I love Bahir Dar but that was cheeky!
I was sat outside Hani Juice, working on a job application and enjoying a ‘Special Juice’ (an Esprit everywhere else) when a man in a bright bow-tie, looking like a refugee from one of those horrifically racist 1950s films sat opposite me.
He started talking. The usual, “Where are you from? What is your name?” etc.
He launched into a potted history of the Italian occupation during the 1930s and I “mmm’d” politely, concentrating on my application. After about half an hour he rose, said goodbye and left.
I carried on working.
A bill was slapped down in front of me.
Alongside my ‘Special Juice’ it seems I bought Bow-Tie two Macchiatos and a Papaya Shake.
How kind of me! My generosity knows no bounds.
Walking along the main road, I spotted the fish café Nati had recommended. No English menu, just Amharic. The Waitress rattled off some items with me catching only the word ‘Dulet’
I’ve been avoiding this until now, as far I’m aware Dulet is a grisly mix of innards and tripe.
So unless I’m entirely on the wrong track I’m about to get a plate of injera with some fish organs on it.
There’s a delicious smell coming through the broken window being used as a serving hatch though!
It seems I’ve signed up to a Lake Monastery tour tomorrow. My tout radar was temporarily down, waiting on a coffee at the little café on the jetty.
Well, I’ve given someone 100 birr anyway. Apparently after my coffee I’m going to the ATM to withdraw the remaining 250.
I’ve been in Ethiopia long enough to not be massively surprised when the price rose to 550.
I was offered a small discount if I rip Nati off, out of his commission but given that I’ll be staying with him again the week after next and he’s a genuinely nice bloke, I didn’t think it was very wise.
Basically I’ve paid 650 in total for a boat ride to the Lake Monasteries (entrance extra, direct to the priests)
I wasn’t even surprised when a friend of the tout handed me a phone with “Here is Nati!”
Nati assured me it was all ok and good value. Maybe it was the Ethiopian phone signal or perhaps Nati was being strangled at the time of the call as he sounded strangely high pitched and not at all how he usually does.
Returning and spotting Nati fast asleep under a mango tree, I considered mentioning the phone conversation we’d just had but there’s no point confusing things.
Bahir Dar troubles me in this way.
I can cope with touts screaming at me as they do in the rest of the country but I’m not quite sure how to handle it when they sit next to me and engage in conversation, apparently knowing not only the exact place I’m staying but also my name!
The tour (which was originally 350 and leaving from directly outside my accommodation at 09:00) leaves at 08:30 from outside a petrol station on the edge of town. I’ll put it down to a language barrier.
EDIT: Nati just asked if I’ve considered doing a tour of the Lake Monasteries. Well, yes as it happens!