Ha! It’s happening again. It’s about 2315 here in Ethiopia and I’m still awake while Pete sleeps soundly - told ya, this is just how it goes with us. I actually am quite tired though, we had a long day of riding. Want to sneak in a quick post here before I doze off. This is the best trip of my life so far. Absolutely no pause before stating that, I really mean it. Ethiopia is incredible. I am still digesting everything that we experienced in the South Omo Valley. I’ll do a photo dump soon to share my perspective and offer up a few thoughts too. As a sneak peek, here is one of my favorite photos I took there. So many stories to be told. Gah! I have so much to update here, but for now I thought I’d simply fill you in on today’s happenings. I was so full of stoke when we got off the bikes this afternoon, I started typing immediately and couldn’t wait to sift through photos and share. I’m laying down in my own room tonight, feels weird! Ha! - but the beds are tiny (for Pete) and the rooms only cost $3/night so we decided to get two - it’s likely we will both sleep more comfortably this way. Although, I have so many mosquito bites idk how much I’ll be sleeping. Why on earth do they always itch more at night? Is it just me or does anyone else experience that? There is music playing loudly in the streets right now, I sort of like the gentle buzz of activity in the background, it’s soothing to me somehow. Ethiopians sure like their night life. Everywhere you go, even in the most remote areas, when evening hits there are neon lights and music alive in each town centre. Usually accompanied by one pool table and a bunch of plastic chairs. Since we don’t partake any longer we haven’t been frequenting this particular scene, but like I said, I like the buzz of activity. This hotel is super chill, with an awesome restaurant across the street (same ownership). We had a mixed plate of vegetarian dishes served with injera and one order of beef tibs - also with injera for dinner. Oh, and Fantas of course! Everything here comes with injera, which is a slightly sour, fermented pancake like substance made from tef (grown in abundance here locally!). It usually comes laid out beneath whatever you’ve ordered, and then additional rolls are served on the side. You tear off a piece and use it to make a little food packet with your right index thumb and middle finger. Delicious. After my food poisoning, it’s taken me a while to enjoy the local food again, but I think I’m finally there! Win. Here is a photo from outside the hotel. You know when you look at the map and you think you can picture what the road ahead looks like? Twisty, mountainous goodness - or so you’re hoping. Well today, my estimations were 100% correct. Damn was it fun! Definitely one of my favorite riding days of the trip thus far. We spent most of the day winding up and over the lower choke mountains, then noodling around the base of the mountain range. We started in Jinka and ended the day around 6 PM in this small town called Gesuba. If you can even believe it - we rode for 7 1/2 hours today, making it only 120 miles. But who’s counting anyway? The road was incredible, the ‘keep you on your toes but still chill’ vibe... ya know? Brakes on these bikes are a bit squishy, it’s more a theory of braking than actual braking. So that caused a bit of butt clenching as we made our descent, for me anyway. I can’t speak for Pete (: Oh! But Pete WAS almost taken out by an ambulance that came drifting fast af around a blind corner while detouring around a big construction project. It was one of those moments where you have to lift your hands to the sky a bit afterwards, thanking your higher power for lookin’ out. Looks like the construction frenzy might be a Chinese project, based on seeing a Chinese engineer overseeing the progress - that begins to explain why kids keep yelling “China, China!” at us when we ride through the cities. We have to correct them saying “No China!” It’s hilarious. Always results in a fit of laughter all around. We stopped to help a local out by loaning him our air pump today. Pretty flipping impressive to watch how quickly he fixed and replaced the tube, sure puts me to shame. All he used was a string. Crazy! Hulet buna - my new favorite thing to say in Amharic. It means two coffees. The young girl in red (pictured above) served us the most fantastic cup of coffee (or cups, I think we each had two!) during a quick midday stop n stretch. She had the sweetest smile and a lovely warm energy about her. After a large, mostly male crowd had formed around us, everyone chattering away as they joined in on the faranji sighting, the girl shouted to me “I love you so much!” blushing and shying away, without hesitation I said “I love you too!” reaching out as we embraced for a long hug. It was one of those moments you definitely want to remember. I think I cried like 3 times today. Either from being overwhelmed by laughter, beauty, gratitude, or some combination of the three. Almost had to pull over one time, tears obstructing my view. Can anyone relate? Or am I just a complete weirdo. I always say “I’m just having a moment”. Happens to me a lot when we’re traveling. Ok if I’m honest, happens to me a lot in life in general. Ha! I’m a sap. Here are some pics of the kids who helped us locate our hotel this evening. We spent about 45min or so hanging out with them, I even taught them how to ‘floss’. And no I don’t mean floss their teeth. If you don’t know this dance, look up flossing dance on YouTube or something. Or ask your kid (if you have one, that is!). These two were very mischievous. They look it, huh? Very rowdy bunch they were. We wrestled, danced, haggled, counted to 100 in English... so many activities! I love that you can barely see Pete peeking out between them. So full of beans! Riding into the countryside as we make our way north is proving to be very rewarding. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings. For now - I sleep. Fingers crossed.