30.09.2010 - 30.09.2010 35 °C
4 months, 10 countries and, 49 cities later, we were on our way home. Partly reluctant, partly just yearning for normalcy, less stress, fewer insects and food cooked without Maggi.
On the plane back home, we tried to summarize the trip. Apart from the difficult moments and screaming matches, it had been a fantastic trip that we would never forget. And it had changed us.
Somewhere along the way, in Ethiopia, I had decided that I would never complain again. It seemed ridiculous to grumble about deteriorating subway cars, expensive food and tight living quarters when so many people have so much less. We had met people who had nothing. Children who would never have a chance in their lives, because they were born into a family of twenty, with the only purpose of bringing in extra income to the family.
Then we remembered the unbelievable hospitality of the friends we had made in South Africa and Nigeria.
And we talked about the fascinating tribes in the Lower Omo Valley with big ceramic plates inserted in their lips, and the churches that were dug out of rocks in Lalibela.
We reminisced about the Tuaregs in Niger, who a few weeks after our visit kidnapped five French people in Arlit. Well, maybe not the actual Tuaregs we had met, but perhaps their friends.
People had said that West Africa is the most difficult place in the world to travel, and after this trip we could only agree. It's a tough place with tough folks. There are no sights to speak of, and the public transport had to be the worst in the world. We had met so many aggressive, angry men and women. But it had also opened our eyes to how poverty, perhaps understandably, can bring out the worst in us all.
We also knew that through these experiences we had grown a lot closer as a couple, knowing that we would always stick together no matter what.
It's funny, as I was looking through the window on our drive home from the JFK Airport, New York City actually looked clean and organized. Well, that was a first!
And when our friends and family ask; was it worth it? There has to be a resounding yes. It was totally worth it. But would I ever do it again? Never.
However, after a few days of rest we couldn't help but start thinking of our next trip. What's next? Asia perhaps.