Ethiopia. Just one mention of the place and people immediately think of famine and poor-taste jokes. I bring that up now just to get it out. The country has an image problem, but that’s in need of a change, and travel is the best way to change a false impression.
“You are a complete girl,” says the Swedish traveller who has already crushed my expectations of what backpacking graduates from her nation should look like. The mono-brow turns to chide me again, but I’ve already planned my defence and exit strategy.
In part two of an African Roadie, we catch up with Charlie and Alex waking up in Livingstone, Zambia. The previous day was spent white water rafting on the Zambezi river below Victoria Falls, followed by a lively booze cruise on the wide waters above the Falls…
“Why are you going to Doha?” was a regular question I received before departing for the Qatari capital. “It’s so dull,” would be an oft-heard statement. To which I’d ask the accuser whether he’d actually been there. “No, but I’ve heard it from loads of people.”
The noise was deafening. Over 5,000 people, most of them dancing on tables, were crammed into a festival hall that could otherwise house a 747 jumbo jet. And this was only one such hall. In the Oktoberfest area there’s seating for about 100,000 people. It’s socialising on a macro scale, complete with German efficiency and international bonhomie.
During the drive to Oxford, the English summer returned with a dependable deluge. With wipers on fast, water overflowing the bonnet and trucks throwing up waterfalls of spray, I eased off the Oxford ring road and headed into the famous city.