Thursday, November 22, 2012

Back to Bora, Ethiopia Trip -- Day 7

In the light of day, the Longono Eco-Resort was quite beautiful.  The individual cabins were carefully nestled in the trees and undergrowth with walking trails connecting everything on the property.  I roamed around, checking out the elevated hippo viewing hut, the beach, and the rest.
Our Cabin, partially hidden in the natural surroundings.
I wished we were staying the entire day.  The resort was connected to a reserve with walking trails, horseback riding, and game watching.  There was swimming, boating, and even massages.
The beach at Longono
It,  however, was not to be.

I had an excellent breakfast in the restaurant, while watching a baboon skirt the dining area.  Soon we were off, heading north along the Great Rift Valley and heading for the town of Mojo (where he stopped for a bathroom/coke break) and then on to Addis.
A baboon at breakfast
We ate a late lunch at Island Breeze, a U.S. style restaurant serving burgers, Mexican food, and pizza -- a place I ended up visiting almost every time I've been to Ethiopia.  I figured by mid-afternoon the notoriously slow restaurant would be empty and faster than usual (which is anything but fast).

I didn't, however, account for the kid's birthday party.

Didn't even put two and two together when we pulled into the parking area and saw the bounce house.  The restaurant was packed, but it looked like the birthday group had already been served.  We sat down, ordered, and then waited ninety minutes before our food arrived -- a new personal record, I believe.

Well, we did get a slice of cake from the celebrant's family out of the deal, a gesture which I thought very kind.

We dropped in at the Addis Guesthouse to check in and shower, then walked to the Bier Garten to reconnect with the Medical Team before they left for the airport (they arrived two days before us, and were departing two days earlier).

The Bier Garten is a great place for twenty-seven people to get together.  It is large, with an upper room that always seems to be able to accommodate a large group.  And they brew their own beer.  German beer, brewed by real Germans -- a very nice oasis after a few days in the back country.

I had a beer, having practically just eaten at Island Breeze.  We share memories and contact info with the Medical Team, and soon they were off to the airport to check in for their flight home.

The Bier Garten has a tent located outside of the restaurant, which is the perfect place to drink another beer and watch some soccer on the large-screen TV's.  Jamie went downstairs to reserve a table for us, and upon his signal we all left for the tent.  I was the first to arrive. and was directed to the table with the "reserved" sign on it.  Just after I sat down, the controversy started...

A tall Teutonic-looking man rushed to the table, claiming we had taken his table, the one reserved for his group.  As far as I knew, he could be right, but I did protest that we'd been directed here by the wait staff.  Then he turned on the wait staff and began to loudly berate them.

Armin, one of the members of our group, didn't like that one bit.  The whole picture appeared to be racist, this tall European poking his finger in the chest of a couple short Ethiopians and shouting.

I hadn't mentioned before, but Armin is a big guy.  Tall, and a former college linebacker who has carried on with weightlifting for many years.  He stood toe-to-toe with the man, and the argument quickly became loud.  I thought it might come to blows.

Dan and Jamie jumped in, as did Dawit.  There was a bit more of an exchange of words, but we abandoned the table, and sat down at one nearby.  Armin was still a little hot over the exchange, but to his credit, he had a beer and chatted with us, only occasionally looking over his shoulder at the other man.  The jerk seemed to be having some problems getting the rest of his group to come into the tent (go figure).

I thought it was all over, when the man approached our table, intending to say something.  He barely got three words out before Armin was on his feet, a fist clenched and ready to knock the guy flat.

Dan moved quickly, taking the man outside.  I don't know exactly what was said, but the guy never returned.  That was good, as I was beginning to contemplate Armin spending the night in an Ethiopian jail.  And maybe the rest of us doing the same, for good measure.

In a short time, the beers were finished.  We moved on to the inaccurately named "Piano Bar" next.  There is no Piano, although there is a bar.  The place featured live performances of popular Ethiopian tunes by a line-up of four or five singers.  In a tip of the hat, one even sang some old songs rock tunes in English.  It was loud and fun, but I was just about out of gas.  When we returned to the Addis guesthouse, I decided to go to bed while several of the others in the group went out to hit a couple of nightclubs.

I knew the next day would be a relaxed day of touring Addis, and was quickly asleep, anticipating new and interesting experiences.

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