Day 15: The Making of a Hard Man

Slowly rose again and eventually checked out at 10:15. I would have checked out earlier but a French woman full of her own self importance pushed her way to the front of the queue, white privilege? Then I just chilled in the courtyard of the hotel enjoying the view overlooking the lake, peaceful. A man came over to ask me about football, then he asked me about my parents. I said that they were dead! They are not, but I knew this would take him by surprise as I had learnt this trick now. It was to make me feel guilty that my parents were still alive while he would say his had died in the famine, hoping that I would feel guilty and give him a bit of cash. Maybe his story is true, but he would still ask for money, but now he was unsure what to say, he looked puzzled. So instead he went on to say that he was an Arsenal fan and that he couldn’t see the match to be shown at the cinema as it cost 20 Birr and he couldn’t afford it. Why is everything 20 or 30 Birr in this country! But I did say to him that I would definitely not pay 20 Birr to watch Arsenal not after that they beat Sheffield Wednesday in two cup finals in the same year! I didn’t respond to him after this I just left him there stewing. I think he didn’t know what to say next and eventually after about 20 minutes of me not responding to him he gave in and left.

I briefly popped out to tip the boy who sorted out my day trip a couple of days ago as I like to honour my word even if not everyone is being truthful, it’s part of the game really. On the way back to the hotel I bumped into Max, the American guy from Lalibela, he seemed like he’d enjoyed the trip here although he said his bus journeys were painful and pretty uneventful apart from one minor crash. What amazed me more though was that his multiple bus journeys ended up costing more than my flights which shouldn’t really happen, but that the bartering system for you! And it turns out my journey was more pleasant too!

I was given a free minibus to the airport requiring no tip, which makes me think I should have used these government official hotels before and saw the Dutch guys again at the airport, we seem to be on the same schedule, else someone is stalking someone….. They seem to have bought so much stuff, don’t quite know why or how but they have 80kg between three of them, that’s a lot of stuff, I wanted to point out that much of the stuff I’d seen could be bought at Camden Market in London but kept quiet!

Arriving in Addis Ababa a tout from the National Tourist Office so he said tried to get me to go to one of the posh expensive hotels in town. I said I would have to sleep in the airport as I’ve had my money stolen, waited for him to walk away and find another tourist and then I headed out in peace to find the very cheap Wanza hotel. Really nice and friendly people and a very nice room for just 60 Birr. On the way out for dinner a young boy decided to follow me from the hotel he kept talking all the time, obviously to get money. He even invited himself along for dinner and ordered a drink which I said “I suppose I’m paying for that am I”, no response again so I took that as a yes!. I deliberately ordered a meat pizza as I knew he could not have any as he was fasting. Yes this was evil but in my defence it did taste great! I did actually ask him if he wanted a snack and he said no, I’m not that bad! On the way back he then started asking for money giving me his story of his life but after so much of this in Ethiopia I could mentally switch off and say no to anyone now. I think Ethiopian has made me a hard person, and I don’t think that’s a good thing. In the end I just gave him tender to grab something to eat later. But he was lucky to get that the way he was going with his ridiculously outlandish story so I just went to bed and chilled.

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