Reporting from Moyale, having just crossed the border into Kenya.
Odometer reads 4400 km.
As we have approached the Kenya border, the roadside antics have started to subside. I say this knowing that just today a TDAer stopped to fix her chain and was approached by a young Ethiopian man who professed his love for her. Her failure to respond to him, earned her black eye after he punched her in the face.
A few days ago, a TDAer hit a person who randomly ran into the street. After the TDAer was thrown from his bike he was surrounded by the town's people, who threw his bike to the side and tried to kick and hit him...to what end, we will never know...as 2 other TDAers arrived and between the 3 of them, they forced themselves out of the crowd to safety...scary.
Although there were only a handful of physical injuries at the hands of the crowds of children who "cheered us on" as we worked our way through the country, our group is glad to be free of hearing:
"you, you, you, you..."
"Where are you go?"
"Ferengie(sp?)" Amharick for foreigner
"Give me your money"
A lack of response to the any of these sometimes resulted in one of the expletives that George Carlin said should not be said on TV...where they learned these choice words - who knows?
If you have ever seen Homer Simpson grab Bart by the neck...then you know what I felt like doing to the kids who demanded money and then threw stones, when no money was presented...but instead I'm sure that I may have taught them a new swear word or 2 for next years riders.
Since Addis, we have had a couple of fairly hectic mountain stages, as well as the start of the rainy season we expect to see a lot more of in the weeks to come. Riding in the rain seems to be a lot more fun then camping in the rain, at least thus far....that may change as we start the dirt/lava rock roads of northern Kenya. Our descent out of the mountains, has taken us from a lush(almost rain forest feel in some places) to a semi-arid bush I know well from Southern Africa.
My blogs have probably painted the picture Ethiopia as a giant laxative inhabited by unfriendly people. Yes, however, of the 3 countries we have crossed thus far, Ethiopia has provided the richest experience. If you look past the illness and give the people the benefit of doubt(Perhaps I would expect money, if I had nothing, and some blinged up foreigner passed through my village) - the food and drink has been amazing, the landscape has been pretty, the riding has been a lot of fun (I am partial to hills), we have enjoyed a diversity of campsites and hotels.
This is an unexpected opportunity for an update. The next update may not come for a couple of weeks when we get to Nairobi. Northern Kenya, by reputation, is the most hostile of all the places we will pass through...hostile because the road is worst we will experience, it can get very hot, it is very remote and there is always talk of bandits(I suspect, this is just, fireside, whiskey fueled talk).
As I Have said to many in this year's ride, if it is all possible I would like to appologize for the rude treatment you received in Ethiopia. I am just wandering what's going on. Of course there weren't many of us when I lived in Ethiopia. We were respectful, mindful and caring. Alas times have changed. Enjoy your ride. From a biker's point of view Ethiopia is not like any other. She is BIKERS PARADISE. Lots of hill and never a dull moment. After Tanzania your ride is going to be quite boring.ReplyDelete
Ciao - Ash