Mar. 24th 2003
Today has been a very interesting day - and one that I found rather frustrating.

In the morning, I was ready for the car to pick me up from my house. I had been told that the car would drive past shortly after 7:30. It did not, and I waited until 8:15 before I headed into town for a taxi. My first lab is at 8:00 in the morning so I knew that I would be late. I tried to find a contract taxi (like a normal UK taxi), but that didn't work very well. The taxis were hard to find. It was only by chance that I found the line taxi that went to Ainalem (stopping just outside) MIT. I have said about the line taxis before, but this was the first one in Mekelle. The line taxis are mini-buses. In Addis they tear up and down the capital. You do not have to wait long to catch one. In Mekelle, the volume of traffic is nowhere near as great. You go to where the line taxis are, find one that is going to the right place and get on. You then wait until it is full. I got onto a line taxi that was empty; it took about fifteen minutes to fill up. At least you have a seat while you wait though! There were some slightly perplexed Habesha as they got onto the line taxi, but no one commented. The journey upto Ainalem was quite smooth, although the taxi did have to drop down to first to make it up the hill outside of Mekelle. The roads close to MIT are dirt track and quite rough. I am amazed that the line taxis survive. As we approached the stop, we were asked to pay, and fortunately the charged me normal fare, which was 1birr50, about 12p.

When I got into MIT, I was not best pleased. I decided to ask the person who had told me that I would be picked up, where the car was. I think that the driver did not know to stop. I had asked three times where the car would stop, and had been told not to worry, it would come by the house. I should have pushed again for the answer to my question. Fortunately, I couldn't find the person, and I set about re-arranging the lab for the afternoon. I think that other people had told him that I was looking for him, so I decided not to ask when I did see him. I think he had probably had somebody else have a go at him.

The journey back home was far less eventful. But, when I arrived, there was no electricity. I asked in Tigrinyan (not difficult yellem - amaharic yellen - tigrinyan) if there was no power. I was told yes there was no power. Later, the owner of the property came over to tell me that there is never power on a Monday, not normally until 9pm. I had forgotten about this - there are shifts when regions in Mekelle do not have power. Monday is the day that this region (or Kebelle) is without power. I spent what time I could writing up diaries using the laptop's batteries. These ran out at about 8pm. I decided to just wait in the dark. I had a torch, and I had a candle. The candle had been donated by the landlady. I couldn't find a way of making it stand safely, so I left it and sat in the dark, breathing deeply and trying to relax as much as possible without going to sleep. The power did return at 9, but only very briefly. I waited until 9:30, decided to have a shower (cold of course) and the went to bed. The lying in the dark had done the job though - I did not feel stressed - despite needing to do a lot.