I’d given up on getting served anyway.
I’m in the hotel restaurant and have been for over an hour.
The owner’s son is really nice but he’s a hopeless waiter even by my standards. (I’ve had 5 waiting jobs, 4 in the Shetland Islands and one in a luxury yachting resort in South Devon and been sacked within a week from each)
It’s a cultural thing (probably) but it irritates me how if someone in a café, restaurant or bar doesn’t understand, instead of simply saying so they either avoid eye contact and wander off or giggle before wandering off. Either way they wander off.
During their subsequent wandering they might possibly tell a colleague the Ferrangi is making incomprehensible noises again.
I like the Winta Hotel. Ok, the toilet leaks, the shower is a trickle and the internet is appalling (as everywhere else in this country) but the room is cosy and there’s an amazing view from the balcony.
It’s nice to return to a comfortable room following a frustrating afternoon trying to book a bus out on Sunday. I finally found the Selam Bus office, paying a bajaji driver and his friend far too much. I’d been passing it. It’s not an ‘Office’, it’s a ‘Window’ which explains why I’d been unlucky so far.
Actually, I wanted the Skybus ticket booth. Skybus is a step up from Selam and I’m keen to try it. Alas. Seems there is no Skybus office here anymore. One little room saying ‘Sky Bus Affiliate’ but it was a lie, it was Falcon Bus using the superior company’s name and logo (Welcome to the country where Wilmart and Strawbucks operate happily…) Falcon also go to Addis Ababa. At least they were supposed to.
“For Sunday?” (very unlikely, in Ethiopia, you usually book just the day before and it was Thursday)
I decided to try Selam’s shack around the corner.
I had two options:
1.Hit the bus station at 5am and try to get a chicken bus to Addis. It’d be cheap but with no Amharic or clear information anywhere it’d be one hell of a risk. Still the locals are generally pretty helpful and even more so at the sight of a wad of Birr.
2.Try to get a flight, I have a whopping 50% discount thanks to my lovely friends at Ethiopian Airlines but it would still entail another trek across the desert to Dire Dumpwa, stepping over the myriad of rotting corpses lining that city’s streets and attempting to get to the airport without being ripped off by too much.
I hit the Ethi Airlines site. There was one seat left and an Ethiopian internet connection. This would be fun….
The flight was coming in at £49 with my discount (the 10 hour bus journey would’ve been about £12) and it was a convenient 17:00 meaning I’d have to be at the airport for about 3pm. Doable unless transport here shuts down on a Sunday and assuming not too much nonsense in Dire Dawa.
I stuck my bank details in….
The connection was fading…
VERIFIED BY VISA….
“Congratulations! You have successfully booked!”
The connection died.