Day 76 –
L: Things were going so well in our little bungalow until this morning – now there is no warm water and the toilet doesn’t flush…….
Steve got a key for another suite in the hotel and we packed up everything and lugged it across to the new room. This one has 2 single beds, but a lovely warm shower. We are amazed that for the prices charged in this hotel, how run down it is – windows that don’t open, plumbing that doesn’t work or the fittings that are lopsided or falling off the walls. But it is our little garden sanctuary.
S: After breakfast, we left for the Sudanese Embassy. We were going to walk the 3kms, but I thought better of that when I saw that it was drizzling. Well, wouldn’t you know it – when we finally found the address, it was a building site and the embassy had moved to the next street.
Second try and there it is, but with “no parking” signs all around. The armed guard said, in his broken English, that we could park where the no parking signs were and that he would watch the car for us, oh and, by the way, the office only opens at 10am, so we wait……
L: Finally inside, jammed into the reception area with about a dozen other people pushing and shoving. We had to hand in our bags and cell phones and then we were shown to another room. I needed the bathroom and came back feeling ugh after seeing that!! When we eventually managed to understand someone, we discovered that we had to have a visa for the following country, Jordan, to show that we were going to get out of Sudan. (Not to be confused with South Sudan – which is a separate country, which we are avoiding, before anyone gets worried).
S: So, that was a waste of time. Good job that we had not walked after all as now we drove further into town to find the Ethiopian Insurance building and I left Lesley in the car while I went to try to arrange third party insurance for us as we had been driving without any as no-one could assist us out of Addis.
It took a while (L: and a lot of people touching the car and harassing me), but I was really fortunate to be able to get a Comesa for 278-22 Birr which is to cover any third party claim that may arise in Ethiopia as well as in Sudan and further insurance for 689 Birr which is compulsory insurance to cover us in Ethiopia which is valid for a year.
We decided to head back to the hotel to regroup and plan our next step. We had rented another SIM card as the other was reportedly too new and couldn’t access the internet. Lesley suggested that we went to the Chinese Bar and Restaurant for some lunch while we planned.
L: I am really sorry that I did – my spring rolls were floury and stodgy and Steve’s “crispy” pork ribs had gone from crispy to crispier and stopped at crispiest!!! and looked like bullets. The small little cup of coffe would sure keep him awake as it was so strong. Ok, so maybe Chinese is not made in Ethiopia. Sorry, Dear.
S: Back at the hotel, in the foyer as our room didn’t get a very good signal, I went through everything we needed to organise a Jordanian visa. We had decided, this time, to use a visa company to organise it which costs R713 each and we still have to courier it there and back. They also quoted more than R2 000 each to do the Sudanesian visa, but we are hoping that we can get that here, ourselves, when we have a Jordanian visa in our hands.
The reason that we did not get these before we left home was that there was a time limit on each and they could expire before we reached each country.
L: I was feeling really frustrated at being “stalled” again and went into the gardens to eat worms, or photograph the birds doing that anyway. It was lovely, but I had not had a good day and we both felt claustrophobic in this new room as the balcony door does not open, the TV does not work and no internet signal, oh and single beds. We feel that we are paying enough, even at the lower rate to expect a bit better.
Steve went to ask reception if there was another bungalow or if the old one was repaired so that we could have a bit more of an outlook and also have the car close by so that we can plug the fridge into mains as we are not driving much which usually charges the second battery.
S: They were very accommodating and I went to check plumbing and warm water, TVs etc at three bungalows before finding one in reasonable repair.
L: So we “trekked” again. At least we are moving in some direction, ha ha. Ok, this is nice. A bit shabby, but clean and this one has a separate lounge area with good Wi-Fi signal.
S: Supper in the hotel was not too good. I had pork chops and a few chips, which were an interesting charcoal colour. L: My French onion soup was tasty with melted cheese on top. but the pilaf rice with curry sauce was cold, (I got them to reheat it) and bland. Over it.
Steve watched a movie and it was great as I was able to close the lounge door and go to sleep in silence in the very dark and warm room, zzzzzzzz.
Day 77 – Thinking of you, Duncan and Charles, on your birthdays. Blessings :-))
L: That moment when you wake up to the pouring rain and realise that you are between four walls and won’t have the rain drip down your back when you climb down the ladder…….yay!!
Don’t you just hate it when the rain drips on your lip, Heather?
S: We have been warned that if we delay too long in Ethiopia, we will be in the real rainy season where some of the roads become impassable so please DHL, hurry up with our parcel and let’s get these visas.
Breakfast was a little better this morning, yesterday the boiled eggs and reheated toast all seemed a bit cardboardy. We are thinking that if we are going to be stuck here for another week that we need something a bit more within our budget, but comfortable with tasty food. L: May I remind you, this is Africa, Steve…….
L: We have handed in a load of washing as we have nowhere to wash it or dry it, in the hotel. It is pricey, but will be nice not to have to slog over it.
Steve is researching hotels while I type the blog and listen for the many feathered friends outside our room. The advantage of this place is that we can park the car outside and have everything accessible. The grounds are also huge so we can walk around. Hopefully we can negotiate a lower rate to stay longer.
S: We drove down town, through all the chaos of the road works and railway track being fitted to find the pink palace, Dessie Hotel. When we found it, it was faded to yellow and the area around it looks very poor. Inside, we were amazed – the rooms are lovely with ornate curtaining and bedding, a desk, armchairs, TV and bar fridge. The prices range from $45 to $70 and all are en-suite.
L: We decided to have lunch in the basement restaurant and were treated to a feast. Steve’s 6 slice Club sandwich with a huge plate of hot chips was delicious and far too much to finish. My pepper steak, rice and veg was a treat and reminded me of how much I miss braaing. Lunch with drinks was less than 250 Birr (R135).
S: The only problem is that you have to park in the street, though there is security. On our way out, the receptionist said that we could park in the entrance to the hotel and that there is security there, 24 hours a day. They have all their beers and cool drinks in fridges outside too.
L: Back home and we see that our parcel is only in Nairobi, Kenya so far……..
Steve came with me for a walk in the huge hotel grounds. Right at the bottom of the hill, we were told that we could not go into the wooded area. We told them that we are staying in the hotel and it says Ghion Hotel Gardens there. Steve showed them our key. We were allowed in. Later a security guard told us that we need to give him money to take photos. We told him that he was dreaming…….
We went up to the tea-room and had a coffee and waited to see the Front Office Manager as we had decided that we would really prefer to wait here for our visas if we could negotiate a similar rate to that of the other hotel. We had a very pleasant chat and he asked us to put our request in writing so that he could consult with his boss, the General Manager. So now we wait for that decision or we will be moving to the cheaper hotel. Breakfast is included in each price, but we still need to have lunch and supper each day and we want to keep within our budget.
We pottered around and watched a bit of TV, it is quite chilly here at the moment. We tidied the car and then brought some of our kitchen things in so that we could make tea and cheese and biscuits for supper. It was good to have our own food and we ended with tinned peaches for dessert.
Oh, and the visa request is still in Nairobi…….