Friday, April 04, 2008

Addis Ababa to Dessie - On the road again...

So nice to be back on the road again. I'm on my way to Lalibela, home of Ethiopia's greatest group of rock-hewn churches. It's going to take two days on the bus to get there, overnighting in a hick town called Dessie.

As with all bus trips in Ethiopia, it was a very early start this morning. Got to the gigantic Addis bus station at 0430. It was quite busy already. I loaded up on snacks bought from the few vendors lining the road and made my way to the gates. I mentioned where I was going and the station gatekeeper let me in. I think it was because my farangi status. At least I found my bus before the stampede.

I sat in the bus for the longest time, bathed for a while in a cloud of toxic exhaust. I looked out the back door and saw a white guy. He stood there for the longest time. Surely he must be going my way, I thought. Why would any farangi be out here in the dead of dawn? The bus was about to move was when he jumped on board. He took his place, sitting on a cannister of cooking oil in the aisle. Turned out he was an Aussie. Jesse was his name.

The scenery again was just incredible: multiple airy passes traversed, tremendous views of spiny ridges that jutted from the surrounding scorched earth, spine-tingling/hair raising descents into dry, arid valleys. The descent down to Debre Sinn, for lunch was pretty dramatic. We dropped over 1 km in no time flat, hoping the bus' brakes wouldn't give out on one of the innumerable switch backs.

Eight hours later and we were in Dessie. In pouring rain, I teamed up with Jesse to find a room in a local hotel adjacent to the bus yard. In Ethiopian fashion each floor had an assigned goat.

Tomorrow's another early start...should get my elbows sharpened and ready for the stampede.

Out of Canuckistan: A travel blog, Apr 4/07
Buy Bubba a Beer Now!

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