Jessica Gregson’s blog

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Somalia/Somaliland, last week

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I have been trying to write this post for two days now, about my recent trip to Somalia and Somaliland (which was, from my perspective, great), and how I’m now reading Nadifa Mohamed’s Orchard of Lost Souls, which is set in Hargeisa in the late 1980s, and how the Horn of Africa is currently experiencing the worst drought in several years and a boat full of Somali refugees was recently fired upon by a helicopter in the Gulf of Aden and and and, but I can’t stitch it together into a coherent narrative. So I’m just going to post some pictures instead.

View from the tea shack

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The view from the tea shack at Conoco Airstrip, where flights land for Garowe as they’ve been upgrading their airport for about nine months now. Garowe was hot and windy and bright, and I very much missed the swank sunglasses I bought last year and then lost in the workings of my seat the one time I was upgraded on Kenya Airways.

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I think I have said before that one of my favourite things about Somalia and Somaliland is the paintings you find on shops and hotels and restaurants, usually advertising their wares, but in this case exhorting people to comply with security restrictions. (This was at the City Plaza Hotel in Burao, where we also met – briefly – eminent Somali poet Hadrawi.)

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The road between Berbera and Burao starts out flat and dusty, and then suddenly you are coiling up into the Golis Mountains and the temperature drops and you get vistas like this.

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The beach at Berbera is beautiful and I wanted to swim but the sea was rough and the sand turns to rock as soon as you’re up to your ankles and women swimming in Somaliland is a vexed issue anyway and as such I was fully covered and had nonetheless sparked consternation and mild alarm among the hotel staff when I walked down to the beach, so I had to content myself with an aggressive paddle.

Misty morning between Berbera and Hargeisa

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We left early from Berbera to head back to Hargeisa in time for our flight, and were very surprised to find the road covered in heavy mist rising off the desert and clinging to the base of the mountains.

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Written by Jess

March 25, 2017 at 4:36 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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