Hey everyone, sorry for the lapse in blogs…
We have both been busy and preoccupied, Katie is really stressed with work deadlines and internet problems plus her wallet was lost or stolen last week (fun times).
Sadly I’ve retired from the Ethio-furniture biz so as to one day return to the U.S. with all of my fingers and most of my sanity.
I leave for London via Dubai on August 15. I am visiting my dad step-mom and sister there, all of whom are on their way to Addis from N.Y.C.. Once in Ethiopia we are going on yet another family tour of the north as well as Lake Langano.
I (Luke) have just started helping out at a cool company that produces pottery, clay lamps, and custom wood and steel furniture. The company is owned by a new friend of mine, Fidel. He is an Ethio-Kenyan chap about my age who was schooled in England. His hobbies include playing polo twice a week and modfying his classic Range Rover 4×4’s for safari.
Things are going well so far, however some of the machinery is a bit outmoded and a little dangerous. I am the only ferengi (foreigner) and communicating with the other employees can sometimes be a little tricky, but I am having a good time.
On the final morning of the lake Langano we woke to a wet morning, it had been steadily raining all night (we were wondering about the how flooded the road out would be).
We had a nice beakfast, packed up settled our hefty bill and took off. We forded one massive mud puddle and thought that was the biggest until we came to the next one that had literally become a pond by that point (we were all a little freaked out, the Suzuki Vitara had virtually the ground clearance of a Toyota Corolla). I had the vehicle in 4wheel low and the traction control on, we wound up and charged water with the windsheld wipers on and all the windows up. We were moving pretty well, fishtailing a little and then all of a sudden we started to bog down and almost completely stopped, by some miracle of Japanese ingenuity we keep moving and made it out, I was totally astounded and relieved. Next time we’ll take a Toyota Land Cruiser or something.
open-air dining at bishangari lodge
This morning we awoke in our eco hut to the sound of thousands of birds…and raindrops! We spent a leisurely morning reading our books, drinking coffee, and watching the family of baboons that were snacking on the grasses in front of the open-air restaurant.
The rain cleared up mid-morning and we set out on a trek through the surrounding forest and along the lake shore. We saw hundreds of birds, more warthogs, monkeys, and even a hippo!
After Lisa, Kathy, and Luke returned from Lalibela, we spent an evening in Addis and then all headed down to Lake Langano early the next morning.
Luke rented a Suzuki Vittaro for the trip (much to Bluebell’s relief). It took us nearly an hour just to get out of Addis! There are only a few roads out of the city and they are always clogged with trucks, cars, people, cows, etc. We were all glad when the road (and the air!) finally cleared. After driving about 250 kilometers, we turned off the paved main road and drove for another 20k on the dirt road. This was not just any dirt road, however. This dirt road had several big mud puddles that almost bogged down the Suzuki, despite the 4WD! Thanks to Luke’s driving skills we pulled through and arrived Bishangari Lodge safe and sound. At the lodge we were greeted by peace, quiet…and a warthog family!
We spent the evening wading in Lake Langano (which is clean and parasite-free due to volcanic minerals) and relaxing.
Lisa, Luke, and Kathy in Lalibela
Apologies for the looong delay in posting! We have several excuses (work deadlines, no power, slow internet connection), but we are now back on track and will be posting again regularly. We also added some photos to previous posts, so check ’em out!
We just finished up a great week with Luke’s mother (Kathy) and aunt (Lisa). They were here visiting from NYC and DC.
Their trip was an adventure from the start! Lisa’s flight out of DC was cancelled, so her arrival was delayed by a day. She finally arrived in Addis only to find that her suitcase was stuck in London! But that didn’t slow things down a bit. Luke had already booked flights for the three of them to Lalibela, so they flew up there just hours after Lisa arrived.
They had a wonderful time in Lalibela seeing the sites, but their flight back to Addis was also cancelled! Lalibela is not a bad place to be stuck, however, so they spent an extra night there hanging out and relaxing.
Just now, at 3:30pm Saturday here in Addis, I witnessed the most incredible hail storm I’ve ever seen! I had to pull the Bug over and hide it against the side of a large building, while huge golf ball-sized hail pounded everything around me.
As the hail slowed I pulled away. When I got to one street I had to ford twenty inches of water in the Bug. I just kept Bluebell in first gear and gunned it the whole way hoping not to stall. Water came in through the floor and hood all around my feet, but she made it! Pretty exciting.
My Mom is supposed to arrive tomorrow at 1:20am and my Aunt who was supposed to meet her in London and arrive with her in Addis, is stuck in D.C.’s airport (major bummer). Hopefully it will all work out.