I received a wake up call at 0620 and left for the airport at 0700. Straight through the standard rigmaroles of airport security and then I waited for my (rescheduled) flight to Hargesia in Northern Somalia (Somaliland, previously British Somalia).
On arrival to Somaliland the terminal was underwhelming but I was soon through to the other side and into my 71st country. I then bartered for a taxi to take me to my hotel in Hargesia, the capital of Somaliland and settled on $15 which turned out to be what the locals pay. I was staying at the Oriental Hotel Hargesia and on arrival I bumped into two other travellers, an American called Paul and and Frenchman called Gautier. Paul had arrived the day before and Gautier had been there by himself for a few days. We spent the afternoon getting some lunch then wandering around the town, visiting the one and only ‘tourist site’ a Mig Memorial which commemorates Somaliland’s attempt at independence in 1988. The evening the three of us ate together and just shared travel stories and chatted all evening.
Hargesia itself its a relatively small capital, a medium sized town in our eyes and it was so dusty, everything had a thin layer of brown dust on. When we were walking around the town a lot of people wanted too say hello and were genuinely friendly they all gave me a big smile when I said I was British (Somaliland used to be called British Somalia and they still have a positive view of the UK). Aside from their welcoming nature Khat (a hallucinogenic plant) is also prevalent. There are dozens of stalls selling it and numerous people chewing the leaves all the time, I don’t know the longterm health risks but it was clear to see it didn’t do their teeth any good.