Thursday, October 06, 2005

No milk today

After another draught of camel's milk.
It started well, after the best night's sleep we have had all holiday, with a lovely warm shower and a good breakfast at the Molo Bekele Hotel (HIGHLY recommended). Then quickly into a minibus to the station and immediately onto a bus to Shashamene. We met some nice students from Awassa, a couple of them studying Accountancy and the time passed well.

We were travelling down the Rift Valley, flat and fertile, with many cows, maize/sorghum, potatoes and tomatoes. The little round mud and straw farm houses had low 'hedges' of cacti, which were quite cute and the cows were longhorns, a change fromthe ones we had seen in the Eastern Highlands.

Gone too were all the colours of the East. Clothes here are more modern and drab. A pity.

Gradually we lost more colour as the sky became grey and eventually it started raining hard and the cattle tracks along the side of the road turned into streams and dust into mud. Now we would find out whether of dusproof and waterproof rucksack covers were really waterproof! (They were!).

We pulled into Shashamene, famous for the Rastafarian Community (which bemuses the locals apparently). Anyway, tehre were ever so slightly more Bob Marley T-shirts to be seen, making a change from the trio of David Beckham, Thierry Henry and Craig David, but most of the rastas live outside the centre. A grubby little (well big) centre it was too... We joined teh boys in the bus to Awassa, hping that in the half hour it would take us to get there the rain would stop and the sun come out. (It didn't).

No, it rained harder and as we changed into a taxi, the road to the hotel got bumpier and bumpier. Down to the sodden lakeshore we went, past villa after villa housing Western aid organisations (this can be the subject of another blog... but for example we saw a sign for Self-Help Development International.... a contradiction in terms one would think), the road lined with flowering poinsettias and amaryllis, all sorts of birds in the trees, Fred went to reception to check if rooms were available. Of course they were not, noeither here nor in the other hotel on the blakeshore... and we had been SO looking forward to staying there, so it was back into town to check out the Pilla Hotel. I ran out to check this time, there was room so ran back quickly gathering our bags and checking in.... only, it seems, leaving my mobile behind.....

I soon found out it had gone, so went back to find the taxi driver, whiuch I did on the second attempt, having already tracked down his mobile number, by describing him to one of his colleagues... but the phone had gone.... and is now switched off.

The hotel is expensive and without any style, there was no milk for a white coffee in the cafe attached (this at 2 pm... as if no-one could go out to buy a pint or two - but this IS Africa), it continues to pour with rain and the lake looks ot be a long long way away, a grey patch of light in the mist... so it is either yahtzee or writing a blog.,

To make the day even better, Fred just tells me he has written a really good blog. A minute later, I hear 'oh no!' and it seems as if he has lost connection and lost his blog.

After this I think we might have to have a look around the muddy town to see if we can find some warm clothes, as if it is like this on the Omo River, we are totaly unprepared!

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