Animal life

One major thing that makes living in Africa such a soul touching experience is that you are in close contact with the nature all the time… I sensed it strongly in Tanzania and it came back to me again now here in Awassa – especially now that I’m coming from the Finnish winter which closes a city girl like me pretty much indoors.

Living mostly outdoors gives to one’s senses so much to work on, I feel that every pore of my skin is taking impressions from the air,from the sun, from the singing of the birds, from the shrieking of the monkeys, the smells etc. When I’m sitting on the terrace of my hotel having breakfast I can observe the monkeys that are lurking for the leftovers of my meal. One day, it was not so nice any more when they decided to go one step bolder and started to climb to the balconies, entering the rooms and stealing everything they got their hands on – it takes about 10 minutes from a skillful monkey to dismantle a cell phone, get tired of the game and fling the device somewhere where the owner will never find it… They also tried to enter my room, but fortunately I was in and shooed them away, but got punished for that with a stinking protest all over my balcony…

On some mornings I got up really early and took about 5 kilometres walk along the lakeside to a fancy hotel owned by the Olympic winner marathon runner Haile Gebreselassie. It seems that the best way to become filthy rich in Ethiopia is to become a super athlete; for example in Addis Ababa there are several luxury hotels owned by them. The morning hours on that popular route are the best: There are almost no people around yet, only some cafe keepers preparing their places for opening, the scenery is breath taking, the variety of birds would make any serious bird watcher extatic (they DO come here for bird watching) and a lonely traveler might catch a tremendous sight of a hippo having his morning cleansing or stretching or whatever it is they are doing there in the shallow waters near the bank.

And of course on wandering on the town one meets constantly herds of goats and cows as well as donkeys pulling carriages. There they are in perfect harmony with all the motor bikes (which is the most common and also most convenient means of travelling inside the city), bajajis and cars (some of them really fancy too!). There’s always packs of more or less wild dogs around and one day I saw them following a young girl who was nibbling at a piece of dry bread. The dogs were quite aggressive and the girl got scared and kept throwing for them pieces of her bread trying at same time to get away from them – scary… And talking about scary one night when it was already dark we were driving back to the hotel and spotted a hyena on the roadside it’s wild eyes gleaming in the light of the torches of the car. That time I was happy to be inside a proper car, not riding on a motor bike or bajaji, not to mention by foot! It was quite an evil looking creature…

Another not so delightful encounter happened on my last evening in Awassa. I returned to the hotel quite late only to find that even though my balcony door had been closed during my absence (always after the monkey invasion) my room was full of mosquitoes. Awassa is not as bad malaria area as Tanzania but still malaria does exist here and I felt a bit uncomfortable sharing my blood with them. So I called the reception and they sent a boy upstairs who bluntly sprayed my room with something so awful I don’t even want to know – and mind you, we used to do the same operation in Mtwara almost every night in the beginning of our stay there so I’ve probably accumulated more poison into my system during my times in Africa than during the rest of my life… There must have been some extraordinary circumstances at the lake that night since all the hotel guests suddenly had the same problem that night. So I didn’t share my blood with the mosquitoes but I did share my room with their corpses that lay everywhere after the friendly poisoner’s visit… Did sleep well though…

My trip to the animal kingdom was concluded on my way back to Addis when I got to see herds and herds of camels. I didn’t get any pictures of them since my companion struck my camera down when I tried to take one. He warned me that the herdsmen will kill me if they catch me photographing their animals – which they allegedly think is stealing the souls of the camels. I’m not sure if I’m convinced by this explanation but this is the reason why I never got a photo of a camel…

From my early morning walk

All the stall are still empty

All the stalls are still empty
A coffee shop ready for the customers

A coffee shop ready for the customers









At the end of the road looms Haile Resort...

At the end of the road looms Haile Resort…

...and the final award!

…and the final award!

Don't you have anything for me... anything?

Don’t you have anything for me… anything?

Well, then we'll take over the balconies

Well, then we’ll take over the balconies

And leave YOUR balcony with a souvenir...

And leave YOUR balcony with a souvenir…

On the street next to the hotel

On the street next to the hotel

On Mount Tabor...

On Mount Tabor…

...could be seen also some genuine Homo Sapiens...

…could be seen also some genuine Homo Sapiens…

...who suffered from the heat and the climb...

…who suffered from the heat and the climb…

...and a lonely octopus who had gotten stranded on a mountainside...

…and a lonely octopus who had gotten stranded on a mountainside…

...but what a relief, it's an aloe vera

…but what a relief, it’s an aloe vera!

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