Before entering Ethiopia, we’d heard some horror stories.
Other travelers had said that children throw rocks at motorcycles as you pass.
We were told there were millions of displaced Somalians along the main road to Addis who frequently blocked the road stopping all travel for days.
A few days before we were due to cross Matias read an article that 50 people had been killed at the border we were due to cross at.
‘We can’t cross here, we need to change our plans’ Martias said, slightly desperately
‘But there’s no where else to cross Matias, except one remote crossing with no fuel and 9 hours of rocks and sand’ we tried to explain ‘and we don’t know if that will be any better’
‘You don’t understand, if there is trouble at a border, you don’t cross, no way, we get a plane if we have to’
‘Well, if there have been killings, there will be more security. If it’s that dangerous they will close the border, if it’s open, we’ll be fine’ Dean and I explained
‘You guys are crazy’
‘And anyway’ Dean said ‘ they won’t want to kill us, they’ll kidknap us first and hold us for ransom’
Matias looked genuinely scared. He spent the rest of the day trying to ring shops, hotels and immigration on the border to get more information…he didn’t get much of a response but one guy from immigration said there was no problem, so short of going alone across the other border he seemed to reluctantly accept that.
We were more concerned the country would be more Muslim and it was going to be hard to get a beer…how wrong we were.
Ethiopia is the oldest Christian country, second only to Armenia which means, they like to drink. Jesus turned water into wine, he liked to party! 😁
So we crossed the border first thing to avoid all the crowds.
The border was empty.
As always it was easy to exit Kenya. Upon entry to Ethiopia our temperature was checked for Ebola (all good there) and we proceeded to the immigration counter. The guys behind the counter were super friendly and apart from having to provide details of a hotel booking (which I’d cancelled after we received our visas) it was a quick and easy process. Customs for the bike was also easy and free!
So one hour later and we were across…getting ready to deal with the millions of Somalians and nasty children throwing rocks….
We experienced nothing except smiling and waving children and adults and very quiet roads.
Nothing of what we’d heard was true…for us…on this day. Obviously these other reports were true (some only a week prior) but things change so quickly and you need to see things for yourself. If we’d followed everyones advice over the years we never would have left Australia (as happy as this would have made our mothers!)
As soon as we crossed the border the food changed. After two months of eating nothing but rice/ugali with beans and tough inedible meat we were given lots of different dishes all served on injera bread (a local steamed kind of flat bread) and coffee!
Actual coffee that has caffeine in it….pretty much exactly like an Italian stove top espresso however prepared in a different way.
And they love to drink. If they’re not drinking coffee, they’re drinking beer. They even drink beer for breakfast. Ethiopia makes their own wine too which I can actually stomach drinking!
The people here look less ‘African’ a little more Persian/Egyptian….slightly lighter skin with softer hair, which means there are some pretty cool afros…and more western dressed.
We still get children and the occasional adult ask for money which seems pretty standard in Africa as soon as they see white skin but we can only blame the west for that.
The country is green and mountainous with hundreds of donkeys, cows, goats and sheep wandering on the roads.
Donkeys are used for pretty much everything and they are worked hard. There aren’t many cars around, just a few Toyota LandCruisers and crammed buses. The people are so eager to please and go out of their way to make us feel welcome.
We are currently in Addis Ababa organising our visa for Sudan.
Again here we were expecting a complete headache due to things we’d read but so far it’s been the easiest visa we’ve applied for so far. We dropped our passports today, paid the money and apparently….tomorrow at 2pm, they will be ready….let’s see!