when i woke up the next morning, i knew something was wrong. not horribly wrong, but my stomach definitely felt not well. i was hoping to avoid the filthy disgusting toilet at the hotel, but in the end, couldnâ€™t. what a horrible horrible experience. Iâ€™ve never been a fan of the squat toilets, but here it smelled a million times worse than usual, and using these toilets when you are ill…. ugh.
after that unpleasantness, we packed all of our stuff, and walked down the road to the local restaurant. on the way, a bunch of local kids ran up as usual, some of them grabbing on to our hands to walk with us. it never gets old having this happen to us. makes us so glad to be in Ethiopia!!
we got to the restaurant, and we had to wait there for several hours till the next cargo truck would arrive so we could catch a lift to Konso. as the minutes dragged on, i began to feel worse and worse. i started feeling nauseous and my stomach was aching. i had to lay down in the restaurant. i was beginning to fear that i would be unable to get in the truck. but, i *definitely* didnâ€™t want to keep staying here if i was still ill.. our hotel had sucked, and it was the last place i wanted to be sick for a few days. but my stomach kept feeling worse and not better.
eventually, the truck pulled up. i had a decision to make. would i be able to endure the long bumpy ride in my condition? i decided that i just wanted to get out of turmi anyway, no matter what, so i pulled myself up, and walked to the truck. i was able to convince the driver to let me sit up front instead of in the cargo area. unfortunately, there were already 4 people in there. with me, that makes 5.. and it was so insanely cramped.
the ride was hellish. i was in total pain, and worried that i would have to throw up. Iâ€™ve never been so miserable. i kept trying to configure myself to be comfortable, but w/ so many people, that wasnâ€™t possible. after several hours, i felt well enough to be able to take tiny sips of water. the nausea was subsiding a bit, but i still felt terrible. every few minutes, my stomach would cramp up and i would get a dull pain so bad that it made me cringe until it subsided. finally, we arrived in weito (the “truck stop” Iâ€™ve mentioned before). it seems like no matter where you go, you always have to stop there. i climbed out of the truck, and almost fell over. i felt very faint, my head was spinning, and it seemed like breathing was difficult.
i sat around for 20 minutes waiting for the truck to go again. finally, it was time to leave and i climbed in. so cramped!! eventually, after a couple of hours, i started feeling somewhat better. still weak, but my stomach wasnâ€™t in agony anymore. i decided it might be better to get out of the cab and get in the back of the truck where there was more room. well… i picked the wrong time to do it. when i got in back, a bunch of Ethiopians got on at the same time. like 20 of them! so, now the back of the truck was totally cramped too. there was tons of people, luggage, bags of honey etc, and a bunch of sheep as well. ugh. utter chaos. would have been funny on any other day, but since i was sick, chaos was not what i was in the mood for.
finally we arrived in Konso, our destination. we staggered out and got a hotel room. our friends borut and eva were supposed to continue on to a different town, but the driver decided he was going no further, so they were stuck. as luck would have it, there were no more hotel rooms in town, so they had no place to stay!! luckily, our hotel agreed to put an extra mattress on our floor and allow them to stay with us. phew! i was feeling well enough to eat a little food, so we ate, and hung out w/ the Slovenians a bit, and then went to sleep.
i got up feeling a lot better. not 100%, but better. we went to a restaurant to see what we could eat. same as usual. ugh. over the last week, we’ve gotten so sick of the food here. i have nothing against Ethiopian food, but it’s just frustrating to have no variety. it’s been fasting time, so they can only serve vegetarian options, and in most restaurants that means just 2 different choices. other than those 2, you can order spaghetti or scrambled eggs. so, that’s how it’s been for soooo many days now: spaghetti, mush, eggs, eggs, spaghetti, mush, mush, spaghetti… etc etc etc. on and on. i so badly just wanted something else. ANYTHING ELSE!!! oh well.. i guess, eggs it is.
it was market day in Konso, and i felt kinda decent, so we went to go check it out. over the last few weeks, we had often seen kids happily munching on sugar cane. i decided to buy some and try it. everyone got really excited… the foreigner was going to try the local snack!! everyone crowded around to see how we handled it. it was kinda difficult. we werenâ€™t used to it, and chewing the hard sugar can stalk was tricky. luckily, the kids grabbed a huge knife and shopped the cane into smaller more manageable pieces. the sugar cane was really good! nice and sweet, but not too sweet. the kids were really excited that we liked it.
as we walked around the market, we ended up causing quite a stir. people had noticed our tongue piercings, and now there was a crowd around us that wanted to see. people kept asking us to stick out our tongues again and again. everyone made horrified and shocked faces when they saw the piercings. they just couldnâ€™t believe it! people kept calling their friends over and the crowd grew and grew. eventually, even after we left the crowd, people would recognize us on the street and run up to us and ask us to stick out our tongues. too funny! one little girl even dragged us into her home to show her relatives!!
look at the people’s expressions…
after the market, we went back to the hotel. we started getting worried about stuff. first off, we had very little money.. and Ethiopia has no atms. if the small amount of money that we had didnâ€™t last us till Kenya, we would be totally screwed, and there was still a bunch of days left. also, we needed to catch a bus or truck out of Konso the next day, bit no one seemed to know what time we could do that. finally, we talked to the guard who said that he thought that his friend was driving a truck to yabello at 5am, and he offered to knock on our door when it was time. also, we got our laundry delivered… all wet. DAMN!!! the laundry hadnâ€™t time to dry, and now e were stuck w/ wet laundry. what could we do?! we had to hang it in the room, but it probably wouldnâ€™t dry over night. in the morning, we’d have to wake up at 5am *hoping* there was actually a truck going, and then pack wet laundry. sheez. i totally felt like we were at the countries mercy now. what would become of us?? would we leave this town? would we have dry clothes? would we run out of money and literally be stranded with no atm, no western union, no email, no ANYTHING. what would we do?!! feeling nervous, we fell asleep…
we woke up at 5am, and waited for the night watchman to knock about the truck. no knock. eventually i went to look for him in the dark… he was nowhere to be found. we sat in the room, and heard random trucks start their engines… any one of them could be ours and we would never know. all of a sudden… i urgently had to use the toilet. i did what i ad to do, and then remembered.. the toilet doesnâ€™t flush. the hotel had left us a bucket of water to flush the toilet with… but now it was empty, and there was no running water. uh-oh. so i just lowered the lid and walked out.
i went downstairs and eventually find a sleeping guard to ask for water. there was none anywhere. great.. the toilet would not be flushed. looks like the maid will have a very unpleasant surprise. i walked out into the street and after asking around, found out there was a bus to yabello at9am. 9AM!!! and we had woken up at 5am for nothing!!! i was so PISSED at the night watchman!!! grrr. so, we waited around in the room for a bit. eventually there was a problem. caryn was feeling unwell, and had to have an emergency bathroom visit too. doh!! but the toilet was already.. full. well, disgusting as it may be, she had to do what she had to do. now the toilet was double full… the maid would definitely not be pleased. but that’s what they get for not having water for us!!!
at 9am, we went out to the bus, where the guys tried to charge us 4 times the amount that the bus should have cost!! luckily, we knew what the correct price should be so we refused to pay extra. the bus ride was long as usual. it was also very winding, and soon everyone on the bus was puking. most people were able to puke out the window, but not everyone. of course, it being Ethiopia, everyone tried to keep the windows shut, despite the fact that people needed to throw up. unbelievable. and the whole way there, the bus blasted music as loud as they possibly could. nice.
as the bus drove on, we passed many many of these huge termite mounds. i cant believe that tiny termites can build these huge things! also, we kept passing by random tribal women walking down the road. i donâ€™t know why, but it seems like here it’s the women who do all the heavy lifting. you’ll see a group of people, and the 3 women will have HUGE bundles on their back so that they are straining to walk, but the men will be carrying nothing at all!! also, we passed by tons of flocks of sheep, goats, and cows that were being herded by little kids who frantically tried to get the livestock off the road before the bus got to them!!!
finally, we arrived in Yabello…
..to be continued…