On Sunday I left Addis Ababa for the first time since arriving, to head about 2 hours drive outside the city with 5 of the other single teachers, we were off to a small resort called Negash, in a town called Wellisso. Driving out of the city, the number of cars and taxis diminished quickly, replaced by more animals, and small 3 wheeled motorbikes with a box for carrying passengers, we drove past endless flat plains, and through numerous small villages all with their small shops selling all the usuals like meat, bread etc. outside of the villages, there were some smaller settlements, consisting of mud houses with straw roofs, they all looked very picturesque.
Once we arrived, we sorted out our rooms, which were in houses not dissimilar to ones that we had passed on the way, with straw roofs, but modernised to include an electric shower, lights and a tv. Quite comfortable, and clean. After settling in, we set off to check out the pool that was at the resort, not expecting much. However, it was a fairly large, clean pool that was at a perfect temperature for the weather. For some reason there were two turkeys wandering about, but its Africa after all. We ate that evening in the restaurant of the resort, in the Tree Top Bar, so called because it is built around a tree. The meal was tasty, and we finished off the evening by playing Pictionary/charades.
On Monday we got up for a late breakfast, only to find that about 30 of the monkeys that live on the resort were playing and fighting outside our houses. Many photos were taken. Steph Moffett got a wee bit close to a couple of them, and they started jumping up at her and pushing her shoulders, much to her shock, and our amusement.
After breakfast, the day consisted of lazing about the pool, we postponed swimming as the rules state that you have to have a shower before you go in. Not a problem, except the pool is open for locals and there were about 6 guys in the 4 showers at once, we gave up waiting for them to finish. One of the girls, Summer and I, went for a walk up a nearby hill, braving all the local kids yelling "Forengi!", "you!" and "Money!" at us. At one point a kid began following us, and followed us around for the rest of the time, wanting money. Quite cute, but we're told not to give them money as it will only make it worse for the next foreigners who happen to go for a walk. Anyway, the climb was very quick, the view was nice, and I even found some great rocks at the top for a spot of bouldering. Great!
We came back down, and some of us decided to wait beside the showers for the same guys in the showers to finish, one of the pool staff shouted something to them, and one of them reluctantly moved over, and waited till we finished. After a brief shower, we went in the pool though not for long because the other lads in the pool made it their mission to intimidate us (the only white people in a pool full of black people) as best they could.
Anyway, we had dinner at the restaurant again, and met some more Americans who were in Ethiopia with the Peace Corps. After they'd left, we managed to throw the locals off the pool table who'd been playing all day literally.
For the second night, we'd had to move houses. The girls had got a large family house which they shared, similar to the first houses, with more room. I had to move to a shack which was fun. There was no hot water, the place had a damp rotting smell and water sopped up through the bathroom floor when you stepped on it at all. Tne toilet did not properly fill up and so constantly dripped. I had to tie off its tap so that I could sleep. An adventure, but it was only for one night.
The next day we had breakfast, Steph complained that she had just brushed her teeth as the waiter was serving us our orange juice. She tasted it and promptly made a disgusted face because of the sour taste. The waiter's expression, and her hurried attempt to apologise and explain that the problem wasn't the orange juice but her teeth, finished the break off on a high.
Some pictures from the trip; all from my camera, if I get some off the other cameras, i'll stick them up. I've plenty of videos of the monkeys but the dial up would die if I even tried them.(Left to Right) Me, Summer, Clare, Tracy, Steph, Christina.
We left the lodge about 12 so that we could be back by 2.30 because some of us were sitting the SIM driving test. Niko arrived at 5.30, 3 hours late. A bit frustrating considering we could have stayed a bit longer. However, this meant that we had less time to be tested. I went last, the test lasted about 3 mins. It is probably more for Americans to check that they have had enough practise driving a non-automatic car. He took me out, realised that I was able to drive a manual transmission car and then pave me some tips for driving in Addis like sit on your horn and barge out when you want out. while driving down a main busy road, Niko said "Stop and do a U-turn". I tried to protest but he just says "Go." So I swung the wheel around and turned in the middle of all the traffic. I think the most difficult thing will be getting back to driving with rules when I get back home.
That's all my news for now,
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