I had about given up on a side trip, as everything moves so slowly here and I've been pretty lazy about pre-planning. But I got up early today, walked to the Ethiopian Airlines office near our guest house in Addis Ababa, the New Flower Guest House, and booked a return ticket from Dire Dawa on Friday at noon (only $40!!). That means I'm motivated to figure out the rest of it, working backwards. I'm thinking I'll take a mini-bus from Addis to Harar (anywhere from 6-12 hours, depending on who you're talking to). That should give me a good feeling for the countryside between. Or, I might spring for a private car rental and guide, which would mean that I could stop off along the way at interesting villages and at Awash National Park. I still need to find a place to stay in Harar, but I'm sure it'll work out fine once I get there.
I'm really looking forward to strolling the old town markets, Harar is supposed to dazzle your senses with color and character. It's one of the most strongly Muslim feeling towns in Ethiopia, I hear, which will be an interesting experience. I'm also hoping to feed hyenas with the Hyena man of Harar. Woo-hoo! I don't think I'll have time for internet, but will try to update again on Saturday after I return to Addis.