Africa was a nightmare to upload photos from. so sorry for the delay Kenya will be next. This is the second time in 2 years I have been to Ethiopia. It’s a great country with spectacular scenery and a great history where apart from a brief period during the 2nd world war when Italy invaded they have never been colonised. Whilst poverty is still in evidence almost everywhere, it has the highest growth rate (GDP) in Africa at present.
This was my camp spot for the night in Metema on the Sudan side of the border with Ethiopia. Its a Police compound and you can see my mosquito tent on the concrete loading deck.
This picture above shows how I had to refill petrol travelling alone. For security reasons I refuelled from the jerry cans (Two 35 litre cans first filled in Eygypt that I had to carry in the back of the car. I never felt comfortable with this as the car always stank of fuel and I was always concerned someone with a cigarette could accidentally ignite us all). I always refuelled in an isolated area as fuel is hard to get and its best not to advertise you have extra!!
The road terrain in Ethiopia is rough at best. I estimate I drove 200 kms on dirt and stone roads. Often you would be down to 5-10kmh because of the pot holes. Google Maps coverage is very poor in Ethiopia so I relied always on Maps ME which apart from the heat problem rechanging the phone was very reliable almost everywhere.
Driving in Ethiopia is an experience you will never forget because there are people and animals everywhere and many have no road sense at all so, you need to be very careful. Then there is the road surface itself and abandoned vehicles, old road accidents and huge pot holes, road subsidence and land slips. It all adds up to a challenging drive. I didn’t use my music at all in Africa as I felt I needed all the senses I had to avoid catastrophe.
The above pictures show some street scenes. In Ethiopia there are always people walking at the road side, cars are rare outside the capital, its mainly lorries and pick up trucks. Its got a huge population of 102 million people. The large picture shows a petrol tanker and trailer that have overturned blocking the road completely. You can see the vehicle track on the grass where we passed the crash. What you cant see is a big line of people with jerry cans on the other side all draining the petrol from the tanker and its trailer!!
The pictures above show some of the recipients of pens pencil and colouring books as well as footballs that Julia Albu wanted distributed on route.
I stopped for a pee at the side of the road once where it looked quiet but as usual in Ethiopia, four young lads appeared from nowhere to just stand and stare. This happens a lot no matter what you are doing. They look at you and you look at them and then some sort of communication begins. I had pens etc to give them but you need to be very careful how you distribute things especially on your own as they get excited very quickly and can begin pulling all sorts of things out your car. I always had all the doors locked and the items on the passenger seat covered over and ready to hand out of the drivers window and that seemed to work well.
On one of my stops above I was interested to find in the middle of no where what looked like a Muslim and Christian burial site right next to each other. Another sign of how different things are in some places
The above pictures show a market scene in North Gondor the large picture shows a river being used to wash vans an tuk tuks, whilst on the other side of the road they were doing laundry. The guy with his hand out in a tuk tuk has at least 4 goats inside and was trying to stop others following.
In the highlands Gelada baboons were a road hazard too!
Sunset in Africa is nearly always pretty special
Visited the Ethiopian Red Cross in Addis Ababa and met Abdi who told me some of what they do. They have big plans for a shared office and head quarters in the future
Three photos above show Ethiopian Bank being built by Chinese companies. The Chinese are building bridges, roads and buildings all over Africa.
Ethiopia still has lots of problems one major one for me was finding petrol again. Whilst not as bad as Sudan it wasn’t easily available either. I had a little fuel left on arrival and had tried at least 5 stations on the way into Addis without success. So the next morning I asked my hotel to get me a taxi driver who spoke good English. When he turned up I got him to sit in my passenger seat and asked him to direct me to where there was petrol. It worked a treat he took me to a local station where there was a small queue and then he went to the front of it and filled me up himself as he knew all the staff there.
Lots of signs that life in Addis is getting better and easier for people, and of course they were very friendly too.