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Key Afer number two.

For me the return to Key Afer was pretty much lack luster. The only catch was that I could not get a place at the five star dung hotel so I had to settle for the human dung walled and floored hotel with no shower and a toilet that I believe was made out of human feces as well. I had run into that problem before when coming into town late and on a market day. Most of the rooms in town tend to be full, but since I got there early, I got the last room that was available in town. The lady was originally pricing it as the last room in town but I did the usual “no” and walked away. She came after me and accepted my offer so I got a fair deal. Having seen the market, I ended up just hanging out at the other hotels restaurant, drinking cokes, and wandering through the market every once in a while.

After three o’clock, I had written off Noa and Omri as I figured they ended up not wanting to leave Jinka as well and staying there after all. Around 5pm a packed bus came in and there was a huge scuffle as people were trying to get off and people were frantically trying to get on as it must have been the last bus back to Jinka. Omri got off right away, but it was a good fifteen minutes later before Noa popped out looking a bit frazzled. I waved them down and laughed at their entrance.

They told me how they had screwed up by waiting. It ended up that there were no buses after 12pm and that they had to wait for three hours at the bus station before a bus finally showed up. The touts were giving them a bad time about there not being any buses but I had warned them that the guys hanging out down there were all bad news. After their story I gave them the bad news that I had gotten the last room in town. Now they were shell shocked. They did luck out when a couple of Farenji’s moved out about a hour before from my same complex, but when they asked for the price the lady went insane and doubled her price and then doubled it again as there were two of them. This time she wouldn’t budge. It pissed the Israelis off so much that they wouldn’t have stayed there if it was for free. We ended up walking around with a bunch of touts running around trying to find a place. Finally, they ran into a guy who would let them stay in one of his huts for a reasonable price. Unfortunately the whole process took so long that they market had closed up and most of the tribes people were holed up in drinking bars. We ended up hanging out at the hut with Omri bringing out his own Israeli Tea Ceremony equipment and us and a couple of the touts had some nice Israeli tea. It was a beautiful clear night so all the stars were out, it was quite and peaceful, and they brought out their Ipod with speakers and they showed the local guys all the different music they listened to. It was a really special night.

The next day we we needed to be in Dimeka as I explained to them the importance of getting there the day before. As they had just gone through the same issue here in Key Afer they were both right on board. I had run into an Argentinian guy the day before and I told him our plans of heading down into the South Omo area. He was originally planning on going to Jinka, but since a group of us were going and he was having issues with the Japanese guy he had met up (the guy would just pay anything the locals asked without bargaining at all. He even was asked by a beggar to give him ten birr and he did it without questioning it. I had gone to breakfast with them in the morning and the Japanese guy had wanted to go do something so he left first. The cashier told him an outrageous price and he paid it without question. Since we had gotten the same thing, it kind of screwed us over. Since I am not shy about scammers, we hammered the lady and would not pay until she gave us the correct price. I think after that point Juan had given up on the other guy and was ready to move on. With Juan being on a budget and the guy killing him he was more than happy to come with us.

Now, we started out with the usual scammers inflating prices, but I was able to tell the guys what to expect. It actually was easier in the fact that with four of us I knew the driver would be thinking lump sum and there was no way he would leave that much money behind. When a truck finally came, I told Juan in Spanish what I was going to do which worked rather well as the touts knew we were up to something. Once I declined their initial offers, I told them how much we were willing to pay. They scoffed and told us goodbye. We just acted like we didn’t care and just stayed on the patio having our drinks and reading. Finally, when the truck was about to leave they came back with another offer, but I told them again it was too much and that we were not in a rush. We would stay another night if need be as there were now rooms available in the good hotel and we liked the vibe of the village. The truck driver scoffed and they drove away. They went down the road, turned the corner and then stopped. The driver sent his helper back and told us that he would accept our price. We grabbed our stuff and triumphantly jumped onto the back of the Isuzu. We now had the power, and it felt good.



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