Ethiopia
Bole Bulbula

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4 travelers at this place:

  • Day33

    My Ethiopian Conclusion

    February 3, 2016 in Ethiopia

    A month in Ethiopia has left me satisfied and confident I have explored all that I wanted. My lasting impressions are a little mixed.

    I know I've had a few harsher things to stay about Ethiopian people. Let's keep in mind, this only my experience, and I do not want others to feel the need to defend it's people. I'm very aware we all have different experiences, and that there are wonderful Ethiopian people out there.

    My lasting impression of the people is they really don't seem to care about helping you... Sounds harsh, but I've mentioned a few examples already. Small yet frequent things like when a waiter has difficulty understanding you, they leave, disappear. But minutes later you find them doing nothing, just standing somewhere else. They didn't understand so they gave up and left. No bill was ever coming, no food. They can always go get someone with better English. Or ask me to say it different ways. But no, they just leave.

    The kids all mock faranjis, their hellos and "give me money" all sound like a game to them. One where they've aloud themselves to grab onto whatever they can, to fully reach their arms out and point and laugh at you, to have full conversations about you in front of you... They act as if we owe them these things, offended when we don't comply. I really wish I could meet the first white person who decided it was a good idea to give out candy to all the kids. As if that would help their nutrition, or further their education, or health.

    I find it very difficult to leave with this impression, but my few positive experiences were overshadowed by the number of negative experiences.

    The country itself, absolutely beautiful! The towns themselves were incredibly interesting, with so much character and history. Following the travel book was one way to go about exploring, but some of my favourite moments were those where we just went for a walk, off the usual path, and see what the country gives us. I still think my favourite walk was in Bahir Dar where we just walked down the main road until it was no longer a main road... Some nature mixed in with villages, gives a deeper understanding of the true Ethiopia. The nature was gorgeous, mountain after mountain leading to incredible views. I mean, the volcano, and the whole Danakil Depression speaks for itself. I honestly, truly enjoyed my experiences here.

    Most of my travels have been in South East Asia, with some of Europe more recently. I have never seen the continent of Africa, and it has opened my eyes to a whole new world needing to be explored. The way of life, culture, traditions are all so unique and beautiful. Granted, the poverty is also at a level I haven't seen, except maybe my little time spend in Cambodia. People seem to help each other out here. From what I've understood of their interactions, they appear to share with themselves, they give their seats up to others, they show affection amongst friends and family, their greetings to each other always appear sincere and respectful... Like when we were on an 8 hour bus to Shire, there was a baby (maybe 5-6 months old) that was being passed around to probably 10 people to give mom a break, the little sister being around 5 was sitting on her brothers one by one. Why us faranjis don't deserve the same respect, I will never understand.

    Onto new discoveries! Ethiopia, thank you.
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  • Day32

    Started February with a bang!

    February 2, 2016 in Ethiopia

    One heck of a bang actually, just not a good one.
    Jack got food poisoning. At least that's what we assume. I recently saw what food poisoning can do to someone I love and I got scared. She got the kind you bring a bowl with you to the washroom just in case. It started at 3am yesterday (Feb 1st) and is ongoing. As nice and new as our hotel is, it's still a shared bathroom. No one wants to feel like this, and then have to walk down the hallway to see if the washroom is available. I offered to get us a room elsewhere, I'd even carry her, but she didn't have the energy to move. By around 1pm yesterday she was able to start hydrating, it took her the rest of the day to finish one 1L bottle including 2 glasses of our hydralyte tablets. Problem is, it's still coming out. We've gotten the nausea mostly under control with our strict gravol every 6 hour regiment, but at the other end, that's a different story.

    According to our book, and we believe it, the better health care available in the country, really the only facilities worth going to for treatment, are in Addis. So we were determined to make our flight to Addis this morning. We decided that on the flight to Addis we would decide if she was well enough to continue to Dire Dawa. Otherwise we can just stay in Addis, and make our connection flight to Entebbe in 2 days. Simple.

    She's breaking my heart. No energy what so ever. She's currently lying on the airport floor, waiting to board. Cheeks sunken in, but definitely better then they were yesterday afternoon! She couldn't stand without help yesterday, today she can walk short distances. We walked from our ride to the airport to the entrance and sat. We passed security and sat. She wanted to try eating bread, which she actually managed to do, including an egg. I think we're looking up. Problem is, drinking water all day isn't much fun when you know you'll just have to go back to the washroom so I'm spending the day encouraging her to hydrate. It's now 1015am. Boarding the flight soon. Let's see how the day goes. What's making me want to cry right now is that I can't hold her, I can't kiss her forehead or tell her I love her, because we're in public.

    It's now 1.30pm and we've made it to the room! Success! Jack slept sitting up in the airport in Lalibela, slept on the floor once passed security, slept the whole way on the plane... It was clear we weren't making it to Harar today, and that's OK. I had already made the decision in my mind that we would stay in Addis, and once I woke Jack up after the plane landed, she said she didn't have the strength to argue with me. I think we did Ethiopia justice. We saw absolutely beautiful things, we got to know the culture and the people, and we both feel very satisfied with the Ethiopia portion of the trip. I'm ready to move on.

    I actually got a partial refund of the flight we didn't take today to Dire Dawa. I wanted to inform them we wouldn't be on the flight back from Dire Dawa obviously, but that we planned on taking the flight from Addis to Entebbe. They said they needed to reimburse my ticket, and sell me a flight only from Addis to Entebbe. Problem is, we paid 6300 for our flight and they want to sell me a flight that's 9300. The same flight I'm currently booked on, minus a leg, would cost me more... According to them, because they were booked together I can not take one leg only. So we decided to gamble, show up on the 4th and argue our way on. We'll see how that goes.

    Jack barely made it up that stairs once at the hotel room and hit the bed. She's finished another water bottle, kept the egg and bread... We're on the right path! We went for luxury this time. And by that, I mean it's 31$us and we get our own satellite TV, mini fridge, private washroom... Score! Everything I need to entertain myself while she sleeps.

    Longer term traveling means you have the time to fully recover, you don't have to be miserable on somekind of time restraint. We will get Jack back to 100% before starting Uganda. More good times to come!

    It's now 7pm, and she's doing fantastic! I wanted to wait for a positive outcome before posting about this, and the time has come! She slept all afternoon. I brought back my left over rice which she ate, ate some bread, still drinking water. Nausea under control. She even peed! She's now awake, for the first time in 2 days, eyes wide open, watching a movie in bed, eating a mango. Her colour is back. Best of all, her smile is back. Tomorrow is another relax day in our luxury room, and maybe a 5 minute for Jack... Stretch her legs. She'll be back up and running in no time!

    Jack says : Uganda here we come! Oh and if my parents are reading this, I'm fine. Vee just gets nervous.
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  • Day10

    In Addis Ababa and Bahir Dar

    January 11, 2016 in Ethiopia

    So we started our journey in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia. I didn’t know this, but Ethiopia is the second most populated country in Africa apparently. There’s lots of people. Like lots. It’s a slap in the face of poverty, dirt and smells. I found it difficult to believe the capital itself had this level of garbage, dirt, and homelessness.

    Now, I know I’ve been to countries like this one. And I’ve done fine. Most notably Cambodia. But I guess I’m older now, and have more difficulty adapting. I haven’t slept more then 3-4 hours per night, going to bed around 9pm and waking up at 1am not able to sleep again. Only to then be grumpy all day (Jack’s patience is impressive). And to this jet-lag exhaustion, I add – my anxiety (at least I think that what it is) is not letting me eat!

    Little message for the parents – I’m fine! Feeling OK, just low energy, getting by right now on half breads and white rice. Back home, I know I’m anxious when I can’t finish a plate without getting super nauseous on my last bite. It’s never gotten to a point of puking though (sorry for the graphics), until now that is. The thought and smell of food is making me nauseous and attempts at swallowing anything is making me sick. I keep telling myself “I just need to reboot, get one good meal in”, but I’m still waiting for that meal. I thought it was the malarone I was taking that was making me sick, but I didn’t take it today and no change.

    Now I know some might be worried reading this, and that’s not the point of reporting it. The point is – it’s OK to be anxious. It’s OK to admit when you’re overwhelmed. It’s OK to take time away from visiting to reboot. I know I’m an anxious person, I knew this would be taking me out of my comfort zone, and I just have to adjust. I’ve got time, no worries.

    That being said, I’ve seen some incredible things already! Addis was a little too busy for my taste, and I learnt an incredible amount at the Red Martyr museum. We spent the day today on a bus (10.5 hours) to get to Bahir Dar. On the way the landscapes were absolutely incredible. Little girls carrying their jugs of water home from the well. Little boys handling the cattles. Absolutely beautiful. And the best part is – we were sitting all day so no need for energy!

    All in all – I’m actually, no lie, excited for the trip to continue! I can only imagine the incredible things I will see. I’m just really looking forward to that meal.
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  • Day1

    ... in Addis Ababa, Flughafen

    July 8, 2016 in Ethiopia

    Los gehts! Nach 7 Stunden Flug landen wir endlich in Addis Ababa. Naja, der Flughafen ist nicht gerade der schöneste und viel zu voll und laut, aber irgendwie schaffen wir es und sitzen vier Stunden später in einem viel kleinern Flugzeug, dass uns nach Malawi bringen soll. Auf die nächsten fünf Stunden..

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Bole Bulbula

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