It seems that since leaving Kenya a scant week ago, I’ve been on the run. And after a couple day of riding through the both verdant hills and semi-arid deserts landscaped pocked with people sporting gleaming smiles evoking a contentment that would be hard to contemplate back home where our lives are sped up and constantly in fast-forward due to the pressures of work and family life and the self-induced demands brought about due to our fascination and addiction to technology. But here in Ethiopia the pace of life slows and moves gracefully like the languid moves of a desert camel.
Doc gets a good cleaning courtesy of my friends in Awasa.
Wake up and smell the coffee. Freshly roasted, ground and poured Ethiopian coffee.
Surrounded by beautiful Ethiopian women, a hotel manager passionate about his China-built motorcycle and the tranquil blowing in the wind trees shading Doc, I stay a couple days at Lake Awasa. Good food, comfortable digs and smiling faces. Who could ask for more?
But creeping up in the back of my mind dulls this tranquility as the thoughts of securing a visa that will allow me to cross into Sudan and ultimately take me up the Nile River through Egypt. I’ve met hundreds of travelers in Africa. Of the handful that spent time in Sudan, none are American. Given that to some the global image of America has been tainted by our current political situation, I’ve never been embarrassed nor defensive when discussing my home — my heritage. I’m American and proud of it. And while many will deny it, it’s fact. No US administration in the past one hundred years or more has done more for Africa than our current cast. And while the scorecard in other parts of the world leaves a bit to be desired, I cannot and will not hide the fact that I’m American.
But today, as an American, it might be impossible to get into Sudan. And that would seriously hamper my journey.
Back to those beautiful women and the wind in the trees. Ahhhh. Yes. This is nice. It’s been a rough road the last week. But I’m happy to report one major milestone: yesterday as I rolled into Awasa I rode my 50,000th mile since leaving Newport Beach, California on July 4, 2005.
* 50,000 miles / 80,467km *
So my new friends here in Awasa marked the milestone in my journal by writing 50,000 miles in Amharic, the national language of Ethiopia.