Party Like It's 1999

Trip Start May 30, 2005
1
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Trip End Sep 30, 2006


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Flag of Ethiopia  ,
Monday, September 11, 2006

Gondor is an old Ethiopian town famed for its castles. So, being from Scotland, maybe it wasn't the best place to visit! Sure, the castles were nice, but I didn't really find myself being overly struck by them.

However, while I was in Gondor Ethiopia celebrated its new year, 1999. honestly I'm not kidding. The ethiopian year is split into twelve months, each one is 30 days long. They then have a thirteenth month of 5 or 6 days (depending on leap years) and then celbrate the New Year (Which is September the 11th according to our western calendar).

I could feel the atmosphere building in town in the days leading up to the celebration. A number of goat and sheep sellers would congregate outside my hotel and do a brisk trade with locals looking for their special New Year meal.

Another tradition of the New Year is to spread fresh grass on the floor of your house. It also forms part of the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony. The idea is that you bring nature inside your home to get closer to it. Despite the slip hazard that it creates, it's remarkably nice.

Again I had trouble leaving town. The next bus trip was another long one. I had the ticket, and was ready to leave the next day. I was in bed by 9pm, for my 5am rise. But could I sleep? Nope. I don't know why, but I just couldn't drop off to sleep. I was still wide awake at 1am, so I watched a film, "The Four Feathers" with Heath Ledger, then regretted my decition to watch it! I did eventually drop off, not very long before my alarm went off. I felt absolutely terrible, so I stayed in bed and headed off to sleep again. There was no way I was getting on the bus today.

I really am having problems in Ethiopia with my motivation. I'm supposed to be enjoying myself but the long bus journies are overshadowing my trip. The only way I could solve this, is to start flying. Ethiopian Airlines have a really great domestic service. Each flight costs about 100 US Dollars, but would save days on a bus. I left the offices a much happier man! I was so happy that I even managed to get down to the bus station, buy another ticket for the next day and actually get up in time to get on the bus! I was off again.
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