62 – The walled city of Harar

Wed 27th Jan, In a van en route to Addis
Woke up before the sunrise so that i can catch a sunrise photo at Harar Gate. The walled city of Harar was created to keep out the Oromo invaders. And till now it has stood. I walked around the main gate area, all the shops were still close so you could say it was more of a recce. I then found myself at the Shoa gate where i ate fuul dunked in chilli powder and a shai (5 birr!)
Went back to the hotel, left for a look at the old town. There are apparently 82 mosques just inside 1 square km of old town. It is a small area, but the density of little alleyways make it a quaint little town to spend a day. Then of course you have the people. The women are dressed in red, purple, yellow and orange, whereas the older men had their orange beards. We weaved in and out of the alleys and roads, ocassionally finding ourselves on the outside of the wall.
Besides the wall itself, there were also the markets outside the walls, in what is termed the new town. Even these markets had their alleys and little nooks and crannies. There was the main markets, the smuggler’s market and the recycling market. We didn’t buy anything of course, but it was just the experience of walking around these lively markets that is so exhilarating.
I got my minibus ticket (130 birr) to Addis in the afternoon.. The bus is a night bus, and by leaving at 7pm today, i would reach Addis with plenty of time to recharge, but i would miss the famed hyena men feeding session just outside the town walls. =/
The minivan ride was nuts.. Drunk Addis guy on Harari wine and stuffed with qat made so much noise throughout. There were three police checkpoints too. They were more interested in the locals and anything they might have smuggled into Addis though. I was generall left alone, other than a few frisks.
Pardon the quality of this entry, which really doesn’t do Harar justice. I might reupdate this entry later on. I’m rushing through and posting so that i can go back and watch Egypt vs Algeria which comes up later tonight! Hope the photos will suffice for now.

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