And God said, “Let there be spiders.”

I just finished reading Anansi Boys. Which, you might think, is an odd book for me to have read, given my moderate to severe arachnophobia. Because, you see, Anansi Boys is, essentially, all about spiders.

However, it’s the sequel-esque to Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, which I recently read and could quite possibly be one of my favourite books I’ve read this year. You see, Anansi is an African folktale character who most often takes the shape of a spider. He is the spirit of all stories. Legend has it that all stories used to belong to Tiger, but Anansi tricked him and now, instead of the drab, sad world that Tiger had created, the world is now filled with Anansi’s funny, trickster stories.

But, Anansi is a spider. And his boys are Fat Charlie and Spider. And there is literally a scene where thousands of spiders: “the great spiders and the small spiders, venomous spiders and biting spiders: huge hairy spiders and elegant chitinous spiders,” come and save Spider from Tiger.

Despite all that, it was a pretty decent book. Not one of Gaiman’s best (those awards would go to American Gods, The Graveyard Book, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane) but pretty good nonetheless.

But, I think, had I been reading this book a few weeks ago, things would have gone much better for me…

It all started at Frenchman’s Farm, a small accommodation with no website where we were told we could get away for the night, do some hiking in the Ankasa Nature Reserve and really unplug.

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One thing I can say for the farm, it was beautiful. We arrived at noon, fairly starving after a 3 ½ hour ride from our previous accommodation just outside of Elmina. And we proceeded to be served cold coconut milk – from coconuts, of course, while waiting about 3 hours for lunch.

Ok, that’s fine. Coconut milk is pretty good and the flesh is delicious, so we waited. We finally got fed about 3 o’clock and then we made our way to the Ankasa Nature Reserve. Then this happened:

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My Ethiopian Bucket List

I’m not one for bucket lists, really I’m not – I haven’t even seen the movie : ) But in my head I’ve started making a list of the things I want to do/accomplish in Ethiopia (outside of the incredible things I’ll be doing with the Peace Corps of course!).

  1. Pet a baby elephant – if you know me, you know I’m obsessed with elephants! I don’t even know if Ethiopia has many…
  2. Climb the Semien Mountains, preferably up to Ras Dashan, the highest peak in Ethiopia. Will I survive? We’ll see.
  3. Write – not the next great American novel…I don’t even think I want to write a book, I just want to write, weekly, if not daily. We’ll see how motivated I am!
  4. Get over my fear of spiders. I’m 22 for goodness sake. And they’re just bugs.
  5. Learn to cook a truly Ethiopian meal – and have it taste good!

I’m sure I’ll come up with a million and one things to do in addition to these…but it’s a start! T-20 days until I reach Ethiopian soil!