Posts Tagged ‘Visa’

Visas arranged, we are in transit

March 11, 2010

Four days have past in Ethiopia, and my travel partner and I are at the airport on our way to Djibouti City, Djibouti. Addis is a great city! However we spent most of the last four days taking care of logistics. We had to get visas from the Somaliland liason office and we managed to tweak our schedule enough to accomodate an extra country: Yemen. I am so excited to see Sana’a, Yemen. It has been on my wish list for some time now, and since we are here on the horn of Africa, it just makes sense to get it out of the way now. The Somaliland visa took exactly 11 minutes. Those eleven minutes also included an interview with the consular general who explained that Somaliland was the safest place on earth, and that we wouldn’t have any problems. It is important to know that he does have a horse in this race. The Yemen visa was a series of jumping through hoops to make the visa agent comfortable with us. First we had to go obtain a letter from our embassy that recognized and applauded the Republic of Yemen, then we had to change $27 (no more, no less) from USD to Ethiopian Birr and obtain a receipt. Then we had to come back between the hours of 12:00 and 1:30 and leave our passports. Twenty-seven dollars. This would make some sense if $27 was the price of the visa, but no, not even close.

So now we are at the airport on our way to the “hottest city on earth.” Unfortunately they are not talking about the club scene. It is just really hot. One thing that I forgot to mention about Addis Ababa – the elevation. Addis sits at over 8,000 ft. That is almost twice the elevation of Denver. The lack of oxygen when you leave the airplane is no joke. We have both been wheezing around Addis like 70 year old smokers. That’s all for now, we’ll see how Djibouti goes.

Addis Ababa has a lot of taste, and little gluten

March 10, 2010

Just reaching the end of the second day of Ethiopian travel/cuisine. I am really impressed with both so far. The people are truly wonderful. It’s great to be in a country where people are smiling. I have finished the visa gathering process for Somaliland (it was really easy actually – 11 minutes/$40 to be exact). After reviewing the itinerary, the plan has changed slightly. The plan is to go to Somaliland via the Jubba Airways flight and to hire a land cruiser to drive back to Addis. From Addis, there will be a little extra time, so a detour to Yemen is needed. I’ll be flying into Sana’a on the morning of the 17th, and returning on the evening of the 19th. The Yemeni visa situation (which is quite a pain) was taken care of today and I will pick my passport tomorrow. This leaves one more day of soaking up everything Addis has to offer and catching my flight to Djibouti City the day after tomorrow. One thing that I didn’t realize, Ethiopians fast for a little over a month prior to Easter. It’s sort of like a Christian version of Ramadan, however they can only eat vegetables instead of waiting for sundown. The vegetable dishes have been amazing though. Pictures to follow for sure, but take my word for it, they are like nothing you have ever seen! A helpful phrase in Amharic for the gluten free travelers: Sende na besso yamenyal. Meblat alchelem (Wheat and Barley – I can’t eat. It makes me sick).

UPDATE: New pictures below…