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Old 02-06-2019, 07:12 PM   #1501
Rexx14
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Chop I can probably organise a similar sort of photo shoot with crocodiles when you're out here. Not really government approved though and you'll probably get eaten but stil an awesome opportunity for some good photos!
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Old 02-06-2019, 10:34 PM   #1502
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

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My plan had been to take the train from Addis to Djibouti, but the embassy staff told me that this was impossible and that entry by non-Ethiopians via train was forbidden and that I'd have to fly in. I wasn't really keen on that as I always prefer to travel via land to see more of the country I'm in, but they made it clear that they wouldn't issue a visa without a plane ticket:




so I ended up buying a ticket for a 30 minute flight from Dire Dawa in eastern Ethiopia for like $45 or something like that. They spelled my name wrong on the visa but assured me it would not be an issue, and luckily it was not.
Shoulda got a letter from the UN.

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This might be the best pic of the entire Africa trip.
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Old 02-07-2019, 02:23 PM   #1503
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Insane pics.
Ignorance/grunching but what's the deal with wanting to pay via cc? I would have to imagine cash would be way easier?
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Old 02-08-2019, 01:13 PM   #1504
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Still loving this thread. Thanks for all the time you take to keep us updated on your adventures.

Don't know if I have the stones to let hyenas stand on me. Must have been a surreal experience though.
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Old 02-12-2019, 01:27 AM   #1505
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Glad you guys are still enjoying this.

Rexx - I think giving up my life for the good of this thread via croc photos is fair enough. Get them ready, I'll be on the way relatively soon.

g-bebe - Cash is a pain in the butt for a lot of reasons. Carrying around a lot is a bad idea. Using ATMs is fine if you can find one that works, doesn't have insane fees, dispenses in useful denominations, and doesn't have a skimmer or someone nearby waiting to follow and rob you. CC usage lets you track your spending and allows you to prove where you were at certain times. CC has rebates. And so on.



After the hyenas, Testi took me back to the hotel and I figured I'd get a super solid night's sleep after a long day of travel and that incredible adrenaline rush. And I did, until around 03:00 when the neighborhood dogs started barking nonstop like crazy. They do this pretty much every night, because that's when the hyenas come into town and walk around the streets eating all the organic refuse that people leave outside their doorsteps for that exact reason. Didn't get any photos but I think at least one must have walked under my window judging by the nearby dogs going nuts.

The next day, Testi took me on a walking tour of Harar. We checked out the famous city gates:




the street markets:




and downtown in general:




those vehicles are all painted white/blue to indicate that they are taxis, if you were wondering. Same color coding as in Addis Ababa and a few other places in Ethiopia.

We also walked some less crowded neighborhood streets with brightly painted houses:




as well as the "indoor" markets:




as usual, I was most interested in the spices:




and certainly the massive bags of dried peppers:

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Old 02-12-2019, 01:43 AM   #1506
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Harar (aka "Africa's Mecca") is over 1,000 years old. It also supposedly has the highest density of mosques of anywhere in the world. We walked around looking at them for a few hours:




as well as local businesses:




but I was more interested in things like this raised public toilet:




and the decor of this hotel we stopped in to temporarily escape the mid-day sun:




Others used umbrellas for relief:




and some just used shade:




at one point, Testi casually asked if I was interested in seeing the wild falcons that patrol the butcher's market for scraps. Of course I snap called that one, and little did I know, the townsfolk of Harar make sure to feed the falcons just like they do the hyenas. Even better, they have fun with it. For 20 birr (about 65 cents USD), you can get a bunch of meat scraps and...




yeah, that's a piece of goat meat on my head. Look above it. Incoming!

Here's another that snatched the meat off my head and didn't keep a very good grip:




that red splotch under him is the meat that he didn't quite get a good enough hold on after he snatched it off my head. Have some truly crazy video of them swooping down for the grab. I did a few iterations holding the meat up in my hand, but ofc this makes for a far better photo/vid.

The falcons were precision hunters, and that's the only scrap that they dropped. They also managed to snatch a bunch of goat pieces off my head and right out of my hand a half dozen different times without leaving a single scratch on me. OK, well, maybe one or two. But they didn't draw blood, which I appreciated.

Again, perhaps not the smartest thing I've ever done, but after the hyenas the night before, it's not like I could do something much dumber, right?
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Old 02-12-2019, 01:54 AM   #1507
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Don't be silly. Of course I could do something dumber.




That's right, back to the hyenas for the second night in a row.

And this night, it was Lady & the Tramp time:




That's a little piece of goat meat hanging off the end of the stick that I'm biting.

Which the hyena was more than happy to relieve me of:




note the white dots on the far right - another couple of hyenas in the darkness, only their eyes visible.

Here's the money shot:




and if it wasn't clear just how massive their teeth are.. ENHANCE!





yeah. Again, not the smartest thing I've ever done.


Somehow managed to sleep thru the night that evening without the hyena alarm going off. After a ride back to Dire Dawa, it was off to the airport in a tuk tuk with a sweet floral pattern:




then out of DD:




to fulfill the childhood dream of a young chop and make it to the best named country of all time...





DJIBOUTI!!!!!!!
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Old 02-12-2019, 02:31 AM   #1508
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Some of my favorite updates...amazing stuff Chop.
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Old 02-12-2019, 02:49 AM   #1509
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Chop, you're a braver man than I.
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Old 02-12-2019, 03:06 AM   #1510
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

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Chop, you're a stupider man than I.
Fyp
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Old 02-12-2019, 03:09 AM   #1511
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

I'm joking people!

Spoiler:
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Old 02-12-2019, 02:01 PM   #1512
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Were your ears burning last night Chop? I was having dinner with some friends last telling them your hyena story. Of course they thought I was exaggerating so I had to bust out the pictures as proof. They thought it was as incredible as I did.
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Old 02-14-2019, 03:33 PM   #1513
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail



boom!

Djibouti is a very small country. It's mostly composed of desert and hellscape, with a bit of coastline tossed in. There's also a USA#1 military base there, the only permanent one in Africa. I figured I'd see a bunch of Americans due to that, but the only time I saw any were when I was leaving, in the airport. Guess they mostly stay on base. Makes more sense now that I look at the wiki entry and see:

Quote:
To protect against security threats, Camp Lemonnier is operated like an aircraft carrier. Unlike French troops, who are allowed to enter the city and interact with the local population, US troops are not allowed to leave Camp Lemonnier except by special permission, and most of Djibouti City is classified as a "no-go area".
Checked into the hotel using my broken French, to find this wonderful sign:




khat is a plant that people chew for the same reason people chew coca leaves in South America. It's a mild euphoric stimulant. It's brought into Djibouti every day fresh from Ethiopia, where it is enormously popular. People were chewing it on pretty much every bus that I was on in Ethiopia. I didn't have any, so I was allowed to stay.

Djibouti City is dry and hot:




and let me tell you, the sun kicks the **** out of you there. Good prep for Sudan, tho I didn't know it at the time. Everything outside is just miserable, dry, burning hot, and bleached. The evening is much more tolerable and that's when most people seemed to be out and about. The city is not a wealthy place, tho, so there is not much street lighting, which makes walking around a little sketchy. Not a problem for me, as I'm already a little sketchy myself.

I strolled over here one evening:




because can you really say no to a camel meat steakhouse with a camel samurai logo? I think not. I certainly didn't.

Ordered a sweet sushi boat, you know the type.

Or maybe you don't:




yeah... I'm afraid that's more of a sushi dinghy than it is a sushi boat.

Figured since I was finally close to the water, sushi would be OK. It was.

Also went for a camel burger because how can you not:




and saw the saddest piece of cheese I may have ever seen on a burger. That poor piece of cheese!

Camel burger was very, very lean, and very dry. Glad I got it so I'd know what it was like, but I will never need to order one again.


For dessert, I figured since I was in Djibouti, it was only fitting that:




that's right, I went for the chocolate highway in Djibouti.

I think I laughed for about 5 straight minutes when I first saw that in the local convenience store. And yes, I saved the wrapper and brought it back to USA#1 as the GOAT Djibouti souvenir.
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Old 02-14-2019, 03:46 PM   #1514
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Also managed to lock up a few much less sweet, but still interesting souvenirs in the form of these coins:






was very pleased to find a coin with not just one camel, but two. Also always happy to find any kind of coin that has a sailboat on it. Made sure to get some extras for my peeps back in USA#1 as well.

Significantly more difficult to attain was this sweeeeeet whale shark banknote:




which is not in circulation. I had to make a trip to the Djibouti Central Bank where they sold it to me for 2000 francs, despite the face value being 40 francs ($0.23 USD)and it being legal tender. I wasn't happy with that but it's got a freaking whale shark on it so obv snapped it up. Note the serial number - DJ0000087. Guess they aren't that popular with collectors. That photo doesn't really do it justice, it's absolutely beautiful. They printed them to commemorate the 40th Jubilee / anniversary of independence from France.

Because it was so crazy hot (about 40C / 104F average), I had the streets pretty much to myself during the day, but there wasn't much to see:




so I headed back to the hotel and helped a Somalian kid with his English classes prep work:

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Old 02-14-2019, 03:52 PM   #1515
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Made sure to do a little diving while there. The dock area was a hodgepodge of different activity, some folks just relaxing:




and others driving around on their motorbikes carrying barracudas:




because hey why not.


The dive skiff I joined had a Spanish couple and a Chinese businessman:




along with our Djibouti divemaster.

We did a wreck dive and a regular reef dive. The wreck was a massive one. We didn't go inside, but spent a good 45 minutes swimming around it. The water was not that clear, so not many good photos or interesting things to report.








I think the two dives were about $120 or something like that. Not really worth it imo due to water clarity issues and lack of predator fish, but I'm kind of spoiled for dive experiences these days, so take that with a grain of salt.
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Old 02-14-2019, 06:50 PM   #1516
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

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khat is a plant that people chew for the same reason people chew coca leaves in South America. It's a mild euphoric stimulant. It's brought into Djibouti every day fresh from Ethiopia, where it is enormously popular. People were chewing it on pretty much every bus that I was on in Ethiopia. I didn't have any, so I was allowed to stay.
Heh, I remember the line from Black Hawk Down:

Quote:
Matthews:
What's the matter Danny? Something you don't like?

McKnight:
No Spectre gunships, daylight instead of night... late afternoon when they're all f***ed up on Khat, only part of the city Aidid can mount a serious counter-attack on short notice...

McKnight:
What's not to like?

Harell:
Life's imperfect!

McKnight:
Yeah, for you two, circling above it at 500 feet it's imperfect. Down in the street, it's unforgiving.
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Old 02-19-2019, 01:47 PM   #1517
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Love the photos and itís great to put a face with the name but...
In my mind I pictured you as a long haired pirate type like the photo below.

Please refrain from cutting your hair for at least 18 months so you can catch up to my image of you. Tyia

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Old 02-19-2019, 03:00 PM   #1518
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Only saw the latest updates now, awesome as always. I just informed my gf we are now officially doing an Africa trip and meeting some hyenas.

+1 to the post above me as well, I could swear there even was a photo somewhere of you with long hair but I guess I'm mistaken.

Happy travels, wherever you're headed next!
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Old 02-19-2019, 06:20 PM   #1519
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

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Originally Posted by Very Josie View Post
Love the photos and itís great to put a face with the name but...
In my mind I pictured you as a long haired pirate type like the photo below.

Please refrain from cutting your hair for at least 18 months so you can catch up to my image of you. Tyia



I confirm that Chop looks nothing like that man.
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Old 02-20-2019, 01:27 AM   #1520
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

After all the anzac biscuits I've eaten in the last month, I presently look this this:




maybe slightly fatter. Nothing a month sailing across the Pacific can't cure.

Speaking of which, I committed to a boat a few days ago. Will fly to Panama in mid-March to join it, then we sail from Panama City to the Marquesas. Gotta get off there as they will have family flying in. Will look for another boat to keep heading west, with the goal being to sail all the way to Australia. If I don't find a different boat, may be able to hang out in French Polynesia until that boat is ready to continue west - they plan to be in New Zealand in late fall. We'll see what happens.

Had long hair for a while but only grew it out to donate it to cancerous children. Swore never to do it again, sorry Jose. That said, it's currently chin length and I'm lazy.

For those of you that dig the hyena stuff, I took one of the vids and made a gif for you:




hopefully that doesn't take forever to load. Wanted to retain as much length as possible as it's a pretty cool sequence, so the tradeoff was increased compression. Doesn't look horrible I guess.
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Old 02-20-2019, 01:37 AM   #1521
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Chop, how was the real deal doro wat and tibs?

For some reason, Injera always reminded me of Indian Idli due to the texture and sourness from fermentation.
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Old 02-20-2019, 01:38 AM   #1522
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Looking forward to the grizzly/croc/taipan/hippo gif! Long hair for dramatic effect
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Old 02-20-2019, 01:41 AM   #1523
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

The Ethiopian food I have had here was sooo good, I'd be drooling at the real deal.
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Old 02-20-2019, 01:42 AM   #1524
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

and here are two of the falcons:




note how the first falcon swoops down and grabs the meat, and is immediately followed by a second falcon who is sad to find out nothing was left for him.




amoeba - I'm not qualified to assess the quality, but I enjoyed both. The shiro was my favorite.
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Old 02-21-2019, 11:16 AM   #1525
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Finally finished the entire thread. Just incredible, thank you for sharing everything with us. looking forward to the next portion.
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