Hyenas, Tigers and Soiled Pants- Ethiopia On a Bike
Date- July 9, 2019
Written by George Balarezo, Intrepid Global Citizen
It was a dry, hot, queer winter day, the winter I aged five years in one month. I was filthy and didn’t know what I was doing in Addis Ababa. Let’s do this.
My stomach growled after stuffing myself with the most succulent airplane food my palate ever tasted. Steamed balsamic rice, turmeric infused lentils, spiced spinach, sliced raw beets, all washed down with a piping hot cup of black tea. Five stars. The airline brought me heaven in the form of my first authentic Ethiopian meal. “It must be utopia down there,” I thought as I gawked at the rugged flat-topped beige mountains and sea-blue cloudless sky.
I stumbled off the plane, a few kilograms heavier after all the grub, and heaved my big cardboard box through customs and immigration.
“Oh, bringing TV to Ethiopia,” said the customs officer.
“Ha! I haven’t owned a TV in 15 years. I am what you call a TV resistor. It’s a bicycle. I am going to ride it around your country,” I said.
“Oh 15 years? Bicycle? You very clever my friend,” chuckled the officer while clapping her hands together and letting out a soprano pitched squeal.
“Crazy is more like it. What I am going to do with this thing?” I said.
“Ha! No problem Ethiopia. You have great time, my friend. My country good place,” she said.
“Yes. That is what I heard,” I said.
“You being careful hyena and tiger. Animals sometimes eating people, you know? Hyena and tiger eating my friend in village, okay? Sometimes people gun fighting my country. You careful people gun fighting, okay?” she said while handing me back my passport.
What did I get myself into? Hearing about deadly animals and weapons nearly left my pants soiled with half digested airplane food. Holy crap!..Literally.