Leaving Yabello , I had been warned that the road all the way up to Hawassa was under construction , so I was up early to get a good start . I rode to the fuel station next to the motel , they were out , then across the road to join the ever growing queue for petrol , there must have been over 100 plastic containers lined up and around 20 tuk- tuks and motorcycles in front of me , so I joined the line . The pump was only to open after 8 , being a faranji has its advantages , more so a faranji on a scooter , we made many friends who took it apon themselves to take me to the front of the queue , so as the pump came to an unconvincing life , Vic and I filled tank and container and headed out .
The road works started in town as did our nine hour journey to cover the 300 kilometres up to Hawassa . The price of progress the inconvenience and road trauma . Those who take this route in years to come will find a very different Northern Kenya and a silky drive to Addis , in many ways sad , the time on the scooter though hard and slow allows you to see and feel so much . The lives who live here , touch you as you pass and sprinkle a little of their magic dust for you to carry in heart and mind as one journey’s on . Speed and comfort the tar will bring.
What is astounding about Ethiopia is how fast the landscape changes and within such short distances , from that harsh dry world just a couple of hundred kilometres back to the beauty and immense greenery as we started or climb in to the highlands.
So the ride became more and more beautiful , with mountains , valleys and lush landscape ,villages abundant with produce , camels left for horses , dust became mud , hot turned cool and the rain came in.
The scenery richer , greener , the people fill the road with their daily lives , transporting , walking , talking , soccer played roadside , pool tables of a different Africa traded for table tennis , the excitement and screams that never cease as you ride ever so carefully and slowly through the mountains.
The ride up to Dilla took me to afternoon , the busy life along the road , the road conditions and the You , You , faranji screams were making for an exhausting day .
Finally Dilla emerged out of the mist and rain , it had been a hard long ride to get here , I found fuel for Vic and coffee for me . I sat in one of Dilla’s café s savouring every sip , looking across at Victoria on the pavement attracting all the attention , thinking to myself , we thought hell road would be the last for us , yet here we go again , now just wet and muddy with 100 kilometres to go .
Ethiopia was starting to reveal herself ever so slowly , so dramatically different to the Africa I have travelled , a new door has opened for me , both daunting and exciting , it was the first time while travelling that the barrier to communicate had grown so , even ordering my coffee took me to the guide book to stammer out the Amharic words buna watat .
The rest of the day got me to Hawassa , exhausted , road fatigued and so grateful to this damn fine scooter for getting us here , through the rain , those mountain passes where the tar had slide downhill to form ruts and folds that shook us and slowed our progress to a crawl .
As I rode into this beautiful town I knew I had to take a few days to recover from the last 5 days , the haven of Hawassa was to prove just what I needed .
Welcome to Hawassa , Palm fringed , wide avenues , the lake and that holiday feeling my mind jumped back to my coffee and cake days in Swakopmund . I had to try a few hotels before finding a room in this busteling town , finally we set our wheels down at Ker – Awud international the hotel that glitters from within and out . Unpaked I tucked into a superbly spicy Ethiopian yefigel tibs , and injera , yes you guessed delicious goat .
Lazy walks alongside the lake , breakfasts that last till 10 , coffee , and a little wine to help pass the time , a hard comfortable matrass on which to lay my head , so my time has been hanging out in Hawassa ,
I spent the day wondering the streets , getting Victoria cleaned again , fuelled up and ready to ride we both will be in a day or so .
Ethiopia a island of culture , life and language surrounded by a continent we call Africa .
Until we meet again.