The Lights Go On Again
As you may or may not know, we had a bit of a SNAFU arise a few days ago when our communications network went down. I spent many an hour sitting in a bikini chair, BGAN satellite dish at my feet, laptop firmly planted in my lap, satellite phone glued to the side of my head, and several thousand bugs flying in my nose, ears, eyes and mouth… attracted by the ephemeral glow of my equipment in the Ethiopian midnight nothingness. Those were not fun nights spent aching to get the system back on line, and I imagine that the techies on the other end of the sat phone weren’t too happy at my choice of language at a few junctures. Anyways, we’re back online and I can cancel my search for a cheap, early flight home from Nairobi since I still have a function on this crazy misadventure.
Anyways, a quick update. We have all successfully crossed from Ethiopia into Kenya. “Le Roi est mort. Vive le Roi!” Actually, the differences between countries at the crossing from Ethiopia into Kenya was almost as distinct as the crossing from Sudan into Ethiopia. The Kenyan customs officer actually smiled us as he handed us our new visa. I think it’s because he got to sit on a nice plush chair in a private office as opposed to the pieces of molded plastic designed in Bratislava for prisoner interrogations that the Ethiopians tend to favour. Also, instead of camping in a bona fide garbage dump/public latrine we are in a national park… pretty swanky. All in all the camp is pretty happy, most everyone dumped the last of their Birr in the hours before crossing on beers, injira and multilayered fruitjuice (if they were enterprising enough to suss it out). Those that didn’t were able to get ripped off quickly by the young men occupying no-mans land offering money exchange, certifying their credibility by holding 8 inch stacks of bills. I think that all banks should operate this way, next time I walk into a CIBC, HSBC or Bank of America I want my teller to actually be holding upwards of $3,000 in her hand as I tell her I would like to increase my credit limit and explore my RRSP options. It would be even better if she grabbed for my money as soon as I took it out of my pocket and had two of her colleagues stand behind me with calculators, even larger stacks of money and menacing looks upon their faces. That’s service you can count on. Actually, I’m quitting Td’A and starting a bank.