Bahir Dar on Laka Tana is touted as the Riviera of Ethiopia. Memories flooded back to me of drinking a glass of red wine on my terrazo in Lerici and then falling asleep to the lapping of waves on the shore. The TdA version of that dream was sipping Ethiopian Gin (60 birr = almost $4 per bottle) and Pineapple juice out of waterbottles and pitching my tent on the third floor terrace of a hotel next to 15 of my closest friends’ tents:)
The Tda version also included our first costume party with the theme “WHERE ARE YOU GO?” (the famous line shouted by all the Ethipian children – second only to “YOU, YOU, YOU”). Tori lent me a beautiful burka that she bought in Edfu, Egypt. The moment I slipped it over my head, I felt sooo elegant – like a proper lady. Any “logical/intellectual/rational” thought or perspective I previously had about women being covered up disappeared. In its place was a feeling that given the choice, in some countries, I too would chose to wear the full coverings…Back to the party though – super creative costumes (given we had what was in our bags or bought in the market) by many included: little bo peep, tribesman with canes, a tuxedo, a cross-dresser, cocktail dress ladies (a miracle considering what the market offered!), 70s sports figures, boas, and boomerangs. Great dancing, great music, and great fun!
Despite the late night, we were up early the next mornign for macchiatos and fruit smoothies before a group of us took boats out to an island in the middle of Lake Tana where we saw 16th century Ethiopian Christian Monastaries (with beautifully colorful paintings over clothe stretched on the circular walls), and island communities that survive from fishing out of their grass woven canoes. The flora and fauna were so diverse – my favorites were the HUGE pelicans. In the afternoon, we drove out to the Blue Nile Falls – gorgeous water falls with animals roaming the prairie in the background. Even my recurrance of the tummy bug and being shoved over by a donkey couldn’t take away from the experience… it was one of those moments when I had to pinch myself and say “I am in Arica!”.