Hargeisa, the capitol of Somaliand!

Most travel blogs I had read, all except one, said that Somaliand is a very friendly place with people being very curious as there are literally no tourists there. Everyone you pass on the street do indeed try to stop you for a conversation, but all our conversations were short lived, usually just consisting of “Hey”, “what is your name”, what is your country” and “bye”. There was only one travel blog which said the opposite, that someone had been spitting in front of him, others shouting and throwing small rocks and my experience was a bit of the same. For the first time I was physically pushed by a guy through his car window right after he had honked at me and I have also never experienced before that someone was seriously hitting me in the shoulder and pointing out that the tattoos on my feet and the studs in my ears were haram. You can’t even blame it on people being drunk as alcohol is illegal here. People just chew khat(lots of it!) and you can see that it is conservative as almost all women are covered up. Even for Somali people, the northern, autonomous part of Somaliand is famous for being very conservative.

Hargeisa money changers. The stack in my hand is just 10USD

The police was friendly though, driving us around after we told them that we needed to get to the other side of town. We also met people who asked us to take pictures of them, like the money changers on the street sitting on piles of cash. I guess most people were friedly, but there are also people here who have racist attitudes towards Europeans so after dark we decided to just stay inside. Apparently most locals go to bed after the prayers at 8pm here as there are no bars, music or much light on the streets.

We were not much later in bed ourselves, staying in the living room of Sleiman, the friendliest Syrian ever who made us delicious middle eastern food and explained us a lot about the conflict in his country. Such a warm hearted man.

Real Syrian, homemade hummus

Downtown Hargeisa did not have much to offer other than some monuments and a national museum which was closed, but going to the camel marked on the outskirts of the city was a good experience where camels were auctioned for between 800 and 2000 dollars.

Me and Eli Sanchez at the Camel Market

Crossing the desert from Djibouti to Somaliland

Meeting a camel in Lawya Caddo, Somalia

The ride from Djibouti City to Hargeisa in Somalia was one of the worst of my life. As we were the last to book, me and Eli were put in the so called “dog seat” in the bumpy back of a seven seater LandRover where they had manages to squeeze in ten people. Every time I was closing my eyes I was shot in the air with my head hitting the roof and I after an hour I had given up on my feet which were deep in sleep/paralysis from sitting as squeezed as we did.

Our transport to the border

About ten hours of driving after the stop at the Lawya Caddo border town I was woken up being asked if I had a map. The driver had been driving in circles for nearly three hours and everyone in the car were shouting about which direction was the right, as there were no roads in the desert. The rest of the night I had to stay up and tell the driver whenever he was getting off his course towards east and it was not before 9am, after 18 hours of bumpy sand dune driving that we reached Somaliand and could feel solid tarmac ground under our feet. Thank god that I am never ever going back that same road again.