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You You You You

September 1st, 2005

Hi all,

First off : I HAVE MY SUDANESE VISA!!! Only good for 7 days but it’s better than nothing.
Yep, you guessed it from the subject, I’m in Ethiopia. I’m here since the 20th of July and I really have problems to stay here. I didn’t write in a long time because I spent over a mounth in Nairobi waiting for the )#*$^@!! visa for Sudan and I finaly left without it.

I left with a cool Swiss guy and his dog in their Range Rover. We went around mount Kenya and play in mud! That was pretty cool and I took some videos that should be online within 3 weeks, I just send the CD today. We also had ice on the tent!! Fuck, we were less that 100km from the equator and we froze our ass off! The next day we reach the equator and had lots of fun standing on one side and pissing on the other. Starting a beer north and finishing it south and much more stupidity! It’s amazing how much fun you can have with an invisible line!

After that I spent few days in a Samburu village (I went there before when I was invited by a guy I met in Maralal). It was nice to stay in his house and they transformed me into a moran (Samburu/Masai warrior) fully dressed. The others locals found it quite amusing to¬† see a mzungu dress like them. I than start a rough journey toward Moyale/Marsabit to reach the Ethiopian border. I spent about 10 hours on the top of a lory (marchandise truck), and of course I didn’t put sun cream.. I was quite red but no sun burn. At some point I took my discman out and listened to my music, it was very nice to enjoy music in the middle of the desert with the sun and wind, I felt really free.

I have to admit I was a bit jealous of Andrew (another guy on a Cape to Cairo trip) that had drive a lory and hold a AK-47. Well, a guy who picked me in the South of Ethiopia (Yabelo) asked me if I knew how to drive.. Sure! So here I go drive this big truck, the faces the peoples outside made were worth pictures! Unfortunatly I couldn’t take any picture because I need my full concentration on the road… With all those things running everywhere. After a while I gave back the wheel to the professional and chew chat (miraa) instead. I took too much or didn’t stop early enough, anyway when I finaly reach my hotel I was quite speedy and couldn’t sleep and the next day I felt hang over and dehidrated. But after a few liter of water I was back on track. In a bus journey a guy gave me his AK-47! Again, everyone in the bus was laughing a lot. One of them told me I should steel money from the passengers since I had this big gun. On that journey we saw a lory that felt down a cliff! It was really damaged. It make you appreciate a slow driver!

I went to Awassa where I stayed a few day (the food was soooo good at that German/Ethiopian run place) and I saw the swiss guy and the dogs again. I really recommend if you go to Awassa that you try Adenium Campsite, just for the food it’s worth it and the familly is also very nice!

As I said in the intro, I have problems to stay here… It all started when I reach Addis (the capital) before that I tought that the ppl who warned me about Ethiopia were quite wuss. But since Addis… Wow! So many beggar, espacialy kids, it’s very anoying.. YOU YOU YOU YOU GIVE ME GIVE ME FARANJI FARANJI MONEY MONEY MONEY PEN PEN PEN 1 BIRR 1 BIRR SOFT SOFT SOFT, etc… In some city you say no and they stop but in others they will follow you for hours and there not much you can do. Some of them also try to be “over-cool-dude” and say things like : Yo man, what’s up with me! I think the worst cities were Bahar Dar & Lalibela… People here don’t seems to have the concept of “vital space” or “bubble” don’t know the term in english but I’m sure you get the picture. In Bahar Dar I went to visit the Blue Nile Falls.. They should be rename the Brown Nile Falls.. On the way to the falls the minibus we were in hit a dog. The driver didn’t even honk or brake. The worst is that the girl that was with me told me a second before: Oh, that dog have the same tail as mine -blop- we roll over the poor dog! I also had a few health problem I’ll spare you the details but got diharrea (sp?) a few time and probably got scabies as well! It’s incredible how it itch! I learned that it’s a microscopic mite that lays eggs inside you, 1 to 3 per day for 5 weeks. Then if you don’t kill them, the babies does the same. You catch them if you share bedings, towel, etc with infected peoples. So for those who wasn’t sure if they wash the sheet every time someone use them, apparently the answer is NO! I also learn to appreciate squat toilet, and I’m sure I looked like a pigeon on the top of the conventional toilet. I created a new logo : DSL, Duck, Shit, Leave. Ok, there should be a “wipe” but it doesn’t sound as nice if it’s DSWL.

I also saw one of the most disturbing/disgusting things so far in africa. A guy was pissing on the door of the toilet, no wonder why Ethiopian’s toilets are the worst in Africa, but then his friend came out of the same toilet!

On the other hand I have to admit that the country is amazingly beautifull, so hilly and green! I went on a trek for 2 days and took loads of pictures. They should be online in 3 weeks, I posted them today. I had also a very good time in Lalibela, I was _ALONE_ in a cluster of churchs linked togeter by tunnel. I was walking inside the tunnel with my headlamp and really felt like I was exploring. As there wasn’t any other ppl I could also go into restricted area (I learned that later) and found a bat’s nest!
From there I travelled a few days with a Israeli heard (2 groups of 4) very nice ppl (I never tought I would say that when I was in Thailand!) but they left for the South a few days ago leaving me alone to deal with the Sudanese authorities! I bought new shoes yesterday, apparently even if you get the best shoes with “vibram” sole they cannot survive a year in Africa. Btw, today is day 356!!! Almost a year already, incredible how fast times goes when you’re happy and have fun.

I got the Sudanese visa this afternoon.. It was a hard an quite long process. I tried the first time in Kampala, than waited a mounth in Nairobi without success. I than try here in Addis but got kicked out off the embassy because they didn’t have any stickers left!? I went back a mounth after (last monday) and they requested the Egyptian visa before even looking at me, so I got the Egyptian visa. I went back yesterday and after over 2 hours they finaly took my passeport and looked sad that I had everything and they couldn’t kick me out again. After another half an hour they gave me the form. They pick it up after 30 min. Ask me to pay the fee and come pick it up today in the afternoon. They told me it would be a 30 days visa, but it’s only a 7 days transit visa. Apparently I can extend it in Karthoum. We’ll see anyway after all the troubles I went through a 7 days visa is very welcomming!

I think I’ll stop here for now, I’m going to celebrate!

Have fun,
Mat.

P.S. Thanks to all of you who still write me even if you’re back home and
have “boring lives”. It’s always nice to read your mail!



Pense du mois : Real man don’t beat woman – Woman are human too. – Kenyan
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