Jan 212012

Woke up, and decided to do what everyone else in the hotel was doing – have breakfast delivered! Can’t go wrong with coffee, eggs, and toast…and we had the hotel set to arranging a tour around the city before our early afternoon flight. Of course, this involved going to hire an armed guard of course, but we negotiated to give him a few wads of the Somaliland Shillings this time, everyone was happy, and we were off to see the city of Hargeisa itself.

The Ambassador Hotel is set just near the airport (presumably so frightened NGO types can flee the country asap should things go bad) and maybe a couple miles out of the downtown proper.

First stop was the Somaliland Independence monument – even if things get better in Mogadishu this part of Somalia has no interest in re-joining the federation.

What you can’t see in this picture is all the sketchy loitering youths who ran the instant they saw us and our armed guard.  Not sure what they were more afraid of…the guard, two white guys, or being seen in pictures with white guys that Al Shabaab might not be fond of.  Regardless, for the most part, we found people fled at the sight of a camera.

Next stop was what we read online was a the highlight – the camel and livestock market.  When we first got there, a few folks actually seemed to believe that we were there to buy.  When they realised we weren’t, then it was take picture with me and pay me….we took some pics, but nobody got paid.

Sheep market…notice how I conveniently managed to sneak our guard into this pic  😉

You take picture my camel!  Give me money!

Next stop, a plane that the Somalilanders shot down in their brief struggle to get away from the rest of Somalia.  Never found the whole story behind this, but found the monument a bit funny.

Next up…the “money market” aka where people trade bundles of useless Somlaliland Shillings for “real” currency.  I was shocked when I driver said “I know him, you take picture, it ok.”  This was something I really wanted to get a photo of, and glad it worked out!  Pics modified to protect currency dealers from, well…

Final stop….Hargeisa University where our driver’s son attends.  He said fees are about $400 a year, which is a fortune.  His son is studying IT and hopes to get a job abroad – maybe Dubai – after he completes studying.

It was back to the hotel for a really quick early lunch…and then off to the airport for our big adventure…Daallo Airlines to Djibouti.  I’ll leave most of the suspense, but all we knew is they had a reputation for being days late, and flying aircraft from before I was born….


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