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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

LLI ==> ADD ==> Road trip to Lake Langano and a poor decision

Itinerary - Day 12: Lalibela - Addis Ababa - Lake Langano
After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. Upon arrival you will be met by your driver for the drive to Langano, part of the Great Ethiopian Rift Valley. where there are chains of beautiful lakes. These lakes are famous for their abundant bird life and local fish markets. Driving from Addis to Langano, en-route you will visit different towns and rift valley lakes including, Zway, Debrezeit and Mojo. You will also visit: Lake Zway and Abijata Shalla before you reach Langano.  After check in to the lake side Bishangari Lodge, at Langano, the rest of the day you have the choice to relax around the lake or trek on the top of the hill surrounding the lake to enjoy the beautiful scenery across.

Journal: Today is an inflection day in our tour. We have completed our tour of the North, and begin our tour of Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley. Thus far our tour transpired in the highlands, weather was temperate, and the focus was on history, ancient churches, monasteries and spectacular vistas. As Yohanes says - the south is a different country. We are expecting hot and dry and a greater focus on the peoples and culture of the Omo Valley.

We are back on an Ethiopian Air Bombardier Q400 and flying from Lalibela to Addis Ababa. Alxe meets us at the airport and we begin the long 250 km drive south.  The guys know it's a long haul, and recommend we defer some of the items in the itinerary until we make the return drive to Addis a week hence.  Sounds good to us.  After lunch, we hit the road.

The drive to Lake Langano
 So without much sight seeing, and not much point in again focusing on The Road, we'll use this post to discuss another topic that is always of interest to me. Food.

Coffee ceremony and fresh greens at a roadside stand on the road to Bishingari
I was a little worried after yesterday's binge of local food, some consumed under less than sanitary condition.  Basically I ate everything that was put in front of me, in every location throughout the day, including: injara cooked on an open fire in a traditional thatched home, fresh locally brewed fermented ale, a home cooked Ethiopian feast, honey beer, a couple of coffee ceremonies, and shots of Ethiopian white whiskey. Basically I broke every rule we've made for ourselves about consuming food and drink in a 3rd world country. And the consequences? No problems whatsoever. 

After landing at Addis, we stop at Passion Burger - just outside of the airport for lunch. A burger sounds good to both Sigrid and me so...

Passion Burger
Note the mayonnaise and fresh lettuce, tomato, and onions. Even as I eat this, it occurs to me that if this was our first day arrival in Addis Ababa instead of our 12th day in country, I never would have consumed it.  The rule is to eat nothing that is not cooked or peeled. Particularly immediately before a long drive. And the consequences of eating the burger? No problem whatsoever.

Bishingari Tree House Bar
 Bishigari Lodge  is a very nice resort on the shore of Lake Langano. We arrive in time for dinner.

Toasts and dinner in Bishingari
During the long drive, we discussed a variety of topics, including our two previous trips to Africa. Sigrid explains that over the entire 8+ weeks that we've traveled in Africa to date, neither of us had ever gotten sick.  Not once. What is that proverb?... something about:  Pride goes before the fall?

This was the menu of the day. See that avocado salad on the menu? It was avocado, tomato, and onion with a light dressing.  It was fresh, it looked great, and it was delicious. Avocados are peeled. Onions are peeled. Tomatoes are not.

That's what got us.

Editiors Note: I intend to pre-load and schedule automated blog posts with the daily itinerary for our Ethiopian adventure. For those interested, this may be an easy way to follow along. Since we will not have internet access for most of the trip, my hope is this will make it easier to add some pics and journal commentary if and when we run across an internet connection. If there are no pics or commentary, you'll just have to wait until we get back. We'll see how it goes. UPDATED

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