Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ethiopia: Queasy and Grumpy in Awassa, Day 4, Thursday

Felt a little queasy this morning, but popped a pill and pulled myself together. (Was it yesterday's peanut tea or the shiro tegamino?

Last night, I enjoyed a pleasant hot shower and washed my hair.

At a little past mid-point of my trip, I think I'm hitting that culture-shock wall that is inevitable for most long-term travelers to a foreign country. It's a phase. But in the meantime, I find myself disgruntled by the necessity to put on the armor every day to go out and about on the Ethiopia streets. The dire need of so many people around me is relentlessly in my face; it would be much more comfortable to be able to hide from it. Like back home where I can look at misery from a televised distance.

I also feel irrationally irritated sometimes with the place. I mean, really, how many vendors of sunglasses, tennis shoes, and clothing can this country support?

And I am truly stymied about hotel soap. Even the meanest hotel in Ethiopia offers soap, and every single day, I get a fresh bar! What happens to all of the one-day-used soap in this country?! Is there an after-market for it? I sure hope so.
Photo credit: Hotelchatter

Again, the above is a phase. It will pass.

On top of that, I also realize that here in Awassa, my lack of Amharic is really putting me at a communication disadvantage. Many folks here speak little, if any, English. So I find myself in the position of talking with some hotel staff where I say, from his perspective: "Ickly hafta roo sigga meh?" And he looks at me blankly, replying: "Farber tura kay blon zewie." And I look blankly back. It's almost funny. Strangely enough, repeating the same word over and over does not provide any additional illumination for either of us. At the end of the day, the burden is on me to increase my Amharic vocabulary because I'm in their country, not they in mine.

Lewi Resort. Photo credit: "Hawassa" at skyscrapercity
On to other things. In keeping with yesterday's vow, I walked down the block to have breakfast at the old Lewi Hotel restaurant. (There is the old Lewi, the "new Lewi," and the "new new Lewi," otherwise known as the Lewi Resort.)

After breakfast, I returned to my room to see what my intestines had planned for the day. After an hour or so of partying, they went to sleep again, and I walked to the piazza to upload journal entries. Another nice experience there -- fast internet all went smoothly.

At a certain point, I heard a great wind roar outside, but it turned out to be a lot of show with no rain. Exciting, though. Dark, cloudy sky - trees bending over.

Lake Awassa. Photo credit: Sfkdn at Wikimedia Commons
I wanted to end the day with dining at sunset by the lake, so started walking in the direction of Lewi Resort ("new new Lewi"). I passed by the municipal compound, and took that opportunity to visit the tourism office, compliment the officials on the beauty of Awasa, and the annoyance of kids and young adults calling out "You! You!" I said, man, this is so rude to Americans; it just makes me (and presumably other tourists) avoid the vendors who do this.

Arrived at the lake. Peaceful.

Did I mention I was out of books to read? Sadly, this is true. I did run into a book stall, but it only had textbooks.

Allee at Lewi Resot. Photo credit: "Hawassa" at skyscrapercity
Had an expensive but dull pasta dish for dinner. Simply enjoyed looking out at the water, listening to the birds. I left the lakeside just before dark, walking through the resort's gorgeous allee, lined with white petunias planted en masse, with bougainvillea-covered pergolas erected at intervals throughout the allee's length. I could imagine a bride taking a long walk down that allee.

It was a glorious evening for walking back to my hotel. I really regretted that I did not feel safe doing so at night. Therefore, I took a bajaj to the piazza, got off by the internet cafe to see if I could connect with Cat (and I did), then took another bajaj back to my hotel.

Bought a cold Ambo to take up to my room.

No electricity.

Thank goodness for my flashlight and for my battery-operated voice recorder, onto which I'd downloaded 36 podcasts of interest to me before I left the U.S.

1 comment: