That says it all.
From visiting our daughter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for two weeks we flew out in the early hours to Casablanca. We couldn’t get a direct flight so we had to go via Cairo. Sadly we didn’t have more than a few hours there – and spent all of our “visit” to Egypt in the transit lounge. I was also disappointed that we were on the wrong side of the plane coming into Cairo. The pilot announced that the pyramids could be see off to the left; we were sitting on the right-hand side of the plane. The pyramids will have to wait until another trip; I guess they’re not going anywhere in a hurry.
The flights to Casablanca were uneventful. Getting through customs, however, took forever. After the delay we were united again with our daughter who had arrived on a different flight as we couldn’t get seats on the same flights. We also met our tour guide for our time in Morocco, Said, who we instantly took a liking to; he was the perfect guide for our two week tour of his country.
As we left the airport our first views of Morocco were rain soaked. This was the first rain we’d had since leaving home, and the last for the whole trip – except for a light drizzle one day a few weeks later. Our driver quickly whisked us through down-town Casablanca to our hotel for the night, and we quickly settled into our very comfortable rooms.
Today I’ve posted several photos taken of Casablanca from the balcony of our hotel. Not very exciting, and rain splattered as well.
During our two week stay in Addis Ababa last December, we hired a driver to take us to Mount Entoto Natural Park. Much of the city is at an altitude of about 2500 metres and is ringed by a chain of mountains reaching up to about 3100 metres.
When we left the school campus where our daughter was teaching last year it was a pleasantly mild day, probably about 20C with a clear sky. As we drove to the top of the mountain over the next hour, the temperature progressively dropped and was quite chilly at the top.
Along the way we drove through a dense eucalyptus forest. It was a bizarre feeling, almost as if we were driving through the Adelaide Hills here in South Australia – yet we were in Ethiopia. These trees were planted in the late 1800s as firewood became scarcer in the surrounding hills. More were planted over the next 50 or so years and they remain the dominant tree in the greater Addis Ababa area. They are ideally suited to the soil and climate, and provide much needed safeguards against erosion. They also provide much needed supplies of firewood and building materials for local people.
Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, is much like many large cities in Africa, Asia and anywhere in the developing world.
Somehow in all that chaos people move around, do their jobs, raise their families and eke out a living. Traffic congestion can seem overwhelming to a first time visitor and no rules seem to apply anywhere. I’d experienced Bangkok and Kathmandu previously so it was no real surprise to me though the occasional sight like the van in the picture above was noteworthy.
In many places as we travelled along we could see craftsmen making a range of items for sale, from tailors with their sewing machines on the footpath, to carpenters making furniture though to mechanics repairing all sorts of vehicles.
During our short stay in Ethiopia last December we visited the inspiring Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital. You can read about our visit here. This wonderful work not only provides life-changing operations for women suffering terribly with obstetric fistula, the hospital also provides a comprehensive training programme for midwives. These nurses then work with women in rural areas where the problems occur due to lack of medical help during child birth. In many cases the women being trained are former patients of the hospital.
My wife and I were most impressed with the amazing humanitarian work being undertaken here. We have supported it in the past and will continue to do so. I challenge my readers to do likewise: click here for more information.