We walked out of Bahir Dar Airport, looking for a taxi to the city and our hotel. The only problem was I wasn’t sure if I’d arranged a hotel pickup or not. There was no van for our hotel so we jumped into a taxi for the ride into town. As we were driving along I said to Claire, there goes a van with our hotel written on it. Oh well, we were in the taxi now and the plane was late so maybe I did book a transfer. Shortly after the van was speeding along beside the taxi telling him to stop. The taxi stopped and a guy with a piece of paper and my name on it asked if it was me. So while all the traffic was stopped behind us, our bags got transferred into the van and we got to the hotel free of charge. Our van driver paid the taxi driver for his troubles, but I doubt it was anything like the amount he’d make from us. It was both crazy this would happen, but also conducive with how much the locals have been willing to help.
On arrival at the hotel, I decided I needed to see a doctor as I’d had a sore stomach and not been eating. So the same guy took me to a clinic and helped me go through the process of registering, then seeing a nurse for blood pressure check and a jump on the scales, I’d lost a few kgs, but I think she was concerned at the total weight. Then I saw a doctor, who sent me for tests, so went upstairs to the laboratory and they took my blood. I have to say the whole time everything was very clean and all the needles came out of a package and thus sterile. I then got a prescription to go to the pharmacy to get an injection to help settle the pain. That worked reasonably well, but rested the afternoon away, while Claire ran around organising everything for today and bought a bottle of local Ethiopian wine, which I’ve been told is good. Back to the clinic later for the blood test results and Doctor saw me come in and just said to come right in. He was actually heading home for the night, but saw me and stayed to prescribe some antibiotics as I had an infection.
I awoke to feel a lot better today and the lure of a boat trip to see hippotamus’ as well as some old monasteries got me up and out the door. Nothing excites me more than the sight of animals in the wild just doing their thing. Here in Lake Tana near the mouth of the Nile, were 3 hippos just wallowing in the shallows. One of them happened to be a cute baby hippo also. All animals are much cuter when they are babies.
Now Lake Tana is not all about baby hippos having a yawn. Its really about the old monasteries and churches all around the lake and on the island themselves. Some of the monasteries are men only and others are not open for tourists. We did visit the 14th century Ura Kidane Mehret (luckily I took a photo of the signpost) and after a short walk lined with locals selling their wares, we arrived at the monastery. From the outside, the main church looked rather unexciting other than it being circular.
The Ethiopian Orthodox churches have 3 rings, with the inner part of the church for monks only. Also, men and women are separated and enter the church on the opposite side to each other. Inside this particular church, however, were well-preserved frescos surrounding the monks’ inner sanctum. These frescos covered all sort of things from beheading non-believers to Jesus sucking on a goats teat. Although one thing that I’m kind of surprised with is all the characters are depicted as fair skin. Jesus is certainly depicted as dark-skinned in many places and I assumed he would in Ethiopia. I’m not sure if that says anything about me, but certainly one should never assume anything.