In Addis I give a ride to a special man. He’s been homeless for several years. He lives literally just under a few plastic sheets. But he has one passion that keeps him on the go: Plants. Lembo (which means peace dove) gives and plants trees in peoples’ private gardens for free. He’s some sort of  guerilla environmentalist who thinks Addis is not green enough.

Close to where he lives, he’s transforming little by little a junkyard into a park. I followed Lembo around for an afternoon. Currently I’m working on a very small documentary about him. A big thanks to Sabe who helped me out with the shooting of this documentary and guided me through Addis.

taitu hotel, the oldest in Addis
Taitu, cheap as hell but rather… basic. Legend has it that there once was even a sink in the room…

Addis, we also meet up with Yves, a good friend of a former housemate. We Meet in a rather fancy Italian restaurant as an early Christmas dinner. He’s accompanied by a lovely and charming Italian girl, Giullia. Although we only have some moderately good pasta and tiramisu, the company is very good.

In Addis we’re successful in obtaining a transit visa for Sudan. We also make a desperate attempt to exchange Ethiopian Birr in Dollar. Even in the headquarters of the National Commercial bank it’s impossible to obtain any dollars. What’s wrong with this country? Almost no petrol, no dollars? The only way to get some greenbacks seems to be the black market.

a clear memory in Addis of Ethiopias’ communist past.

We decide to postpone the dollar problem and continue to Mekelle. We want to join a four day tour in the Danakil depression in north Ethiopia. It’s not allowed to enter alone. We have to join an organised tour. Actually I don’t mind to give up my bike for a couple of days and to be driven around in a confortable 4×4.

On the road to Mekelle
High end petrol station on the road to Mekelle

On the road to Mekelle we pass through beautiful landscapes, climb amazing mountain passes. The Tigray women in these lands wear their hair in a very beautiful braided way. We even see some bleeding heart baboons. Quite rare. Again there are a lot of animals on the road. We arrive in Mekelle after dark. The last kilometers are very tricky to drive because of the very deep tracks in the road. We even spot a hyena next to the road. Time to arrive in a safe place…

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