July 20-22, 2010
My mom and I left California on Tuesday and arrived in Ethiopia on Thursday. In an effort to jam as much as possible in the shortest time possible, we had a driver meet us at the Addis Ababa airport to immediately take us to the Sidama region.
After several hours of driving we arrived very tired in Awassa. We had been traveling for more hours than I can count over several days and all we wanted was to grab a quick meal and head to bed.
July 23, 2010
The next morning we met up with our driver, Ayele, and headed off to see a bit of Awassa, the capital of the Sidama region. Located on the shores of Lake Awassa, it is the largest city in the Ethiopian Rift Valley. We didn't spend any time in the town itself really but headed for a park on the water. There, we were able to see two different types of monkeys (grivet and guereza) and enjoy the lakeside breezes.
After the park we headed right next door to the open air fish market. There were these insanely large scary prehistoric-looking birds with a ginormous wingspan. Kids (in an effort to get tips) would throw fish scraps high into the air for them to catch. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of them in action because I kept ducking to stay out of their way. Did I mention they were huge and scary looking?
At the market, fish were being cooked and sold in open air stands. Our driver asked if we minded if he got a bite to eat. Luckily being a vegetarian gave me a good excuse not to join him.
My mom and I were the only ferenji (foreigners) at the park or fish market and we stood out. The fish market was the only place in all of our Ethiopian travels that we were really harassed and surrounded. It was only by children asking for money so I never felt like we were in any danger but it definitely put a damper on the experience for us.
After Ayele finished up his fish lunch, we headed further south in the Sidama region. More to come in Part 2.