Hot Springs of Wondo Genet
Today’s cooking duty was on Chris and his team. He is a very passionate cook and so every time he cooks we receive a feast. When shopping for food Chris also puts in some of his own money and for today’s food shopping he has spent three times the amount we usually spent meaning two-thirds of it coming out of his own pocket. Therefore, we received scrambled eggs, prosciutto and cheese for breakfast which we otherwise cannot afford from our daily food budget of approx. 3 USD per person covering breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Since we didn’t start driving before 9am I used the time in the morning for another cold shower. On our way from the Bale Mountains to Wondo Genet we briefly stopped in Shashemene so that Chris could see the police regarding his iPhone which got stolen some days ago. Unfortunately he didn’t receive it back but the police told him that they know who the thief is and they are looking for him since he has left the city. I used the waiting time to chill out with some of my fellow travellers in a little café enjoying the warmth of the sun and freshly pressed Mango juice which only cost 10 Birr (0.60 USD) in Ethiopia.
We arrived in Wondo Genet at lunch time and prepared lunch at the ground of our hotel. There were many monkeys in the trees watching us and trying to steal parts of our food. After lunch we put up our tents and only some of us upgraded to a room for an additional payment of approx. 300 Birr (17.60 USD). Michelle and I choose not to upgrade because the campsite of the hotel was very beautiful and the temperature had risen significantly as we came down from the mountains this morning.
The camping fee of approx. 120 Birr (7.00 USD) a person was quite pricy but it included a visit of the local hot springs and breakfast as well. So we used the opportunity to go for a swim to the hot springs which were in 5 min walking distance to our hotel. The hot springs were mainly visited by local people so our white skin and especially we girls in our bikinis became an attraction. Before jumping into the water we rented a deposit box and made sure that all our clothes was locked away since we learned that things get very easily stolen in Ethiopia. Actually it was a good idea to lock really everything away since my fellow traveller Kelly put his flip-flops at the edge of the pool and they got stolen. Kelly tried to steal the flip-flops of somebody else but the owner was noticing it and stopped him. The water of the hot springs had a pleasant temperature, not too hot and not too cold. The boys of our group enjoyed themselves by jumping into the pool and doing flips, belly floppers and all kind of funny looking jumps.
In the late afternoon we killed some time with a poker tournament among ourselves. The buy-in was 20 Birr (1.20 USD) with the winner receiving the whole pot. While I played a loose aggressive style last time, I choose to play tight passive today also because I wasn’t really in the mood for playing poker. I ended up in a heads-up with Andrew and since dinner was ready he offered me to stop playing and split the pot between the two of us which I happily excepted since he was leading in chips.
Dinner was again very delicious due to the amount of effort Chris has put into it. We had mashed potatoes with fried onions and sausages. There was even a desert consisting of yoghurt and a hot fruit mix. After dinner we went for a few drinks to the hotel bar. I can’t really remember how it came but I ended up in another strange bet with Daniel. We bet that he will drive completely naked for the remaining duration of our trip (2.5 weeks to go until Nairobi) and that he has to do at least 50% of the driving so that he cannot ask Tom to drive the majority of the time. The value of the bet was 200 USD the looser needs to pay to the winner of the bet. I’m pretty confident that I will win the bet although I knew that Daniel doesn’t care to be naked in front of other people. What made me confident was the fact that some of the older people of our group, our local Ethiopian guide and the police wouldn’t appreciate seeing Daniel to drive naked and he’s putting his job at risk by doing so. Let’s see how this turns out in the end…