Day 7: Not Your April Fool!

I woke up slowly and headed out to buy some flight tickets. After yesterday and given how unwell I was now feeling and had been overnigt, I figured I really should make sure I can get back to Addis Ababa on this holday, not only in one piece but more importantly on time. I know I won’t be travelling like the “true” backpacker would want to, but I think I’ve experienced all there is to experience on an Ethiopian bus journey in the last two days and although I may miss some wonderful sites from the windows I think I’ve done my time and more, and what is the chance of seeing through the grease anyway! So as I had run out of money partly due to water expense, I went to change some travellers cheques at the bank which for some reason took absolutely ages, they love their paper work here, and it has to be said, the pace of life is much slower here. At 12 o’clock I met my guide and went for a walk to the market where he tried to get me to buy stuff!

I realise he was on commission for taking me to certain places as this is pretty much accepted here but I was now in no mood and made it clear to him that he shouldn’t bother which he did look offended by but I explained my last two days had been awful and added that if he took me around the shops I would not tip him at the end of this and I think he accepted that. I think the last two days have removed any soft edges I had before starting this trip. After a short Pepsi break at the markets, my new drink of choice, we went to the fort and Castle. I went around on my own which felt great, he kept people away from me so I could go around without any hassle, free to sit and read, free to take in the sights. Bliss.

I spent about an hour there even though there was not that much to see but it was so relaxing. I then hired a taxi for 100 Birr which is far too much and as I pointed out to my guide, “I hope you get your tip out of this”, just so he knew that I knew why I was paying so much. He looked a little coy because I don’t think guides and some people here particularly think tourists are intelligent enough to know what’s going on and that we’re being ripped off. I think he now knew me and I may be generous, but I was not his April the first fool! Next we went to the Pond Palace and Painted Church, and don’t get me wrong, they were all really nice but maybe I wasn’t appreciating them as much as I should because I was exhausted and still ill from yesterday. At this point I said goodbye to the guide, 70 Birr! And just chilled. Tomorrow I have an early flight to a town called Lalibela, I figured that two short flights would be better than the four day minimum return bus journey.