Sunday, March 23, 2008

Turme to Arba Minch - Outta da Omo...


Adi posing in front of our sweet ride outta the Omo valley...

Our first encounter with Ethiopian tourists: the girl named Sue (left), her boyfriend Haile (right).

Deep down, everyone's a Farangi.
Farangi Rule of Acquisition #284

This must be at least the sixth ho-house I've had the pleasure of staying in on this trip. Oh how I love the ho-houses. The house music in the adjoining dance hall is blasting and the ho's are lined up on the veranda. What a classic scene. Hi ladies... I'm gonna die if I have to stay another night.

Another long day on the road. Early start in Turme at around 0630. Adi was able to line up a hitch on a landcruiser last night. We just had to share with an Ethiopian couple from Addis: Haile (a very popular name in Ethiopia by the way) and his girlfriend Sue (ok, I forgot her name). It was really interesting traveling with them even if it was for a day. They stopped the vehicle a couple of times to do some shopping right out the window of the landcruiser. Sue bought amongst other things, necklaces made of hundreds of cockroach wings (really cool), brass/copper bracelets (right off the wrist of a Hamer woman - I guess everything was up for grabs for a price...), and fist-sized lumps of black crap which was supposed to be burned as incense ( I thought they were cow patties). Anyway, Haile was an waterworks engineering student at the university in Arba Minch.

Initially, we asked for a ride to Konso but changed our minds when we found out they were going to Arba Minch. So, with one fell swoop, we'd be clear of the Omo. The road was really nice up to Abore, then degraded only to improve dramatically before Konso. Suffice to say, the entire way was a construction project that would see a paved road extending from Konso to Jinka. Adi said it was going to take another 1 to 2 years to lay down the tarmac. Definitely a good/bad news proposition. On one hand the infrastructure improves, but at a huge cost to the indigenous peoples of Omo. Roads bring easier access. Easier access brings more tourists, internal immigration, and, therefore external cultural influences. I personally saw the impact of limited tourism already. Not pretty. Adi expects tribes like the Mursi and their culture to disappear within a decade. Even though he depends on them for his livelihood he seems resigned to the fact that things change (for the worse in this case).

Not sure how I felt about my visit to the Omo. Money, and the thirst of it, tainted the experience somewhat. But then money makes the world go round and these people are the poorest of the poor in the Ethiopia. What would I do in their shoes (or lack thereof) if some fat cat farangi came snooping around? My recommendation is if you want to see what's left of a big chunk of traditional culture in Africa get here before it gone.

Got to Arba Minch before sundown only to find myself booked into a ho-house.

Arba Minch is here: N06 02.020 E037 33.493.

Out of Canuckistan: A travel blog, Mar 23/07
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3 comments:

Steve H. said...

Change is good. The sooner they get that highway built the better. Time to leave the Stone Age behind and get with the program. The women will probably be happy they don't have to have the dinner plate stuffed into their lip anymore too.

bubba said...

steve, i'm shakin' my head real good right now. can't believe what's spewing out of yo mouth? must be the progressive part of the conservative coming out. oh ya, you guys ain't progressive anymo', eh?

Steve H. said...

Never were, except for poor old Joe and we all know he was in the wrong party to begin with.