July 16, 2024

Good coffee in Ethiopia, but sweet!

Tania called the Sheriff Hotel scruffy. It was a right DUMP! But as she said, it was a roof over or heads and it cost less than R20 per person. Sadam, the young man who showed us the room and
helped carry our stuff was very friendly. Here is the hallway:

1 Hallway
And the secure lock on the door:

2 Secure lock

You have to keep in mind we had a stunningly tough day yesterday and the crowd in front of the hotel was quite aggressive. We didn’t feel unsafe, but very uneasy. Luckily the security guard
in front of the hotel (and bank) was very friendly and helped to keep the guys at bay. He also said he’d watch the bikes all night. That helped a lot. Thanks Griffin!

The room had a piece of old rag hanging from the light to attract the (lot of) flies:

4 Fly trap
From our lovely (shared) balcony we could see Moyale on Ethiopia’s side:

5 Balcony

The balcony also housed the two toilets and two showers:

6 Toilets
And the open-air basin for brushing teeth etc. (standing with your feet in water of course):

7 Basin
If was good to experience a place this horrible, as everything thereafter will seem five star!!

We reached the border at 6h45, but they only officially opened at 8h00. The helpful customs official invited us in so long and very quickly stamped our Carnets. Then the friendly official outside called the immigrations officer who just as quickly stamped out our passports. We were then allowed to wait on the Ethiopian side of the order for immigration to open at 8h00.

A kind guy (cannot remember his name, sorry!) invited us for a welcome coffee which was GREAT (though a bit sweet for my taste):

8 Welcome coffee
and told us about Ethiopia and its people. After the procrastinating immigrations officer stamped us in, the two helpful customs guys quickly sorted our Carnets into Ethiopia. We were free to
go and stopped at the first bike shop to get more bolt for adjusting the chains. Tania and I each lost one on the bad road from Marsabit. Luckily I had a spare for Tania’s bike, but had to wedge a flat stone into mine to keep the wheel from moving. After filling up in Moyale and sorting the chains we headed for Yabello, the first major town. We were SO grateful for the new tar road.

It really was this good:

9 Sweet tarmac
The reminded me of the Kruger National Park in some places:

10 The veld
We saw two bikers coming from the front (one on a XT and the girl on a DR) and briefly had a chat. They had been in Ethiopia for two months and had had enough. They said the people are crazy and the guy could not stomach the Injured (local staple food). As with so many thing on the trip we decided to try and not form preconceived ideas, as everything has proved to be so different from what we’ve heard. If you want to know what anything on the Cape to Cairo route is like you have to do it yourself. For instance, according to what we’ve read and heard we weren’t supposed to make the Marsabit to Moyale route, but we did it in one day on cheap Chinese road bikes! We have also not been asked for a bride once and the road that should take us ten hours in Tanzania took us eight days. I cannot wait to see what’s in store for us on the last stretch to Egypt. Cheers.

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