable option: fried chicken and chips. As tends to be the case – I got the better meal.

2014 08 16 - roadside scenery in Ethiopia (7)

House building in Ethiopia