Changing tack ….

Day 87 –

L: 4am in the morning and it is pouring!!! The sound on the roof is amazing, brings back memories of my childhood when we had a corrugated iron roof. Maybe that is why I love rain.

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We were going to be driving out of the park today, back towards Addis so as to hear news from the embassy etc. we have not had a good signal and no Wi-Fi.

S: Lesley loves the rain, but I knew this was going to make driving the muddy tracks back to the entrance gate of the park rather difficult. L: Oh come on, Steve, you love mud! Think I know why this place is called Awash!!

The electricity had been out from 4 am, probably due to the rain, so I knew that there would be no chance of a hot shower as it is an Insta-Hot shower or whatever it is called here, which uses power. brrrrr.
And wouldn’t you know it, as I stepped out of my freezing shower, the lights came on and Steve so enjoyed the warm water.

I had the breakfast – plain omelette here means not even an onion in it, just egg. Steve didn’t even want coffee this morning – feeling a bit stressed. I chatted to the group of Americans and was introduced to Rebecca. She was asking about our trip, they have a local driver so don’t have to worry about the conditions as much. One of the young ladies was crocheting, it is so rare to see someone who still does it, I told her of my blanket distribution project and what fun it has been all the way up Africa.

S: I boiled the kettle to fill the flask so that we wouldn’t have to stop for too long in the rain. When Lesley came back from breakfast, we left.

It was bad and took every ounce of concentration and a lot of trundling through the deep mud and wash off sand to get through each patch. L: It reminded me of chocolate icing as it cracks when you cut into it and then the car dipped in to find the solid ground. Fun for me and I kept taking photos, but Steve was gripping the wheel with not one word. Good job that we had been so lucky seeing all the birds and animals yesterday as not much was braving this relentless rain, except for a group (caravan) of soaking wet camels next to an impromptu river gushing over the road. It seems so bizarre as they are usually in desert settings.

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S: Through the park gate and back on to the tar road for a while, quite a relief. But then the wavy tar began and we were stuck several times for ages behind a slow tanker, up a very steep incline. It is hard to see when to overtake and get this, not one Ethiopian uses headlights, even in the driving rain. Lesley was trying to tell me when I could overtake, but was often not sure as the visibility was compromised.

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Results of a head on collision. Tanker involved on the right.

L: Further along the road we saw a camel lying next to the road, presumably hit by a car and close by was this little camel, it could not have been more than a few days old, standing forlornly. I so wanted to take it with, I do hope it gets a good home.

S: And on through the muddy road-works, behind 4 or 5 double oil-tankers at once. What a mess. The most amazing thing to see, is that the little Tuk-tuks are still ferrying their passengers through all this mess and they don’t even have side windows for the driver so they must be soaked. What dedication.

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Guess who is going to give way first.

We stopped in Adama Nazareth at an ATM and decided to see if we could find accommodation in the town to stay tonight and maybe tomorrow as long as we can hear about the visas and then we will go back to Addis Ababa when we have to fetch the visas or apply for the Sudanese ones. We have been wondering how this is all going to pan out and what our next step is going to be. Yes, it is taking its toll on me, thank The Lord that Lesley remains upbeat.

L: We both saw what looked like an option on the left hand side of the road and so turned around to try Adama Gete Hotel.

I went in to enquire and chose the “suite” for Birr 500 (R272) with breakfast included for both of us! It is so much cheaper than the last few places yet you can get a plain double room with en-suite for as little as Birr 300. With it still raining and so being stuck indoors, it is nice to relax on a lounge suite (suede, nog al) with TV and a bit of a view, even though it is the main highway through town. There is security parking out back too which is always a consideration for us.

The rooms were still being cleaned so we had lunch in the hotel while we waited. Tea and “Lzanja”, yep that is how they spell lasagne. It was heated from frozen and Steve needed to send his back to get it reheated. It was ok, but an interesting way of presenting – 8 sheets of cooked pasta, with a scraping of cheese sauce between each and brown on top with the mince then dished up on top of that stack. Want the recipe, Lydia???
The boiled water looks like tea and then you realise that you haven’t put the tea-bag in yet???

Upstairs now and as I type up today’s news, Steve has passed out on yet another king-size bed……….it is only 2pm on a rainy afternoon.

……..Waiting for news about our visas.

And then it came. The Jordanian embassy has rejected our application as you cannot drive from Sudan to Jordan!!! Durr, that is why we were going to ship.

I have felt for a while that we will probably not mange to get any further and see us shipping the car from Mombasa, Kenya and flying to Europe where we can pick up the car and continue to the U.K.

Steve agreed that maybe that would be best.

S: I frantically got on to the telephone to try to arrange for our passports to be collected in Johannesburg (yes, once again the visa company first sent them from Pretoria on to their Johannesburg office, wasting more time). Unfortunately, DHL said that 3.30 pm on a Friday was too late and we would have to have the passports collected on Monday only. We wasted a lot of air-time and time as the communication from Ethiopia to Johannesburg was difficult.

I now have an e-mail address so hopefully we can sort things out that way. We will need our passports before going back down to Kenya. We discussed the possibility of doing the drive further up north of Ethiopia to see the churches carved out of rock in and around Lalibela and going to Axum as well as Lake Tana. All this would add at least 10 days on to our trip and then we would have to go all the way back down through Addis to Kenya. We would then also have to get an extension on our Ethiopian visas as they expire on 13th August. The biggest consideration is that, due to us being delayed in Nairobi and now Addis waiting for visas, the rainy season is upon us and traveling up north, the roads are often impassable and very dangerous with the flooding. L: I am sorry as I know it was to be one of Steve’s highlights….but, safety first.

We have also heard a few times that Sudan is not as safe as it was. Remember that the war is in South Sudan which is another country.

After all that planning, we decided to get out of the hotel for supper (lunch had put us off). We traveled a short way up the hill and out of town to Keneyu Hill Resort Hotel which we remembered seeing on our way in. I waited in the car and Steve took ages, but eventually found me photographing the sunset. He had asked for room prices and been shown to two different ones. We decided that if we stay in Adama Nazareth for longer, we could move here.

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S: Supper in their lovely restaurant, was great. I had really good chips with my fish and Lesley tried the chicken curry. L: I so enjoyed it as I can’t eat chicken if it has Oxytetracycline in, but we hoped that it would not be in the chicken this far north.

I had worked on the blog while Steve had been busy with DHL, the couriers and although we were supposed to have Wi-Fi at the hotel, it was not a good signal. We asked if we could sit in the lobby at the resort to post the last 3 days and they were quite ok with that.

S: We, reluctantly, went back down to our hotel. It was noisy from the start of the evening and being next to a fuel station, there were queues of taxis, busses and trucks as well as every tuk-tuk in the town, jostling and hooting to get in first to refuel.

It had been a long day and it would be great to get a bit of quiet……….

Day 88 – Happy Birthday, Verona ;-))

L: Sleep deprivation ……….torture. Our room faces onto the main road and there is traffic (mainly trucks) barreling down the road all night. The window in the en-suite cannot close even a fraction as the electric lead is tied onto the handle and then wound around the shower head and connected to the hot water cylinder. Yes, that in itself is scary.
The staff and guests finally stopped all their shouting and banging after 2.30am so I was able to sleep for a while. Steve managed a bit better, but did not have a good sleep either. We felt exhausted.

S: Coming out of a cold shower!! (we had not realised that the switch next to the light switch was in fact the geyser switch, so that had stayed off all night) and stepping in to the passage and narrowly missing a cat’s mess was the last straw. We did not eat much for breakfast as it was already cold and congealed and mainly local dishes. We enjoyed the juice and coffee and fresh bread though. We paid the bill and went up to the resort.

They said that the better suites on the left were having paving done so were noisy, but the cheaper suites (at only Birr 443) were at the back and really quiet and private. We could park the bakkie there and best of all, they gave us our key straight away. Lovely, as we both felt like a lie-down.

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L: We have been so lucky, in so many of the places that we have stayed, as the gardens are stunning. I am so enjoying the flowers and plants, that will be my next project, learning all about plants, not sure if I want my nick-name to be Blommetjie (little flower) instead of the Tweety that Steve calls me now, though. The birds are amazing, I can’t wait to find the right bird book as I have so many photos that need names now. They are so bright and colourful.

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Weaver bird feathering her nest …

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We decided to have lunch at the resort and I had the chicken curry again with Steve having chicken noodle stir-fry, yum. There is a conference so it is really busy, but we are happy in our little cottage tucked away.

S: We went in to town, to draw money, only cash here again and fill up with diesel. It was quite a long wait for fuel and once again, we saw the drivers using chate, the plant that they chew. We had just watched a documentary on TV with the truck drivers using the addictive plant all over Ethiopia and how many accident it causes.

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We pulled out of the garage to see the remnants of a bus and taxi accident in the main road, the same one we had listened to all night. We had to detour around the whole town so got to see all the back streets again.

L: We can also hand in our washing here, hard to get dry as it is overcast again. That will see us through for a while. We are spending time with e-mails etc to organise our next stretch. I remarked to Steve that it was strange that we still had not been able to change our Kenyan Shillings and now we were going back into Kenya………
Steve had also read on the Kenyan website that the new ruling about needing a Kenyan visa has been postponed until 1 September 2014. We hope to be done by then so as not to need one.

L: For a real sweet treat, we made pancakes out the back of the bakkie for supper with a cup of tea.

Now it is getting the blog ready and an early night for us and hopefully, a good night’s sleep. We will probably stay here until we hear about our passports so that we can avoid the madness that is Addis.

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Categories: Uncategorized | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Changing tack ….

  1. Hi you two
    What a shame that you have to retrace your steps and go back, but you still have a wonderful story to tell. Tish is correct about both the monkey and the ostrich! Could you not ship the car (and yourselves) from Port Sudan?
    Your latest “digs” looks great, so chill and enjoy the latest wait for your passports
    Lots of love Jenni and Jphnny

    • Hi J and J. Yes, it is lovely here. No, we cannot get a visa for Sudan without one for Jordan as Sudan thinks you will never leave. Now Jordan is being sticky so we will rather not delay any more as it all costs so much and we have a budget and time is ticking……… Lots of love Les and Steve 🙂 ) PS if anyone knoes what the birds specific to this area are, pl let me know as I have not found a book yet. The one I kniw us a Shining Sunburd. Xx On 2 Aug 2014 19:30, “Cape to Cairo to London” wrote:

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  2. Hi there guys.

    Sad to turn around…we turned south at Wadi Halva because the ferry were’nt running on Lake Nasser because of the unrest:-( The Overlanders that were onroute at that time to the UK and Europe shipped their vehicles from Port Sudan. They got their visas in Khartoum. Maybe an option?

    Kind regards,
    Arno & Elize

  3. Anton

    Thanks again for allowing us into your lives in this way. Feels like we’re sitting in the bakkie with you 🙂 Love the lzanja. Would be interesting to see what they do with couscous, breyani or boerewors 😉
    Hugz to both of you. We’ll be praying for supernatural leading, insight and favor.
    x

    • Thanks so much, Anton, Leandra, Maia and Riko. Yeah, the food is interesting? !?!……Wish we could fit you all in xxxx ;-)))) On 3 Aug 2014 12:15, “Cape to Cairo to London” wrote:

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