Jonathan Brun

Zanzibar to Ethiopia

Got in some amazing diving in Zanzibar. The corals were very good, but the highlight was definitely the dive with sea turtles and dolphins near an atoll off the eastern coast of Zanzibar. Spent a day in a spice plantation, where they grow every imaginable spice. Very agronomically rich island. The beaches are pristine and the traditional sailing boats definitely add to the charm.

In the spirit of going from one extreme to another, I flew from tranquil Zanzibar to crazy Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. I spent two days wandering around the city, visiting the churches, the cultural museum where they display and discuss the many insane Ethiopian tribes (lip extension, neck extension, running on bulls…), then paid my respects to our oldest ancestor dubbed “Lucy”, she is 3.3 million years old and represents the step between Apes and Men – unbelievable. Also visited the Mercato (the largest market in Africa) where they sell every imaginable item.

As of yesterday, I am safely in the city of Harar, near the Somali-Eritria border. It took 10 hours by bus, but it was worth it. The city was founded in the 7th century and is truly a throwback in time. Magical place.

Spent the afternoon chewing a plant called “chat”, a mild intoxicant the entire city is addicted to, with some locals; discussing Rastafarianism, AIDs in Africa and their desire to come to the West. On a side note, the coffee here is the best I have ever had. Also fed a hyena from my mouth, and visiting the sites such as Arthur Rembaud’s house and getting lost in the maze of alleyways.
I should be here for another day and then off to a national park, then back to Addis Abada (the capital) where I will be meeting with the people from the Ethiopia Commodities Exchange to write an article about them which I hope to get published (See the TED talk by Dr Eleni for more information).
Published on May 21, 2008

From The Top of Kilimanjaro to the Seas of Zanzibar

As for me, I climbed that little volcano called Kilimanjaro, it was stunning. You traverse all the climate zones, have unbelievable views and are treated to amazing hospitality. Tanzania is a most amazing place. The climb was pretty challenging despite the help of porters; I got quite sick towards the top of the mountain (above 5000 meters), but we persevered to the peak (5895 meters).

We then did a three day safari which felt like Arthur Conan Doyle’s Lost World. We saw all the major animals (lions, cheetahs, elephants, buffalo, wildebeests, hyenas, rhinos, gazelles…), but unfortunately did not see a kill. Scenery in Tanzania is out of this world. The region where we did the Safari is inhabited by traditionally dressed Masai warriors who are beautiful people. Yet wearing traditional dress and carrying a spear while talking on the cell-phone and riding a bike seems a bit of a conflict.

I am now in Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania. The island is a very interesting mix of Indian, Arabic and African culture. Once home to a vibrant slave and spice trade, the place is now a remarkable vacation spot with 19th century Islamic-colonialist architecture. The rough plan I have is to go diving for a few days. No plan beyond that.

Sorry, no photos, satellite connect is too slow.

Published on May 10, 2008