The Adventures of Smudge

Travelling around Central and South America with Jason.

Bahar Dar

12th - 15th November

Bahar Dar is one of Ethiopia’s more picturesque cities. Set on the shore of Lake Tana it’s streets are lined by gardens and trees, its pavements are wide, and there is an illusion of order in the small city. I would not describe it as beautiful, but for an African city, it does well. For us, it was our last stop on the northern historical circuit before heading east to Dire Dawa and Harar.

We spent 3 nights here, staying first at a charming little B&B called the Annex, where the woman who manages the house for her sister-in-law in Switzerland greets you with smiles at the gate, always makes more coffee at breakfast and attends to your needs with enthusiasm. Unfortunately, it was booked out for the last 2 nights so we moved to the Homland Hotel. This is a much larger establishment, but I cannot complain. We enjoyed good service and a spacious room with an ensuite for a reasonable price.

The nearby Blue Nile Falls draw tourists with a day to spare between monasteries. They are like to be a wonder during the rainy season, when water cascades from a rocky wall about 100m long. Unfortunately, for us, it was not quite so grand, but it was still beautiful, and the drive there was almost as enjoyable. 

Bahir Dar

Leaving Bahar Dar for the Falls we passed a local market where Ethiopians sat amongst bags of grains, chiles drying in the sun, bales of hay and goats milling about. We ventured a little way into the chaos but I was almost choked by the chile dust and Jase was feeling a little too much like a white tourist in a strange place. We left fairly promptly, but not before the local women had enjoyed a giggle watching me smell the chiles they were drying.

Bahir Dar

Mustering our dwindling tourist energy, we took a boat ride to what would be the last of the Ethiopian Orthodox monasteries for our trip. The churches, palaces and monasteries in Northern Ethiopia are certainly impressive, but I have to admit that I do tire of seeing too much of the same thing. For company we shared a boat with an older American couple who I could have easily left behind on one of the islands, and an interesting Irish couple who were a similar age to us. We battled the souvenir stalls as a team, marveled over the paintings and then relaxed over lunch before heading back to the hotel. A day well spent. 

Bahir Dar

Bahir Dar

For anyone considering a visit to Bahar Dar, I will comment on the hassle, which for us was negligible. I think it is difficult to escape the touts who will lead you to your hotel, but we have found these young men to be more interested in the long term gain than asking for a small tip for their immediate services. Our young ‘guide’ did not know where our B&B was, but did manage to help us find it, and then was hoping for us to join his boat the next day. Other than handing over a phone number, no real obligation was felt, and we did not oblige. The random assortment of beggars are to be found anywhere where tourists or rich Ethiopians are, but they did not trouble us too much. And of course, there will always be hopeful children asking for pens, books or money, but they are not so persistent. Really, nothing too difficult.

Gondar

9th - 12th November

Gondar lies on the historical circuit to the north-west of Lalibela, at the foot of the Simien Mountains. It is a small city with a population of around 300,000 and more of the city grunge and bother than the sleepy town of Lalibela. Having said that, we suffered no real hassles aside from the odd pesky child probing us for the usual items. It was just a little less friendly, but I suppose that is to be expected from a larger place. 

We stayed at Lodge du Chateau, which was an all-round success. This local run business is incredibly friendly, with unusually good service, a committed owner and clean, comfortable rooms. Not to mention, good Wifi (always a plus) and a great breakfast on the terrace.

We took the option of a local guide through the hotel, and harboured no regrets as a result. Tamerat, was a young Ethiopian of an age with Jase and I. His name in Amharic means ‘miracle’ and stems from him being born on the date (plus a few years) that his father managed to survive a rather hideous road accident. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for his passengers, who did not walk away from being toppled over a cliff to the valley 70m below. Apparently Tamerat’s father walked away with a few scratches and a broken arm…possibly a lot on his conscience too although that did not seem to be the moral of the story. A miracle? 

Tamerat took us to the local market in between visits to the churches and castles, which admittedly for me, was the highlight of the day. The road was clogged with tuk-tuks, donkeys, minivans and buses, all loaded with the days goods. People sat along the road selling a variety of fruit and vegetables, amongst other useful wares. I couldn’t help but notice the proximity of the food to the significant amount of dung floating around, but maybe it’s best not to think too hard about that. 

Further inside the maze of stalls lay the spice market, where aromatic spices filled hessian sacks and bags of colourful powders divided one stall from another. Jase and I were convinced into buying some rather expensive frankincense, but with the farenji price came the opportunity to take as many photos as we liked, as well as sample the olfactory delights of the other spices. It was nothing if not authentic, which presented a nice change from the tourist hype of the spice market in Istanbul.  

The castles and churches of Gondar are grand and rich in history. We learnt much of the significance of the Ethiopian Orthodox paintings in the main church. Without a guide I would have merely gone in and marveled at the artwork, but Tamerat was able to explain to us the meaning of every painting. Admittedly this got a little much towards the end, but we went away feeling all the more informed.

I was interested to discover that one of Ethiopia’s very liberal emperors introduced animal rights into the scene in the 15th century. The donkeys were relieved of their heavy duties for a time, although I don’t believe this lasted long. He also established equal rights for all ethnicities in the country. A good man.

To satisfy our more energetic side, we took a half-day hike in a picturesque area near the Simien Mountains National Park. Here we saw the famed Gelada Baboons, although admittedly they were very small from a top the mountain. Tamerat found out that Jase was to star as Jesus in Yusef Kassa’s next video clip, and consequently there were photos to be had with the soon-to-be-famous ferenji. 


Lalibela

6th - 9th November

Lalibela lies to the North of Addis and is home to some of the most famous rock hewn churches of Ethiopia. It is by no means ‘off the beaten track’ but compared to the sights of Turkey, you almost feel alone. The town sits on a mountain top, overlooking valley in all directions and offers breathtaking views!


We were expecting the hassles to start here, but we were pleasantly surprised. Since the Bradt Guide was written in 2009 the government has tried very hard to clean up the streets and decrease the culture of begging. Unofficial guides try their luck but only half-heartedly, and the children who ask for money or pens can be easily deterred.

In fact, we found the people to be very friendly. We could not walk 10 metres without saying hello to someone or talking to a curious child. The people from the construction sites paused in their work to smile and wave. Voices called from houses above belonging to children frantically waving. Women and men smiled broadly when we greeted them and asked for nothing. I felt warm and fuzzy walking through the streets rather than harried and angry. Ethiopia continues to wow me!

The churches themselves were a site to behold. Built in the 10th century they are still in reasonably good shape and are also still in use. Priests and holy women sit in the churches praying as the tourists walk through, and women make holy bread outside. I shall let some of the photos speak for themselves.

The Joys of Public Transport: Woldia to Lalibela

After fond farewells to Christos we braced ourselves for some independent travel. Walking the streets of Woldia at dawn we blindly searched for the bus station. We had been told you can walk there…”it’s just down the road,” they said. But if there’s one thing we’ve learnt, it’s don’t trust an Ethiopian for directions. 

Eventually we got into a tuk-tuk which took us to the right place for the equivalent of 12 cents. Not so expensive really. We were immediately collected by a shady looking character who directed us towards a bus that was definitely not destined for Lalibela. Fortunately another guy approached us and took us to the right bus, pointing at the sign in Amharic saying “Lalibela, Lalibela.” We ogled at the foreign writing, asked a fellow passenger and decided to trust.

Luggage is somewhat of a challenge on these journeys. Our packs were thrown onto the roof of the minibus and secured by a single rope. The Ethiopians were very amused to see the faranji (Jason) clamber onto the roof to attempt a more secure arrangement. The bus boy made fast friends with Jason after that and gave him his Tigraian necklace, on the proviso that he email. He looked hopefully in my direction, but there’s something about handing out my contacts to strange African men that doesn’t quite sit right with me…

The tour of the countryside and villages you get with road travel in most cases balances out the hassles along the way. All manner of people get on and off the bus, crammed into seats and thrown out again before a police check. In one village there were so many bags of wheat loaded onto the vehicle that you could almost feel what was left of the suspension sag under the extra weight. After about 200kg had been hauled up top, another passenger began to protest. That was the end of the wheat and the start of a much slower journey.

Our breakfast break was in the village of Dilb where we enjoyed a cup of Ethiopian coffee as we watched the villagers walk by to the market. Donkeys, cattle, sheep, goats, hay, wheat, vegetables…women and babies, children and men, the old the young, the fit and the lame. Ethiopia has got to be the only country where you can enjoy 100% arabica coffee, prepared traditionally on the side of the road, whilst watching the local market walk by. I love it!

So that brings us to Lalibela…


The Road from Mekele to Woldia


Round the bends we go, up and up, leaving the valley behind us. The Landcruiser handles the road gracefully, but the obstacles on the road remain. Villagers lead their cattle and goats onwards to better pastures, zig-zagging across the road. You turn to look at the owner of the beasts and see only a child, holding their hand out…for what? Anything…


Defeated donkeys laden with straw and wheat plod into their oblivion preferring the white lines of the road to the side. At one turn a crazed sheep runs clumsily in front of the vehicle for 50 metres before it moves to the safety of a hillside. I don’t think anyone has ever told it how silly it looks when it runs!


But most of all there are people. People bent underneath straw and wheat. Groups of women carrying their babies. People with their animals making the long trek home. 


The obstacles make for slow progress but an interesting ride through the wheat fields and mountains. Christos curses and beeps and waves his hands, but nothing changes the road…their road…


Mekele

4th - 5th November

Driving into Mekele after the previous 4 days felt like entering the World’s most modern metropolis. Of course, it is not quite this grand but it’s a lot nicer than Addis. We stayed in the modern wing of the Axum Hotel, which was probably the nicest place we’ve stayed the whole trip.


Mekele is not a tourist town, but the market was as much of an attraction as I needed. Kim, Tom and I took a walk there to see the salt at the other end of the line. It was far less glamorous sprawled over the pavement in small blocks and crushed in hessian sacks. The loaded camels now just a distant memory. 



I particularly enjoyed poultry street where men herded chickens and swung them about their shoulders. One elderly gentleman tried to give me a chicken. He had such a hopeful grin, but no matter whether a gift or at a price, Australian customs would have taken the same view…Hell no! 


Tigraian women lined the pavement selling their vegetables. There was unroasted coffee in piles waiting for customers. There was a whole section of the pavement dedicated to grass which I found most intriguing. 





The Danakil Depression

31st October - 4th November

The 31st of October marked the start of a more extreme adventure, into the low lying region of the Danakil Depression. The Danakil lies on the border with Eritrea in the Afar region, and it is one of the few areas in the country that must be visited on a tour. We did some research and made our choice - Pangeans Safaris - and we did not regret it.

Pangeans is owned by a Greek-Ethiopian couple, Christos and Lysa, who both run trips to the Danakil. We were accompanied, driven and led by Christos, who is a passionate, earnest Greek man who has been living in Ethiopia for 7 years. His opinions and antics were an amusement to us all during the 5 days we spent with him, and we felt entirely safe in his hands. There were 5 of us on the trip: French Florence, Kim and Tom from Texas and Jase and I. Of course the rest of the seats in the 3 Landcruisers were not free. There were the Afar police, the army escorts, Christos’ family cook, litres and litres of water, food and luggage…

Beasts of the Road 

We swerve between the beasts, inhaling their fumes and listening to their thunder. Crates overloaded with goods sway above us as we overtake. The ants in their cabins pretend to control but these giants could crush them in an instant. Goods making their passage between Ethiopia and Djibouti peek out at us in curiousity. Waiting to cross bridges they line up for kilometres, belching their fumes with a rumbling hiss. This is a violence that is new to me and becomes more and more real as we round bends to find broken skeletons crushed by the side of the road. Let this be a lesson not a reality they scream. I can only hope…


Awash National Park

After defeating Ethiopia’s most dangerous road and emerging unscathed we made a trip to Awash National Park. The grassy savannah stretches for miles here, dotted with flat-topped trees, and overlooked by vast mountain ranges. You can almost imagine the lions slinking through the grass, or the elephants stomping the savannah…but sadly, Ethiopia has not been kind to its animals and the only beasts we saw were deer, ostriches and guinea fowls. Although I cannot forget the river…we saw a crocodile basking in the sunlight it’s jaw open wide. And there may have even been some fish. The falls were beautiful also. After lunch, a stroll and rather scant game drive, we hit the asphalt once more, onwards to the nights destination…Semara.



Semara

Mmmm…goat bolognese…

I think anything would have been delicious by the time we arrived in Semara, ravenous, dirty and stiff. But I have to say, my goat bolognese was not just tasty because I was starving. The Ethiopians have managed to recreate their own spicy version of bolognese  sauce that sits very well in the stomach.


By the light of day Semara showed itself to be a desolate place. A city of the desert where more modern buildings are juxtaposed with the dome huts of the Afar tribes. Women weave between trucks and over dirt in colourful, yet conservative dress. The rumble of trucks churning through the dust on route to Djibouti break through the silence. This place seems something of a hell-hole, yet it is nothing compared to what is to come…


The Desert

The vastness of the Ethiopian desert stretches out to the horizon, unyielding and harsh. Giant trucks zoom past camels and Afar huts, stopping for no one. Children race towards the vehicle shouting, “Highland, Highland,” meaning water. Covered in dust and dry as a bone, they look like they have not drunk for days. I know this cannot be, yet I feel disturbed by the image all the same. We pass dome huts interspersed between small villages. Men cluster in the shade, while women haul water, wash clothes and sit by stoves. This is a mans world. 



Rocky mountains meld into flat planes. Cracked dirt is dotted with trees holding fruit that yield no juices. Dust rises around the vehicle creeping into the crevices and sticking to our skin. Then we reach the mud…



The Afar

The people of this region are called the Afar. They are desert people, lean of frame and solemn. The men wear sarongs and sandals and carry sticks. The women are covered with colourful materials and head scarves to protect their modesty. Women are the cornerstone of society in these tribes, keeping the household alive and often working with the animals. The men are very good at sitting in the shade and speaking amongst men, although not all are this inactive. In the salt desert and the road to Mekele we saw the more physical labour of the men, and my disquiet with the woman’s plight was mellowed somewhat. 


Driving into a village you are surrounded by men. “But where are the women,” I ask? “Inside or over there,” they reply. In one village I found myself circled by 15 male youths, asking my name, my country, where I’m going. I look over to Jason and he only has 2 Afar friends. “I will go to my husband,” I say. “I love you,” one youth responds. 


“What do you know of loving a woman,” I think to myself as I look inside the huts to see the women labouring. Seeing the marking their husbands give them when they marry. Like an animal…Maybe that is harsh, but it is my gut reaction. What kind of punishment is it to be born a woman in a culture such as this…?

Ertale

For kilometres we jolt over rocks towards the volcano, the loaded guns of our our army escorts bumping along beside us. ‘I hope the safety catch is on,’ I think to myself, as I stare down the barrel of the gun. After a long bumpy ride we arrive to the base of the volcano to find that our camels have been taken by another group. Plans of walking lightly laden up to the lava lake fly out the window, and we prepare for a more heavily loaded journey.


The wind is harsh in the desert, and the bolognese heavy in our bellies. 4L of water sloshes gently in my backpack as I leap from rock to rock. Slowly, slowly, we ascend. Guided by the Afar police, and our trail lit only by moonlight we trudge onwards. My eyelids feel heavy as we walk and my eyes dry from the desert winds. It’s 2am when we finally reach the top, only to descend once more into the caldera…


From a top the mountain we can see the mouth of the volcano glowing in the night. As we descend into the caldera we walk over sparkling ground, brittle in its twists and turns, solidifying from recent eruption. Inside the lava ebbs and flows, swelling in terrifying waves and then sinking back into its hole. The gases burn our eyes and irritate our throats but somehow you can’t look away. Standing on the edge of such immense power is a strange experience. One not easily forgotten.


Hamadila

A village set amongst stones, radiating with heat as the sun beats down on the wooden houses. Donkeys and goats take refuge where they can in vacant structures. People hide during the day and emerge at dusk to go about their daily business. Privacy is a dream not a reality. The only toilet in the village is in the corner of the army barracks where someone has trampled the barbed wire fence. Most use the pebbly ditch at the edge of town once dark has fallen, or camouflage themselves in their sarongs in an attempt at modesty. 



Our own camp is no more luxurious. We sleep underneath the stars on camping stretchers, use the local latrines and shower inside our makeshift hut with water pumped from the well. Never have I stayed somewhere so basic and devoid of comforts, yet we maintain some kind of solidarity with the villagers by living as they do - even if only for 2 nights. 


Driving away from here, leaving the village in our dust, we move towards luxury once more. How is this fair?  

Dalol


In my mind a landscape this alien has never existed on Earth. The iron, sulphur and salt combine to create crusts and spouts of amazing colours. The earth hisses beneath your feet and steam rises from hot pools reflecting bizarre formations. Is there more heat from above or below? Sometimes it’s hard to tell. 

Alice’s Wonderland seems almost boring compared to this. Mushrooming foot stools of salt and rock project upward inviting the passers by to a tea party.

Salt pyres stretch to the heavens, their jagged surface glowing translucent in the sun. Caves beneath emerge into secret hideaways amongst the salt. 

Hairy lips in the Desert

Floppy, hairy lips beneath weary, curious eyes. The camel stares out from beneath it’s long lashes to the vast expanse of the salt desert, resigning itself to the long walk ahead. Some take their task more graciously than others. One camel expresses its discontent with  being saddled by groaning unhappy sighs as the other camels look on. The road to Mekele stretches out before them across the desert…5 days of marching, laden with salt bricks for the market. A sobering thought for even the most energetic humpy soul.

Weathered, wasted men crouch amongst the salt chipping the blocks to sell on. There is little in the way of protection out here aside from the  well-worn scarves decorating their heads. They chip the blocks to size then load their beasts for the journey ahead. Is this life some kind of punishment? To me it seems so…

The salt caravans fan out across the desert, the camels led by weary men. In profile, the camels seem almost to be smiling - something I never did understand…Bearing witness to this process highlights once again the vast divide between my life and the life of others less fortunate. 


An Eventful Day

We zoom around corners, along the gravel roads until we come to a village. We slow down  but not quite enough. As we drive I see a young boy, maybe 3 or 4 years old, running towards the road. The child has reached the centre and we cannot stop in time. I cannot see him any more. Christos leaps from the car and the child runs crying to the side of the road. The villagers begin to crowd around, pulling Christos this way and that. 

I try and tell them I’m a doctor, but they don’t understand. I can see the accusation in their eyes. “Why is this white woman trying to lay hands on our child?” Christos is distraught. I try and tell him to translate for me, but it takes some time for him to comprehend my words. Eventually the message gets through and I find myself being taken to the house where the child is being cradled by its mother. I hope that my skills are not so rusty, but thankfully one look at the boy shows a shocked child, but not one badly hurt. I feel his scalp, palpate his spine, listen to his chest with the rudimentary stethoscope, feel his tummy, move his limbs. Everything seems ok.

The villagers huddle around while I perform my basic medical assessment. I can sense their curiousity. A woman doctor? A white woman looking at their child? How very strange…Christos agrees to get the child further assessed at the medical clinic 10km down the road. We are left in the village whilst the locals pile into the Landcruiser, and here we stay for the next 2 hours.

I’ve said before that stranded moments can be some of the most interesting. We sit in the local store surrounded by the village people. Florence receives a proposal or 2 which thankfully I escape. Tom gets his family album out which is a big hit. Somehow knowing that the faranji has family makes him more real.


We are even invited to a coffee ceremony with the locals before Christos arrives again. The local men are trading chat for chewing as we are sipping our 100% arabica from one of the most remote villages in Ethiopia. The women are cooking injera around the corner and the salt caravans are slowly making their way past outside. 

Thankfully, when Christos returns the news is good. The boy is ok. He pays the exorbitant price which is way too much and we are on our way again. The shock of accident still plagues him but slowly slowly we can all move on…


Thoughts 

Wow! Does this suffice? 

Our experiences on this trip have been so varied. Some more interesting than others, some more extreme than others. This 5 day experience was definitely the most extreme journey we’ve had during our 8 months on the road, and worth every penny. We experienced a culture far removed from our own, drove through amazing landscapes, felt singed by a volcano and walked on what felt like another planet. We sweated our body’s weight in water, hid from the sun and emerged in Mekele caked in dirt. 

AMAZING! Thank you Christos and thank you Pangeans Safaris, but most of all, thank you to those who let us see their land and experience a snippet of life they lead!

Jesus Returns…to Addis Ababa!

Travelers we have met along the way have described Addis Ababa as a rather unappealing city without the luxury of tourist attractions. Dirty, crowded, ugly and full of beggars…these were our first impressions also. But our time in Addis took a rather unexpected turn thanks to one of Ethiopia’s prominent gospel singers…Yusef Kassa. As we were standing in the reception area of the Taitu Hotel, a friendly looking man spotted Jason and said, “you look like Jesus.” This is of course not an uncommon observation, so we smiled and agreed. He kept on talking…”I want you in my music video,” he says. “I am a gospel singer here in Ethiopia and I am looking for Jesus…”



Of course one is advised to swallow a healthy dose of skepticism before arriving in Ethiopia, so we were wary of his claims, but we needn’t have feared. That afternoon we were driven around Addis by Yusef, stopping to take illegal photos of the African Union building (where Jase had to show his passport to a cranky security guard), slowing down in roundabouts so I could take snapshots out the window and enjoying views of the endless traffic and rubbish dumps populated by men playing foosball.




We visited his film studio where we met some of Ethiopia’s prominent film-makers and were introduced to his music. We needed no more convincing regarding his authenticity after that point.



In the evening we were taken to Addis’ most famed restaurant, renowned for it’s traditional dancers and quality injera. We were introduced to Yusef’s sister Hirut, who is apparently a well-known journalist in spiritual circles and a lovely person to boot. We were allowed to pay for nothing, and this continued into the next day. What we expected from Addis?? I think not. The city itself did not grow more beautiful and the beggars were no less poor but we were introduced to the life of a rich Ethiopian and we enjoyed it in style!



The filming of the video clip was set 2 hours from Addis, just outside of Nasrit, on a rocky hillside overlooking a valley. We drove, packed into a minivan with a cross strapped to the roof. Randomness on roof racks! When we eventually arrived at the set we were surrounded by children, goats, curious cows and villagers intent on what was happening. I very much enjoyed the image of a goat standing on the cross, its feet slipping on the smooth surface. 



Jase was transformed into a harrowed Jesus by some talented make-up artists after which it was time for a good whipping. The ‘Roman soldier’ looked surprisingly Ethiopian, but you can’t have everything…Jase found his second calling as an actor with his anguished looks. These were not all feigned though - he was actually left with red marks on his back after the makeup was removed. Unfortunately the light faded before he could be nailed to the cross, but rest assured it will happen on our return to Addis :) 






So needless to say, this was an unusual adventure, and one we never could have predicted. Our time in Addis went from the normal dirty and frustrating experience to one unparalleled in novelty and hospitality. All I can say is, thank God, Jase didn’t cut his hair :)

Small Talk

One of the things you learn during travel is that small talk is different in every country. In Australia you might ask where someone lives, where they grew up or what they do for work. In Africa, things get more personal. 

Are you married?

Do you have children?

Are you a Christian?

These are the stock standard questions one may be asked at any given time and it is wise to have some answers on tap. You should always have a husband, especially if you are traveling as a single female. If you must admit that you are unmarried, you must always have a boyfriend who you are about to get married to. Under no circumstances should you admit to apathy or atheism because you will be in for an hour long discussion on religion. 

Perhaps the most controversial question is “are there homosexuals in your country?” For a man to lie with another man in so many African countries is completely illegal, and sometimes punishable by death. In our conversation with an Ethiopian man from Addis he claimed that to feel attraction for another man is not natural, and it cannot be part of one’s nature to feel this way. When asked why he likes women, he claims that this is the natural way. There is no other explanation. There is no room for rational thought in this argument… 

Jinja

Jinja lies north-east of Kampala, and is known for its proximity to the Nile. Tourists flock there in droves to go white water rafting or alternatively, to contribute their (query) much needed help to the abundance of NGOs in the area. Apparently there are so many women’s initiatives there, that the local council had to resolve a dispute between two groups who were competing for the same meeting times…something seems amiss there don’t you think…? Perhaps spreading the love to more needy areas might be necessary…

We stayed in the Nile River Camp which had a beautiful setting on the Nile. The safari tents were seriously overpriced, but our transition to the dorm proved much more cost effective.

Grade 5 rafting on the Nile was an experience not to be missed. Four grade 5 rapids and four grade 4 rapids with waterfalls to boot. Soooo much fun. We went with Nalubale Rafting who were very professional, and our guide Brett was extremely experienced and full of enthusiasm. 

Our visit to Jinja also coincided with the end of Eid, and a very lively village party. Dancing to trashy pop songs amongst a sea of Ugandans young and old, was another irreplaceable experience. I am always glad though that Jason is with me at these times. We had enough people rubbing up against us despite the fact that we were together, without adding a lone white female to the mix. At one stage a Ugandan man assigned himself to be our marriage protector and bounced around next to us shooing everybody away. Rather amusing really. 

Jinja was our last Ugandan destination. After this it was back to Kampala to catch our flight to Addis Ababa. So onwards to Ethiopia, the next adventure…