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Arriving at Aksum - Raiders of the lost Wifi

by - September 28 2010

Aksum, also known as Axom is a former capital of Ethiopia. It is famous for its rock carved stellae and for allegedly being the home of the Ark of the Covenant.

On arrival at Aksum my first goal was to find somewhere with wireless Internet since I was behind in my blogging. In every other country in my trip wifi had been much easier to find than its retro cousin, the Internet cafe. By contrast in Ethiopia few people have their own devices and so wifi is rare and Internet cafes are more prevalent, however you have to find one that is open, has power, has a working connection, and has machines that can avoid crashing for long enough to allow you to transfer photos and type an email.

In Addis and Bahir Dar I had stayed at tourist hotels thst had wifi, but in Gondar the Internet connection was seemingly down across the city and so I had got behind. As I got off the bus from Shire a hoard of hotel touts approached me, trying to lure me to their hotel. All of them told me that their hotels had wifi, but in each case, when I got to the hotel it became clear that it didn't. Eventually it became clear that if you ask an Ethiopian a question and they don't know the answer, they will say "yes". I soon learned to make sure I worded questions so that "yes" could not be a valid answer - like an inverted version of the "yes/no" game.

After a couple of hours of failing to find wifi, I went into an Internet cafe, downloaded my photos, carefully retyped a blog entry I had written on my phone earlier, and was about to click "send" when the machine crashed. I gave up, sent a quick "I'll be back" message, and decided to catch up with blogging when I got back to Addis.