13.01.2013 - 16.01.2013 28 °C
Hello & sorry for the delay, our internet connection is getting worse the more we travel! We wanted to share some photos of our time in Bahir Dar.
Following our traumatic journey to Bahir Dar, we were happy to arrive at Ghion Hotel and be greeted by this beautiful view from the hotel veranda, overlooking Lake Tana.
Ethiopians are extremely proud of this 72 mile lake, probably because their country is landlocked by 7 countries so beaches are unheard of.
During the three days spent in Bahir Dar, we took a boat trip around Lake Tana that cost around £4.50 each for 4 hours.
Ok, our boat might look basic but it was a better deal than these workers transporting wood from the other side of the Lake, what took us 20 minutes was due to take them 4 hours.
The main reason for the boat tour is to see the local monasteries that have been on and around Lake Tana since the 14th Century – the most exciting part of these was how they had been built, thatch roofs and mud walls, just like most of the homes we see daily.
Really, the highlight was meeting the village kids, as with most of the trip though, the obvious poverty is heart breaking but these children are so full of joy, it’s wonderful to try and overcome the language barrier to make conversation – usually about Manchester United or Chelsea!
The next day we took a trip to the Blue Nile Falls, our expectations were low as the rumour is that they ‘turn off’ the falls Mon-Sat to preserve water. We were very surprised to arrive at such a beautiful view, with Christmas just gone and with Timkat (Ethiopian Epiphany) happening this week, we were lucky that the falls had been left open for this special occasion.
As with most of our Ethiopian ventures, the journey can be just as interesting as what you have actually paid to see and we never tire of seeing how the locals live and work.
We made friends with this boy on the boat; he was hitching a ride to the other side of the river and was happy to pose for a picture whilst he chewed on Sugar Cane - the local favourite snack.
As much as we are avoiding cars and minivans at the moment, we had to endure a 45 minute bumpy ride along a dirt road for this trip. I think we have resided to travel with our eyes closed to block out the constant road hazards, honestly this picture shows a tame example:
So that is Bahir Dar and we are a week into our trip with so much more to see – next step Gondar to celebrate Timkat and trek the Simien Mountains, that’s if we survive the 4 hour minivan journey...
Highlights so far:
- Steve reciting an Indian takeaway menu every time he attempts to say ‘thank you’ in Ethiopian, the actual Amharic word is “ameseghinalehu”, daily giggles with Steve saying sagamaloo all the time.
- Leaving Addis Ababa – this is one city not high on our ‘return to’ list.
- 60 pence beer every day.
- Being served red wine in a beer bottle as standard.
- Men peeing anywhere and everywhere – in front of you, whilst they walk, there is no public peeing etiquette.
- If you are beautiful and from a tribe then get a face tattoo – at least 30% of women we encounter have tattoos on their forehead, side of the face or jaw line.
- Hygiene or lack thereof, not getting any easier – add that to the cold showers, eek!
- Male affection – we are just loving the love between guy friends in public, holding hands, cuddling – when we spoke about the fact that men do not do this in the western world, they couldn’t understand it – “Why wouldn’t you show affection with your friends?”
- Being fed – it’s a sign of respect and trust, if someone is bringing a handful of food towards your mouth then you eat it. Yep, that’s probably the hardest adjustment for me of all the above!