West Shewa, Ethiopia
In a nutshell, that sums up today. I headed for a new area, left out of camp, across the road and straight up the hill. I could see other runners in a field to my left, so avoided them, not needing the humbling experience of being left behind that was more or less guaranteed. After a slowing climb – my typical pace uphill here seems to be around 10m/m – I hit a cobbled road that was only slightly uphill, and at least looked like I was keeping it together when three African runners came past the other way, with the usual encouragements. At a fork I chose the track going up rather than the road going down, and climbed and climbed. I’m not sure I hit the very top, but the sense of stillness and total quiet in the forest was quite something. Really it deserves a long walk up there to enjoy it properly, which I might pencil in for Friday, assuming Chris’ desire to have a night out in Addis on a ‘session’ day (so as to be tired on the day after a session, not when it was due) hasn’t happened on Thursday. I’m not sure that I would have believed you had you told me that I would be using the phrase “session” only to do with running, with a straight face. I’m not sure what we’ll call a drinking night instead – an aberration, perhaps.
I managed to get nicely lost in the trees, and as I walked up hill, beating my way through the trees (okay, pushing through – it was a goat track, so passable, but with trees hanging over at goat height) I spotted an animal scooting through the undergrowth up ahead. We joke about hyenas, and I just hoped i wasn’t about to have to joke with one, in the hope that its laughter would distract it for long enough for me to escape. Nothing came of it, though, and I let the GPS point me home. 2.75km that way, though it took a good 5km to navigate round various small ravines (some, admittedly, only really deserving of the word ‘ravine’ if you’re a lego person, but it’s the word I’ve got in my head now), eventually finding a stony track to head down to road level, completing the run with a jaunt through a local high street, surrounded by Ethiopians. These are people who live opposite the camp, so are not exactly startled by a white runner appearing amongst them, but I still had a small boy join me for 100m, and a couple of waves.
Got back about 10, and joined Julia for breakfast. Three meals are included, along with water, and fresh juice, so far either mango or papaya, in the morning. The choice is mostly egg-based at breakfast, then for lunch and dinner there’s soup to start, and anything from pasta to curry, grilled fish, chicken and pizza. The latter is cooked in a separate brick oven, outside the main building. The place is in a continual state of flux, and this week they’ve erected a shelter outside the pizza place where before there was just a patio. One of the gardens has been dug up, I’m still not sure why, and another stretch of dirt has been seeded ready to add to the swathes of greenery at which we can eat.
All that remains after an early workout is a shower, not normally the cause of any controversy, but there’s a member of staff who now can’t look me in the eye after seeing a…well, add your own description there. I was in the shower, heard my room door close softly and figured someone had entered, heard the shower and left. Oh no she hadn’t, and got more than she’d bargained for through the open bathroom door.
Her English isn’t great, but I think she understood the “no problem!” I gave her later when fully clothed. As I write it’s 4.30, so it’s raining, but I’m only due for a gym session later so am not sitting here wondering when is a good time to get out, unlike the last couple of days.
Summary: 1:22:14, 12.9km, climb: big(gish). Staff scared: 1, Book: You did what? Fawcett.