In Nairobi it was time for a major maintenance of the car, looking for parts, fixing a tent, arranging insurance, replacing road tax, getting stamps, etc. before we drive from Kenya to Ethiopia. Of course, everything in Africa takes longer than planned, so we sleep in front of the workshop with the car on the jack and it is super cozy with all fellow travelers who come in JJ’s.
Red tape in Nairobi
In the Netherlands, administrative activities can usually be arranged in a morning, here is something else 😉 Road tax, for example, can be arranged in an office complex in the financial district of the city. Finding a parking space is a challenge, because they allow all cars to enter without actually being there. In the 17-storey building there is a search for the right department. The 1 says floor 14, the other floor 2, then it is an hour of lunch break and nothing happens. Then we are sent to a desk with an employee, then to another employee.
14 employees and a few security males later we finally have someone who knows something about it. “No, not in this building any more!” The department appears to have moved to a new building on the other side of the city. Haha Sure !! She still tells us that our road tax has already expired and we can not extend it without paying the fine of 5000, – euro ……………. Hahaha thanks for the info and we do not know how quickly we have to leave come, then no road tax and looking for a backup plan!
Dancing, miraa chewing and goat from the BBQ
In Marsabit on the way to the border with Ethiopia we arrive at a campsite in a company outing of teachers. When we arrive they have just slaughtered a goat and are busy preparing the evening meal. It is not long before Suus is cutting tomatoes with the ladies and Roel is preparing the goat on the bbq with the men. During the official welcome speech from the head of the school we are welcomed with the beautiful words; ‘I think god has arranged that we are measuring today. This guy (Roel so) looks like Jesus’. And the rest of the afternoon we dance to local music, we eat the intestines, liver and the meat of the goat and there is some miraa chewed so that everyone keeps dancing. A hilarious afternoon and evening with super nice people.
While we drive away the next morning we hear a strange sound and it turns out to be our U-joint piece. Fortunately, we have this part with us and we can solve it fairly quickly. Jennifer and Craig two motorcyclists from Australia whom we met in Nairobi arrive the same morning with problems at the campsite. After we have worked the rest of the day together we leave the border with the 4th. We solved the road tax problem creatively for all checks on the road and in Nairobi we have already stamped out our passports. At the border it is actually a question of pretending we get stamps, always asking for a toilet so we do not stand out and with this tactic we slip into Ethiopia without any problems !!
Moyale: Another world on the other side of the barrier
We are amazed every time about how different the world can be on the other side of a barrier. A small piece of iron that splits two countries and when we are there it is immediately clear that we are in another country. What chaos, what a gang, people everywhere, cattle everywhere, a lot of children. It reminds us very much of India. At the office where we have to get the stamps for the carnet we need two people to protect the two engines and the car against all street children. Fortunately, we receive help from the children who have just left school and from other bystanders.
More car problems
The following days we drive through the Omo valley with his 4 and we see a really different Africa than we have seen so far. A lot poorer and therefore so few cars, but a lot of people and cattle on the street. Super green with mountains and pink lakes and along the road is actually a long stretch of village. Unfortunately, the wheel bearing that we have replaced in Nairobi turns out to overheat, which in turn results in a job day. Just finding the tool to undo it is a big challenge in the small villages. We finally find it at a small workshop where a super sweet owners gives us all the stuff without asking anything in return. She is fooling when we give her back at the end of the afternoon with a little something for herself and her son.
To the capital of Ethiopia: Addis Ababa
Unfortunately, the wheel bearing continues to overheat and we can not do more than we have already done, so we decide to drive directly to Addis. The only place in Ethiopia with a Toyota garage and therefore the only place where we can possibly find the right parts. Besides the car we can also apply for the visa for the following countries. And between the rides to Toyota, the testing of the car and the embassies we enjoy the local food (especially the fresh fruit juices are super), the local coffees that you can find everywhere on the street and the friendly people.
Everywhere we go, people come to chat, we get coffee, in the traffic jam they welcome us in their country and they are super curious where we come from. Until now we have not been able to recognize all horror stories about Ethiopia, and we are especially surprised about the nice reaction and help-friendliness of the people. No punishment to sit here (now already more than a week) with still a car of which we do not get clear what the problem is, but fortunately in good company to discover the city.