After the 9 hour long drive from Arba Minch, we felt more like sleeping it off, but firstly it was New Year’s and secondly, Yayehiyrad, the manager of Experience Ethiopia Travel, had invited us for a dinner with traditional dances to the Habesha 2000 Restaurant. We were a bit guarded expecting a tourist trap, but were pleasantly surprised to find a good mix of locals and tourists, a delicious Injera buffet and an outstanding dance show. A group of jolly business men from Sudan got the place rolling. Whenever the band would play Sudanese tunes, they stormed the stage.
With Sinita and one of her friends, who had flown in from Italy, we decided to make this a real New Year’s Eve, which to them meant drinking French Champagne, not more and not less… Naturally we did not mention this out of place request to Yayehiyrad. We just asked to be dropped at a place where we could just toast the New Year. At the Mimo Club, before we knew what was going on, we were patted down, cameras taken away and once inside, enwrapped in gut-turning techno music.
The first people we could make out in the dark where Chinese. We felt like fleeing, but we could not. Why? Because Sinita’s boyfriend had actually ordered a bottle of French Champagne, Mumm Cordon Rouge, for no less than … 2.000 birr, an incredible 100 Euros! We felt that everybody was watching us, the moneyed people who should be followed and mugged. It did not help that we had to scramble all our money to pay for it.
We were not even sure if there would be count down at midnight, since the Ethiopian New Year is September 11th. Well, there was! By then the place had filled with a very diverse crowd and lots of provocatively dressed girls. Our expensive drinks were finished and our minds were already on our next destination – the Danakil Depression. So we decided to call it a night!