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Ethiopia in Dec 2011/Jan 2012

I am planning to visit Ethiopia in Dec. 2011/Jan 2012. I am from Vienna, Austria, 54 and consider myself kind of a budget traveler although not too bare-bone.

Only set dates are the Orthodox Christmas celebrations in Lalibela on Jan. 7 and I plan to arrive a few days earlier to get settled. Other ideas are doing a bit of English teaching volunteering (I have been teaching E in China for the past 6 years) and all the travels I can get done and afford.

My question is whether anyone is going to be in Ethiopia around that time and would be interested in meeting up, sharing tours, etc. My itinerary is flexible. I am also a photography-aficionado, so that will be one of my purposes as well. Saw some great Ethiopia portfolios by William Palank, Heinz Homatsch and Eric Lafforgue on flickr recently.

Originally I wanted to join David duChemin's workshop which will go to Lalibela in Jan but they are full and also a bit outside my intended price range.

I am open to all kinds of suggestions to fill my approx. 2 months+ in E - volunteering, homestays, trips off the beaten track and general tips and ideas what to do, avoid, what not to miss and what to watch out for, etc.

Thanks and best wishes

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