I am recuperating from an busy trip away, and in lieu of fresh material, I’m running a series called Travel Diaries, with excerpts from my travel journal from the year I spent traveling around the world. I left Melbourne, Australia on September 16, 2008 to spend a year away from my home visiting friends, family, making new friends and visiting far away lands. These excerpts are as accurate as can be with the more shocking typos edited for my own pride’s sake.

Mezan, Ethiopia

Wednesday 31 December 2008

It’s not New Year’s Eve here, it isn’t even 2008 yet. On the Ethiopian calendar it is still 2001. I’m on my way back to Addis and am at the first stop back – Mezan, a two-hour drive from Tikemptishet (TI). Tomorrow we start early for Jimma, and on Friday we hit Addis.

The lights in Mezan keep going on and off. The stars were stunning tonight.

Jimma, Ethiopia

Thursday 01 January 2009

What a day. It started around 12:20am for me – believe it or not, I made it to the turning of the New Year. No celebrations for me though, unless swatting a persistently humming insect counts. I could not sleep last night. Turned the light out at 8:30, fell asleep round 10:45, woke up at 12:10, fell asleep, woke up around 2 – didn’t go back to bed, left the compound at 5:30am for a starlit walk through PITCH BLACK Mezan. The lights were ALL OUT. I had to pack at 5am with the aid of my $6 Walmart alarm clock light. Followed by an eight-hour bus ride on an unpaved road with no AC, packed withpeople. I was, possibly, the only one with deodorant. I thought that ride would never end. I spent the afternoon with Yerusalem shopping – got a pair of jeans, Birr 190 (19 USD) and an Obama t-shirt in Amharic for $2.50.