Monday is a finger day!
To celebrate Strap On’s Ethiopian birthday, Addis Hashers and various hangers-on set sail for Bahir Dar at some ridiculously early o’clock. Slave Trader waved us goodbye – phew! he must’ve been glad to see the back of us.
Thus started a 13 hour coach journey accompanied by the sound of traditional Ethiopian music (possibly some people’s idea of hell) but I loved every second of it.
The breakfast promised ‘as soon as we get out of Addis’ was actually brunch several hours later. I ate the best scrambled eggs ever and the Ethiopians shared tibs and injera. I noticed how everyone ate only with their right hand and pretended to do the same. I even sat on my left hand at one point, eager not to accidentally offend.
As we drove north, the landscape changed. I watched a child remove a big brown ‘pancake’ from a pile and tried to work out what it was: well fancy that, it’s a big pile of shit! Dried cow dung ready to put on the fire.
Comparable to Colorado’s Grand Canyon, the Blue Nile Gorge is a sight to behold. Next to a sign that read “the road is highly slipping. Stoping prohibited” we stopped for photos, a small rock wedged beneath one wheel of the coach. As we descended in altitude, the heat intensified.
Flagging, after a whole day on the coach and more than ready for beer, we talked the driver into another stop. It had started raining as I walked out of the restaurant. The coach driver started to drive off, sounding his horn loudly. I chased after the driver, ready to abuse him. Desire and Jesus ran behind me, both careering on the wet road and landing in the ditch hidden behind the coach.
“I banged my finger” Desire said as he showed me a rather bent looking digit. “Oh dear, that doesn’t look right.” A First Aid box was produced and Wailer proceeded to yank Desire’s finger back into position with a crowd of Ethiopian lovelies crowding around them. Desire was force fed local gin, for purely medicinal reasons.
“Monday is definitely not going to be a finger day then,” we teased. “Can’t every day just be a Thursday?” Desire asked. (You work it out).
As we pulled away there were shouts of “Strap, On!” Sheila’s a road safety consultant, so belt up!
Despite what the Ethiopia Bradt guide says, Tissisat Falls are most definitely worth a visit – if you know someone who can turn the tap on! As we turned a corner, three dramatic waterfalls came into view. Possibly the highlight of the whole trip, the Falls and the surrounding vista of mountains in every direction were out of this world.
Hashing transcends cultures, professions, ages and running ability. It’s a real leveler and includes some well-connected people – you never know who’s underneath that Hash T shirt. And so, with a simple phone call, the water flowing through the hydroelectric dam was rerouted for an hour so we could see – and feel from 100 metres away – the full force of the original Falls. How lucky were we?
View a short video clip Blue Nile Falls, Ethiopia
Thanks to Helvetas who sponsored the Hash T -shirts for the run. Helvetas constructed the fabulous metal footbridge, one of nine they’ve built in remote parts in Ethiopia. Just see how people crossed before!
A recap of Africa Hash 2011
Thank you! Amaseganalu
Thanks to the Africa Hash main sponsor St. George beer. Africa Hash served as the launch event for their mobile draught beer bar – I can safely say we gave it the baptism it deserves.
Hashing has given me the opportunity to travel abroad with my Ugandan friends, reconnect with English friends I met at Africa Hash 2009 in Kampala, and make Ethiopian, Kenyan and Tanzanian friends. Mombasa May 2012 is now firmly in the diary (I can’t wait to party with Nairobi Hashers again) and Africa Hash 2013 in Ghana pencilled in.
Special thanks to Addis Hash for inviting us to your fabulous country. I’ve wanted to visit for years but you provided the opportunity, gave us a fantastic welcome, an awesome party and continued to enchant me even after the official festivities were over. I WILL BE BACK!