Day 32 - Bahar Dar

Trip Start Aug 07, 2007
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Trip End Nov 07, 2007


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Friday, September 7, 2007

Number of Times Mistaken for Jewish: Countless

I'm well behind in my blogging now so just a v quick one....

A quick story about the stat above: I am apparently Jewish. Or the idea of Jewish that Ethiopians have, which may be based on their relatively large Jewish population (Felasha) that all left for Israel about 40 years ago.  One incident stuck in my mind.  Walking down the street a bloke started yelling from the other side of the street "Jew man! Jew man!  Are you a Jew man?", I replied in the negative and he said "oh no!  I need a Jew person!".  I am now quite disappointed that I didn't bother to ask why an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian in Bahar Dar would be in desperate need of a Jew at 6pm on Sunday.

A few clicks South of Bahar Dar there is the most ancient and sacred of all the monasteries in Ethiopia: Debre Libanos.  I thought a visit was in order.  Only it was rebuilt in 1961.  Still quite nice.  Also on the way is 40km of construction that passes through the Blue Nile Gorge.  My first sighting of the river.  V picturesque, if it weren't for the diggers and constant fear of death.
Bahir (Bahar) Dar means 'watery place'.  It is on the shores of Lake Tana so is well named.  It is a relatively large town with those nice wide streets, this time lined with palm trees.  Best of all it rains much less than further south and restricts itself to the evenings and night time.  How very civilized.  




I spent three days not doing much here.  All very relaxing.  The two main attractions are the Blue Nile Waterfalls (Tis Abay - 'smoke that rises' or something similar).  They are pretty impressive considering the source of the (blue) nile is only 30km away in Lake Tana.  The other attraction is the monestaries on the islands of Lake Tana.  There are a shed-load of them and thery are all pretty much the same.  They are all round, have either have old or very new paintings of biblical scenes, a copy of the ark of the covenant, several dozen monks, and a high entry price.  It is a pleasant boat ride to the islands and, aside from the normal tout hassles, a thoroughly enjoyable morning out.
















I was here from the start of the world cup.  I had cased out a posh hotel that had South african DSTV and had asked if I could watch the rugby the following day (England's opener).  No prblem they said until I walked into the bar the next day to find a whole load of round-ball fans watching the Euro-bloody-qualifier against mighty Israel.  Nothing really changes from country to country I guess.
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