the best ever birthday gift {thus far}

Exactly 1,097 days ago, I first blogged about plans for Ethiopia… fleetingly.
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Since that faithful day on 4th October 2009 {in an entry that had almost no relevance to Ethiopia}, 6 entries of Ethiopia has appeared in this space, but nothing much had happened, other than the procurement of an Ethiopia & Eritrea LP, which authors tickled my fancy.
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Partly it had to do with me not being able to wrap my head around the Ethiopian visa issue and the consulate being in one of those places which is not in my “Penelope favourite places”
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Mostly I didn’t have the resolute will to do something about it as these travels takes a lot of planning and patience in figuring the ways about it.
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so what has changed?
I had ‘burned’ my opportunity during the Eid period with the arrival of my newest nephew Benji; with neither North Korea or Myanmar happening … just me contributing to the national airlines revenue although they have treated me so badly. Or rather Enrich has.
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I am close to ‘burning’ my Deepavali-Awal Muharram opportunity due to indecisiveness of doing the Eastern Europe circuit of Ukraine, Moldova, Transnistria and Romania or sailing the Lofoten Islands under the dancing lights of the Aurora Borealis

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The first choice ‘pull’ is Chernobyl.
Prypiat to be exact … and it pretty much stops there, other than the 2 embarrassing admission that it ‘earns’ me 3 new countries’ immigration stamps to add to my list, and I get to feel closer to Jason Bourne while I stare out of the Black Sea in Odessa.
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Yes, I know he’s frictional … but I’m not quite done with my childhood days of imaginary friends … so, please let me be.
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The second choice ‘pull’ is of course the dancing lights … but, I got a bit greedy. I figured if I were to make the effort, I’d want to throw in ocras, polar bears and some crazy geographical formations. Well, we all know that that’s not going to happen as the time of sighting are all different, with the exception of the geographical formations and location wise it could be anything from Iceland to Alaska!
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Being totally a non landscape person – well, I’m appreciative up to perhaps an hour at the very most and it really has to be spectacular to hold my attention – I’m seriously wondering why would I want to chill my bones only to have the not-so-authentic knee scream in pain and arthritis some 2 decades later to regret the decision. I’m also wondering if I’d every look at 1,479 photos of neon lights against dark skies and slabs of peak “egg whites” with hues of blue and green on them once I’ve return to the good ol’ warm and toasty equator.
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And with limited days off, a peculiar carry forward system, impossible project datelines and parallel projects … I MUST NOT ‘burn’ the lovely 2013 late January to early February stretch of holidays … Prophet Muhammad, Thaipusam, FT Day and Chinese New Year … where 9 days of annual leave gets you 19 days off … I MUST be OUT OF MY MIND to let this opportunity slip by.
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Coupled by the need to conserve some days off for either a trip to Cuba or the Trans-Siberia in July/August 2013 … of course, I am under immense pressure.

And with that I had written to them and ask if they could consider me for a candidate in January/ February 2013. I had sourced the world wide web for visa information.
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For the former, I received an affirmation on my birthday – thank you!
Best birthday present ever {for now at least}
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As for the latter I found this website … though I may be clutching on straws, it looks better than the earlier Beijing contact.
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