For breakfast we had some warm homemade bread, and our "usual" macchiato. We are living proof that non-coffee drinkers will be converted upon landing in Ethiopia. Remember the 1980 movie Airplane: "Jim never drinks a second cup of coffee at home." Tonio and I keep repeating that quote to each other as we ordered yet another macchiato. The coffee is SO good, and does not taste like coffee at home... it's like how Tonio only like Guiness in Ireland- we're not drink snobs, it just tastes better! While Yoseph went to buy our boat tickets in town, we were able to enjoy a little piece of paradise. Why was simple bread and coffee, eaten on a tiny metal table such an amazing breakfast? The awe-inspiring views overlooking the reddish Lake Abaya on the left and Lake Chamo on the right. The green, mountainous isthmus between the two lakes in Nechisar National Park has been called "Bridge of God" to reflect its beauty and serenity. In the picture below left, you can just barely glimpse the 2 lakes on either side of the "Bridge of God."
The breeze and spray of water on my face as we bounced over the small waves reminded me so much of weekends in Minnesota when I was a kid- fishing with my parents and siblings on the lakes. The only thing missing was a bucket of worms and the water-skis..
The overcast day was perfect for fishing, but also for enjoying the wildlife- no sunburn yet no rain!
Click on the pictures to see them bigger-
Some crocs taking a nap:
Hippos, who rarely leave the water..
One of my favorite pictures from the trip is this one of a relaxed, well-rested, worry-free couple:
After the relaxing boat ride, we headed to the Arba Minch Hotel for more amazing food. One of my favorite drinks in Ethiopia is freshly squeezed juice (no added water:). They can make you a combo drink of several difference juices together, and the best is pineapple, avocado, mango. In Mexico and the US it is rare to consider avocado as sweet- we amost always make it salty (guacamole, salsas, en sopa). But in Morrocco, Brazi, and evidently in Ethiopia as well, they mix it with sweeter juices. So unexpectedly good!!! Here they were out of pineapple, so I just had avocado and mango- see how the fruit pulp is thick enough to maintain its separate identity??
Today was Friday, which meant we throw out the menu and order what is available: fasting (vegetarian) food. I love fasting!!!
The lush Arba Minch Hotel.
Ethiopia is split in 2 by a series of faults- where two plates come together to form the Earth's surface. It is a crack that runs north to south for something like 4000 miles, from Syria in the north, down through Ethiopia and then it forks off. The plates are slowly separating from each other, and eventually may cut Africa into two piece. In the meantime, there are tremors and volcanic activity in the area, and after millions of years in the making, numerous lakes have formed in the valleys of this zone. According to wikipedia, the African Rift Zone has some of the oldest, largest, and deepest lakes in the world. In the Ethiopian Rift Valley, Lake Abaya and Lake Chamo are the first and second largest (Lake Chamo is the site of our boat tour). Arba Minch, situated almost between these 2 lakes, means "40 springs." Their natural hot springs are heated by underground lava activity, and people come to visit the springs for recreation or for healing. As we left Arba Minch to drive the 270 km back to Awassa, we passed many streams and rivers where people were able to bathe and wash their clothes: