My hotel and resort is awesome. It’s perched on the top of the crater encompassing Lake Bishoftu. It is very luxurious and as they didn’t have a single room I’m in a suit up the top! The view is fantastic, the hot water and bath a godsend and the bed, a king size cloud of softness. I’ve had the best sleep in months and several nana naps! The restaurant is pretty good, but not much of a selection. The town is cobble stoned, thanks to a German financial backer, and sits amongst five crater lakes.
There’s not much in the way of shopping, or restaurants but I went to the Kiriftu Resort and Spa yesterday, had a great lunch overlooking Lake Kiriftu, in a very rustic and amazing resort, hand carved, high backed solid wood chairs and tables, reminiscent of the Vikings, huge blue-stone-block buildings with magnificently bamboo weaved, thatched and twisted domed ceilings that stretched for 20-30 meters at a time. I had a fantastic Swedish massage, saw another female tourist who I met briefly, didn’t get her name but she told me she was on break from Chad and was with UNICEF. It was great to talk to another English-speaker. After my massage I left her a note to ask if she wanted to meet in town or go sightseeing or for a meal. I also reassured her I was not a crazy stalker but considering I scared myself when I saw my face in the mirror, I’m not too surprised she hasn’t called. Anyway I came back and then had a long soak in the tub, flooded the bathroom and ordered a burger for tea in my room.
I went for a walk into town, had a lovely cafe latte and a piece of real cake with cream at Tommy’s international hotel and then wandered back along the cobbled streets. I found one shop with traditional highland clothes and bought a couple of scarves. I was in a shop when a man staggered in, obviously off his trolley on the local amphetamine-like drug called Khat. I ignored him and another bloke came and pushed him out. Another half a kilometer up the road I got the sensation of someone behind me so I turn to find this guy drooling between his few remaining brown pegs. “Money, give money” he was saying with hand out stretched. I told to go away and crossed the road. Not long after, I felt a tug and turned to see this bloke grinning wildly as he clutched my backpack! Without a thought in my head I clocked him, yelling at him to get off me and leave me alone. He fell on his ass holding his jaw as I continued on my way to the hotel. When I turned back to look, several people had come to his aid and were helping him up! Nobody came to check I was OK! So here I am back at the hotel, and as luck may have it, I wouldn’t be surprised if the police come and arrest me!
And so I said farewell to Debre Zeyit, the highland town of cobbled streets and alleys surrounded by crater lakes, where the mist rises from the warm earth and meets the cool sky in a misty hue that encompasses the town like a shroud made of cheese cloth. A town where the young girls dressed in westernized bling-bling run alongside their mothers in order to keep up. The boys hang out in groups, the older ones playing ping pong on the side of the street, the youngsters cracking whips made of plated grass. A place of hot water baths, soft beds, Swedish massage, fine food, power most of the time and spasmodic internet. A place where the women bustle about their daily duties from sun up to sun down, and the men chew Khat like goats on a picnic.