After packing up the Landrover and driving back into Debark to drop off our scout we hit the road back to Gondor once again along the bumpy and dusty gravel road. Half way into the journey we were overtaken at high speed by a German registered Nissan Patrol who was beeping his horn waving to us enthusiastically.
As we got closer to Gondor we saw the same car at the side of the road with the bonnet raised, so we decided to pull over to see if we could offer any assistance. The fuel injector was broken and he needed us to tow him to the garage in Gondor. The garage was full of 4x4 vehicles getting fixed, and so we decided to see if we could get the Landrover seen to asking for the mechanic to look at the fuel tank and steering leaving him to give us a quote whilst we went for food with Rolf the German and his young Ethiopian girlfriend Rut.
Rolf had spent a long period of his life travelling through Africa and had now retired to Ethiopia where he had spent the previous eight years living in Addis. Rolf like us also had a taste for the beer, and so that evening we out for a good drink together, sampling the various Ethiopian beers that were available.
Thinking the previous day that the garage were taking out only the steering shock absorber to test it, we arrived at the garage in the morning to discover they had taken out the entire front axle. We then asked them if they had prepared a quote for fixing the steering, the fuel tank and welding a small part of the differential and the exhaust. The quote came to $790 (around £500/€550). This was phenomenally expensive for what was only a days work, and involved no parts. We argued with the garage that this was silly money, and Rolf phoned a friend in Addis to see what price we could get the work done for there to discover it would be a third of the cost.
We informed the garage that they should put the front axle back on, and that we wouldn’t pay their ridiculous prices. Rolf was having the same problem with the mechanics trying to remove random parts of his Nissan without his approval, and asking for large sums of money to fix his car.
We would have to spend another night in Gondor, and so after going out for something to eat with Rolf and Rut, we ventured into a local Ethiopian bar where local music was being played with singing, drumming, dancing and drinking combining to form the evenings entertainment.
- David Jennings & Nathan Topham
- Wrexham, Wales, United Kingdom
- For the past 5 years, me and my best friend Nathan have talked about the possibility of travelling around the world by land and sea, and so finally we have a route, savings and time to set off around the world. What we are doing is living out a dream, a dream we share with many people worldwide, a dream of travelling this vast, diverse, beautiful and interesting planet, but unlike the many others who keep it as a dream, we have the tenacity to make this dream a reality.