December 23

Today we had less than 80km to make it to Addis Ababa. Tomas felt sick and took a bus to town. I awoke excited because once we made it to Addis we planned on taking a few days off. Overall the day was uneventful. We had heard the Canadians had difficulty with locals riding this stretch the day before. Whenever I sensed potential harassment from somebody. I made a gesture to grab for my stick. This seemed to speak louder than words ever could. People left me alone. Riding through towns,  I noticed that peoples eyes seemed to gravitate towards it. Some people pointed at it and smiled. I seem to get more respect with the stick. Many people in Ethiopia especially in the country side carry them. Throughout the day a number of people smiled and pointed as if to say look at that white guy on the bike he also whacks or threatens people with sticks. One guy in a truck ahead of me proudly waved his goat skinned covered stick out the window which I interpreted as him saying welcome to the club. Before reaching town I had one last climb followed by a long descent. Cars were backed up for miles bumper to bumper. I weaved through cars until I made it to the top where I found military officials stopping cars. I’m not sure what they were looking for but was glad they didn’t stop me. I rode swiftly down the hill and into the piazza district where I located the Baro Hotel and retired for the day.

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