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Monday, Lalibela to Diri Dawa and Harar

Harar, Ethiopia
Monday, October 7, 2019
I had breakfast and checked out of the hotel by 08:00. The airport shuttle was a little late arriving and then we had to go pick up two more groups of locals. We got to the airport at 09:00 and by the time I got through both securities, the flight was boarding. I tried to check my big backpack but they said it was better if I carried it since I was changing flights in Addis to Dire Dawa. That was a good idea since I probably would have never seen it again.

Both flights were smooth and on time. In Dire Dawa, I took a taxi to the bus station and caught a minivan to Harar. The first minivan went to another bus station and made me switch to a different minivan. The second minivan couldn't leave the bus station because a group of about 10 angry guys came over and started yelling at the driver. They had a big fight so I got out of that minivan and found another one. The third minivan finally left and got out of the bus station and we were on our way. The drive took about two hours because of all of the stops and starts. Some of the little villages along the way were packed with people so it was hard to get through them on the main road.

We finally got to Harar and I saw what I thought was my hotel and jumped out of the minivan. It turned out to be the wrong hotel but with the same name. I caught a tuktuk to the map location of the real hotel but, of course, the map location was totally wrong. The tuktuk driver was able to call the guesthouse and they gave him directions. He dropped me off and I walked down some back alleys and finally a school kid showed me where it was.

The family run Rewda Guesthouse was okay except that they didn't have a room for me, just a big bed in a large open seating area in front of another room. I left my bags locked in a closet and went for lunch at a place called Fresh Touch. Next to the restaurant was a big hotel called Sumeya so I went in and got a room for 24 USD. I went back to the guesthouse and got my stuff. The old lady didn't say anything but later when I tried to cancel the reservation they wouldn't let me do it free of charge. Surely they thought that they had provided the private room that I had booked.

Back at the Sumeya Hotel, I found out that they only had electricity when they used the generator. It's a problem with only a small area of the city since the surrounding areas all had electricity. The only problem was that when the hotel turned on the generator my room smelled strongly of exhaust so I was hoping not to die of asphyxiation overnight.


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