Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Debark, Ethiopia - Do or die time...

Here in downtown Debark (ok, it's a 2 street town), gateway to Simien Mountains National Park. Departure was Gonder was a success. Went early to the bus station (0500) and got a next-to-the-bus driver seat. Too bad I was groggy the whole way. I was unceremoniously dumped in front of the Simiens Park Hotel (40 birr per night).

I checked at the front desk. There are no other farangii checked in. Too bad. I went straight to the National Parks Office to organize the tour. Instead of hiking out 3 days to a place called Chennek and then coming back the same way, I opted for a circuit, trekking out to Chennak from Debark and continue on to a place called Adi Arkay. Adi Arkay lies on the same road as Debark. From Adi Arkay, I'll try to catch a bus back to Debark. There was a short debate over the number of days required (it costs 70 Birr per 48 hours trekking in the Park) but I had to settle for 7 days. Yes, I can't pay for partial 48 hour stints. I hired a mandatory armed guard (aka scout), a mule and it's accompanying muleteer. I met the muleteer on the spot. He doesn't speak a word of English. He has a good hand shake though. We'll be just fine.

Afterwards, I went out to finalize the supplies. Bought some more biscuits, some more tuna, a stove and kerosene . It cost more to rent a stove than to buy a new one.

Like I said before Debark is pretty small town, but the streets were thriving with people milling about. Lots of kleenex kids. There was a wedding in town somewhere. The tradition is to load the guests (in this case about 200 people) onto buses and go up and down the main strip while they scream at the top of their lungs. Quite festive.

I gotta go. It's getting late. I still have to re-pack my bag. Plus it's a really early start...again.

The GPS says Debark is here: N13 09.158 E37 53.914

Out of Canuckistan: A travel blog, Apr 15/07
Buy Bubba a Beer Now!

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