Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Blue Nile

Posted by Hippo Bean at 11:59 PM
Although I've sprayed the mattress, the sheets and pillows with deet and put deet lotion on my body, I woke up with bites on the back of my head. Most likely mosquitoes made their way into my room through the window that wont shut properly. And I probably missed spraying a few spots. Ah well, I hope they're not malaria carrying and that my Malarone will do its job.

A couple of hours later, we've entered Bahir Dar, situated on the shores of Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile. The main drag was lined with banana trees and blue bajajs skirted everywhere. It's the second major town we've visited that had major paved roads and showed signs of a developed city. This road was very pretty giving you the feeling of being in the Mediterranean. It was a breath of fresh air after the dusty towns with dirt roads and shanty houses. According to the list of hotels, which first went from the tana hotel to the abayminch, and now as it turned out, we were booked on the new Avanti Blue Nile, located right on the shores of the lake. It was a Sheraton but it changed hands, so it had all the beautiful design features of a Sheraton, my favorite hotel chain. I had quite wanted to experience the abayminch, it being in traditional huts style, and not lake front as I was afraid of the mosquitoes by the lake, but finally staying at a modern hotel with hot and good water pressure for showers and ac in the room, was very welcome. the hotel was beautiful, had a nice bar and terraces overlooking the lake, and we were greeted with juice and by a very young and blond dutch manager. The staff was very attentive, us being the only guests at the hotel. The rooms, which lined a center perfectly manicured garden, had nice new furniture, the bathrooms spotlessly clean, all the signs of a modern high class hotel. My room didnt have a view, so I've asked for one directly in front of the lake and was immediately given one on the top floor. The view was quite spectacular. We were told a major conference of african nations regarding the blue nile waters was scheduled at this hotel on Saturday, so security would be tight and that we would start seeing security personnel with guns all over the hotel. This didnt bother me a bit since by now, i'm so used to this kind of thing abroad.

we had lunch at a restaurant next door to the hotel in openair which looked like a park, with tables and benches, right on the lake shore, with a fantastic view of the beautiful Avanti Blue Nile and papyrus trees.

In the afternoon, we drove through a very dusty dirt road to Tis Isat and started our hike to the Blue Nile falls. One of the highlight of this trip was to see the Blue Nile. We needed first to cross a very picturesque Portuguese stone bridge, over the Nile. The back of the 1 bir note showed the Blue Nile Falls in its former glory, in full force. It looked very much a rival to some of the big falls at Iguazu. However, the hydro-electric dam was built and now the river was reduced to a mere stream. After some more uphill hiking, we saw the falls from afar. The flow of the falls has reduced to such a sad state. It was still quite a nice fall but oh the disappointment of finding the Nile so miniscule, murky and brown. It broke my heart. But the people needed the electricity, so something had to give. To get close to the falls, we had to cross a long suspension bridge, over the Nile, which at this point, was completely dry. On our way back, we took a short boat ride across the Nile. Very narrow river. Sigh.

Back at the hotel, security was already tight at the gates and we were asked to show our room cardkeys. Finally the security wrote down our names to speed up the process next time we went in and out of the hotel. We found workers and noise everywhere preparing the hotel for the conference.

The dinner buffet was most excellent and they even had baguettes. Only a few other people were staying at the hotel, all of them workers for the conference. The dutch manager came to check if everything was OK with us and to notify us that electricity would be shut off the following morning between 6:30 and 7 as they'd be doing electrical work for the conference. Ah well. Before going out in the evening, I sprayed the bed anyway and dabbed deet lotion on my body. when the workers departed, it was quiet and the lake was tranquil, and contrary to what i thought, i didnt feel any mosquitoes. having St George beer next to the lake in the dark, was most magical.

Blue Nile photos:

blue nile

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