Monday 24 November 2008

10th November 08

Date: 10th November 08
Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Weather: Clear blue skies and sunshine, 32°c
Status: Awaiting our visas for the next few countries……

We awoke this morning feeling cold, really cold. The city is the third highest capital city in the world at 2400m above sea level and boy did it feel I this morning, it’s the coldest we’ve been since winter in Namibia!

Had a shower to warm up and packed the tent away then headed to the bar for a scrambled egg breakfast and strong Ethiopian coffee…its mad stuff and looks like thick liquid liquorice when its poured, it also leaves a sludge in the bottom of the cup when your done!

Headed out to the Egyptian embassy in convoy to apply for the next-but-one visa we’ll need in order to apply for our Sudanese visa in a few days time. The Sudanese insist that to grant a transit visa they need to see evidence that we actually intend to leave their country. The unusually stern doorman allowed us entry and we filled in the usual forms, the British are charged more than usual here for some reason and I out of
the group have to pay the most!

Next problem is they won’t allow us to pay for the visa with dollars instead we need local currency…of which the family don’t have enough, so the mad chase around the city starts in order to be back in time for the closing of the application office at midday. We try to get to the centre as we know there’s an ATM at the Sheraton Hotel but Kees is stopped in his tracks by the police as they have a restriction on all vehicles over four tonnes in the centre to reduce the likelihood of terrorist activity around the main important buildings of the city. This of course however doesn’t really help us!

Kees instead heads off back to the Belair Hotel and Ammo, Bre and I start the mad trek around the city to collect money and return to the embassy in time to pay for the visas… usual I am the high-speed truck which has to do all of the work, can you believe it a Land Rover being the quickest vehicle!

We get to the Sheraton, grab the money and return to the embassy with half an hour to spare but the lady there throws another spanner in the works….we will all need evidence of our money changing transaction in the form of a photocopy of the card used and the receipt….great, none of us have it! We’re told that if we have it back to her by first thing in the morning then it shouldn’t be a problem, at least that gives us some leeway.

As we leave the embassy another overlander in his Toyota pulls up, I start chatting to him, an American called Eric whose basically travelled the same route we have for the past few months…we’ve just never met him! he’s been staying at a place in the city called Wim’s Holland House, setup by a Dutch guy called Wim funnily enough!

We follow him to the little oasis in the city centre and find a great place where we can stay for the next few days for free with a bar, restaurant and secure parking right in the centre. Superb! We return to Kees and the others and drive down to let them see the awesome place we’ve discovered. Perfect.
Spent the afternoon setting up camp and relaxing in our new found base then went for a drive around town to see some of the sights.

Had a meal with the family in the bar and then watched a couple of movies before heading to bed early.

End of day location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Distance covered: 20kms

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