It seems the entire town of Lalibela was out looking for me yesterday.
I put the first few shouts and demands for a ‘100 birr penalty’ down to the usual touts but no. It seems someone ordered a hotel employee to meet me at the airport. I’m not quite sure why since I was coming in by bus from Bahir Dar and at no point mentioned flights-to anyone!
Perhaps they read an earlier post on I, Ferrangi and misunderstood?
I hope not, lots of potential to misunderstand! Talking of, I’m currently sat in a café eating ‘Franch Taoast’
It’s quite tasty, Ethiopia (or Lalibela in particular) has invented a new form of oversweetened doughnut. I shouldn’t be surprised really. This town even has a variation on the injera, something called ‘Kita’ a spongier, more ‘crumpetty’ and less spicy version of.
But yes, potential misunderstandings. Some guy who hangs around the hotel (Tout? Guide? Owner?) started asking me about the Rock Churches (one of the Wonders of the World alongside Teddy Afro’s popularity) I mentioned I’d wanted to do them this morning but my card wasn’t working in the ATMS so I’d had to wait until the bank opened and that I wanted to see them early morning to avoid the other three tourists in town.
He sniffed, gave me the sort of look reserved for a gay, Teddy Afro hating Eritrean, waved a hand at me and stamped out.
After over a month of being used in Poland and Ethiopia with no problems (aside from that one time in Harar but I think that was the machine) my visa debit card has decided not to cooperate. Fantastic at 6am in an African village when you need $50 for an admission fee.
I have no idea why and I hope it fixes itself before New York in August but for now I’ve resigned myself to meeting the African banking system face on.
Perhaps one of the three banks (I won’t name it) in the village has especially good confidence in the guy wearing fatigues and holding a machine gun outside as I was invited around, behind the counter and invited to sit, well within grabbing distance of some open drawers containing the entire town’s cash (probably about $20) The bank teller (or local/regular, see ‘Baffle’ post) casually asked me if I was enjoying Lalibela and did I need a guide? It seems he’s also a student who could do with me buying him a book…
Eventually after multiple form filling and more stamps than a Ukrainian Government office I got my 3900 birr (100 commission)
“I help you well my friend! Do you have a tip?”
Not allowing random Ferrangi near the cash perhaps?