A Travellerspoint blog

Announcing Ethiopia

The map is a rough outline of the ground we will cover over the course of two weeks in Ethiopia - probably have to zoom in to see the detail. We leave two weeks from today so time to start getting our act together.

We've managed to string together a few excursions with a company based in Addis Ababa with the highlights being:

- 3 Day trek in the Simien Mountains

- 3 Day visit to the churches of Lalibela

- 4 Day visit to Danakil Depression/hike Erta Ale volcano

- 2 Day visit to the holy city of Harar (google the Hyena men of Harar :))

Trust in that we've done our research and Ethiopia is much different now than what most people remember of a country crippled by famine in the early 1980's. Certainly not without its challenges but looking forward to visiting the world's fastest growing economy.

The kids and Judy will be staying home to hold down the fort for which we are eternally grateful. Based on what we've read, we should have fairly easy access to wifi so will keep the blog updated as much as possible. The exception to this being the Simien Mountains and Danakil Depression segments as we will be camping.

Stay tuned.....

Posted by madpax 19:17 Archived in Ethiopia Comments (1)

Oman Bits

Posting a map of where we went while in Oman (click on "Oman Map" below) as well as a few pics of our favorite places. The rest of the pics are under the "photography" link on the right side of the page.

Oman Map

Also a bit of video (warning: might make you car sick!):

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Posted by madpax 19:47 Archived in Oman Comments (3)

Du bye bye

sunny 80 °F

Our flight doesn't leave until 2am Sunday morning so we stayed in our hotel room until the last possible minute today and then took the metro train downtown to see the infamous Dubai Mall. We had great intentions of taking in the aquarium and walking around a bit but the reality is that we walked in and became so completey overwhelmed that we found the nearest exit and got the hell out of there. It wasn't just that it was busy, it was just the sheer size of the thing. Perhaps some people's idea of good fun but it seemed really obscene and over the top. But I guess that is the point.

It was kind of fun to walk along the front entrance where some of the higher end cars that had been valet parked were. Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Rolls, Bentleys, etc. We walked down the street to a corner cafe that had outdoor seating and just watched traffic for a while. There wasn't a cycle of the stop light that went by that we didn't see some outrageous looking supercar being rodded down the street. With the pristine boulevard, manicured greenery and amazing buildings it felt like a movie set.

We were going to go up in the Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world) until we found out we would have to go back into the mall to buy the tickets. That was NOT going to happen so we admired it by walking around and looking way, way up. We were at least a block away when I took this picture and still couldn't get the whole thing in the frame.

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We are at the airport now and still have two hours before they will even allow us to check in. Then another three hours before our flight leaves. It's going to be a long couple of days getting home but looking forward to seeing the kiddos and thankful for the experiences we have had on this trip.

Posted by madpax 09:07 Archived in Oman Comments (1)

Back in the UAE

sunny

Leaving Salalah, we took the interior road and whoever wrote that it was the most uninteresting drive on the planet was right. It took 9 hours of non-stop driving to reach Nizwa. Nine hours of flat, windy desert. Nothing to look at other than the occasional small village.

From Nizwa we poked around the mountains to the northwest - driving up to the "Grand Canyon of Oman" and walking around a small heritage village called Misfat. That night we camped in a dry wadi somewhere around Bat and their elusive beehive tombs. It was really beautiful, surrounded by rocky monolith mountains. Probably one of the quietest places we've been in a long time.

We crossed the border back into the UAE yesterday afternoon and stayed the night just north of the crossing in Fujairah. This morning we will pack up and head to Dubai which looks to only be a couple of hours away. We desperately need to find a car wash before we turn our rental back in.....it is a mess both inside and out.

Our flight leaves very late on Saturday night - looking forward to seeing the kiddos. Will post photos once we get home and have a chance to download them all. Love to you all.

Posted by madpax 19:46 Archived in Oman Comments (2)

Headed North

sunny 85 °F

Spent the day exploring a bit around Salalah. We drove southwest of town toward the Yemeni border just past Mughsail to see some of the most beautiful, secluded beaches we have ever seen. The sand was like powder and the water bright turquoise - picture perfect really. Then you look back inland and see the sheer cliffs and barren land knowing the Empty Quarter is just beyond - such contrasts! The road getting out there was pretty fun...the sealed portion leading to Mughsail crossed an enormous wadi with cliffs 1000 meters high so the road was a long set of very steep switchbacks leading in and out of it. Once past Mugsail we turned off the sealed road and onto a rough gravel road for 6km of more steep switchbacks leading down to the perfect beaches I mentioned. Really worth the few hours it took to explore and didn't see another person save for a lone camel herder.

Went to the Frankincense Soug (thank you Bob for directions!) and had lunch at a traditional Omani restaurant where we had to wash our feet in the sink before eating and seating was on rugs arranged around a small private room. I wish I had a picture of Kelsey hoisting his foot up to the sink for a good washing. Finding traditional Omani food is harder than it sounds as most restaurants here serve primarily Indian cuisine. Never would have guessed it.

Not much to report on the fishing front (or camping for that matter) as the wind has been pretty terrific the last few days. The are having big sand storms north of here which makes going out in a boat (which we had hoped to do) not possible. Or at least not a very good idea anyway.

Kelsey has gotten my cold so it is his turn to not feel very well. Hopefully it won't last long. We are leaving early in the morning to head back north. We are taking the interior road this time which is said to be one of the most uninteresting drives on the planet so will have to stock up on Mt. Dew (they love that stuff here). If we are lucky we hope to make Nizwa tomorrow night - there are a few sights in and around there that we may try to see.

Haven't been able to talk with the kids since entering Oman (only text works) as the government has blocked FaceTime and Skype. Apparently Omantel is the only phone carrier in the country so has a monopoly on communications. I am going to keep my opinion about that whole thing to myself.

Hope everyone is doing well and thanks again for keeping tabs on us. We love reading your comments :)

Posted by madpax 07:08 Archived in Oman Comments (10)

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