But just a few hundred miles north of the most dangerous country on earth is a place just the opposite: the wonderful, peaceful (independent) Somaliland.
Carrying around a bag full of money is pretty fun though!
Was I in Palestine once again?
I also just happened to be there during their presidential elections. Every day it was rallies, busloads of party members, and signs - all demonstrated peacefully, of course.
Like anywhere else in this part of the world, utensils are not so commonly used, so I ate spaghetti with my hands, just like the locals. When in Rome!
I met Ridwaan and Abdi, two restaurant cooks who introduced me to 'shurro,' a popular Somali breakfast dish consisting of corn, milk, and spices!
I also ran into two Italian guys on the beach, the only other tourists I would end up seeing!
Unfortunately, my time spent in Somaliland was cut short by a terrible bout of food poisoning that left me in bed for the better of the next three days.
Somaliland wasn't too bad of a place to get sick, I realized. Strangers came to my aid and brought me ice for my fever and when I went to the hospital, they didn't even charge me a penny to see a doctor and get rehydration salts! Does Somaliland have more affordable healthcare than back home? Sadly, I think yes.
When the fevers, chills, and diarrhea finally stopped, I made my way back to Hargeisa and spent my last day swapping stories over milk tea with Ridwaan and Abdi!
But somehow through the post-sickness haze, I survived the 30 hour bus ride.
On my final night in Africa, I met up with Feleg and Agata (the two Americans I met last month) again in the upscale neighborhood of Bole, and we went to the local 'beer garden' for some good old fashioned Austrian-German sized drinks!