Monday, December 19, 2016

A new adventure, end of the year in Djibouti - with the wandering writer -

Here I am back, after some technical problems I get back to tell you another adventure. This time, we left the Afar desert to reach Djibouti. Once again, we knew we could fly comfortably, but in this way, we would have missed the landscapes, the villages, and the contact with the locals. Therefore, we booked a place on the local bus that from Addis Abeba would have driven us to Djibouti.
The bus was small indeed, something that you would expect to run within a city, rather than within two countries but it was in good shape and our luggage seemed to be very well fastened on its top.
Here we started our Journey again, and as we left the city, we were driving along dirt roads in the African wilderness. Effortlessly, we drove through the border and our journey in the new country started.
The beauty of travelling with the locals is that you find yourself a lot of people curious to understand from where we come from. The first to socialise were the children, of course, and within giggles and shy smiles, we got a few friends soon.
You do not need to speak the same language to have friends, and that is what I love the most in Africa, people are ready to communicate even with gestures.
Some of them could speak some words in English, but since Djibouti is a former French colony, they could better speak French.
I must admit, I speak a little of French, but this is not allowing me to have a fluent talk with someone; let's say that I can ask for easy information.
As we reached the first village, it was evident, that a white face doesn't fall through the cracks, and kids were the most curious of all. They quitted their games, and looked at us, happily greeting and smiling. It might make you a bit uncomfortable to be looked at as if you were alien, but from my point of view, it made everything funnier. I guess that more than being surprised to see a white face around, those kids were surprised to see a couple of white faces travelling with the locals as if they were one of them.
Finally, after a long journey, we finally reached the bus station, where we were asked to pay the ride.
Now, this is something you have to keep in mind when travelling through Africa; they are smarter than you, and we were scammed to pay the bus trip at the beginning by someone who wasn't even closely related to the driver.
In this case, just pay and admit that someone was smart enough to rob your money in a very elegant way.
We paid the bus driver and headed for our hotel, which was not far from the bus station.
Now you imagine the scene, a beautiful hotel, a couple of "Desperados" coming in, dirty of sand, with impossibly messed hair (it took me a lot to bring them to their usual comb), tired and robbed.
We reached the check-in desk, and a lovely looking girl smiles at us:
"Can I help you?"
"Yes, we have a reservation for seven nights," my husband replied, handing her our passports.
"Of course," she smiles. "Did you have a pleasant flight?"
I looked at my husband, and a giggle comes instinctively out of my mouth.
I turned my gaze to her, "do you mean to say that we could comfortably fly from Addis Abeba? We took the bus!" I replied a bit sarcastically.
Apparently, she lacked any sense of humour and gave us back our passports unflinchingly.
We just spent the last four days travelling by road, with temperatures way above the ones I could ever be able to stand, sleeping and having showers wherever and whenever it was possible. You cannot imagine the relief of having a hotel room with shower, toilet and a comfortable bed.
Those are the times where I realise how lucky I am, and for this reason I keep travelling in a very basic way, just to remind myself that whatever I have in my everyday life, is not something granted to everyone, and basically as it came, it might disappear one day.
I do not mean to prepare myself for a major economical collapse or apocalypse, but it is good to be reminded of what we have and what we might lose.
After a long shower and a cold beer, we went out for a walk, and already from the architecture, one could have guessed the strong French colonial influence. Not only on the language but on the lifestyle, the buildings and culture. Let's say that Djibouti, like all the former colonies, are a sort of melting pot of different culture. A sort of meeting point where people, religions, cultures and habits fuse together.

 As usual, returning home and leave Africa, was not easy as another piece of our hearts remained there, waiting for the next adventure.

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