Thursday, April 10, 2008

Lalibela - Werota, Ethiopia - Another butt kicking road...


just some pix of the crew. to the left is the assistant driver of the truck i was in. he was fluent in english after i was done with the hitch...






another day at the office for bubba...

Everything is for sale, even friendship.
- Farangi Rule of Acquistion #121.

Hard day @ the office. 14 hour transit day. Started at 0600 with a 28 birr landcruiser ride to Gashena, a nothing collection of desperate huts located at the junction of the Lalibela and Woldia/Werota highway. In Gashena, I met up with the Spanish for unfortunately, the last time. Antonio and I would have breakfast (scrambled eggs and bread). It wasn't till 1100 that a "friend" (actually an annoying tout that was after a "tip" - I really hate these guys who push their way into a transaction. This has happened several times in the last while. I'll have to be more vigilant and less swayed by these touts because I'm taken to the cleaners each time) helped me find a ride to Werota. Werota is located about halfway between Bahir Dar and Gonder. The ride turned out to be convoy of 2 Isuzu trucks with a crew of five. The asking price was 60 Birr to Woreta. A little pricey but I figured I had to take it considering my already 2 hr. wait and my usual luck at hitching rides. My personal average waiting time for a hitch is 4 to 5 hours. Btw, Luis and Antonio waited about a half hour for a ride to Woldia in a comfy farangi car (a vw bug). I wished I had that kind of luck. I climbed on board while they strapped my back pack to the load. Before long, I realized that I had signed on with the slowest Isuzus in all of Ethiopia. As I found out later, they were hauling a massive load of concrete mix!! Reminded me of the time I was hitching in Tibet with trucks loaded with rocks. The crew guys were pretty nice. I was lucky the driver was pretty cautious. The scenery was spectacular. It was obvious we were on top of a plateau of rolling pasture land. Occasionally, we caught glimpses of the gorges surrounding us. Just before sunset we descended a thousand metres onto the lowlands which seemed to stretch forever into the horizon. Dramatically jutting out of the plains was a Lord of the Rings-esque, solitary, massive monolith (a Ethiopian version of the Devil's Thumb). I was really hurtin' by 1900h. The road and cramp conditions took their toll on the ol' body. I had been pretty chatty most of the day, giving the driver's assistant English lessons. As the sunset waned, verbosity gave way to silent meditation (my mantra is usually "it's not so bad...we're almost there" in response to the pain). At 8 PM, in the pitch dark, we hit tarmac. Soon, the lights of Woreta were close. I felt so relieved. The crew put me up at a great hotel for 25 Birr, the local price. Bonus.

The GPS reading for Werota was N11 55.557 E37 41.733.

Out of Canuckistan: A travel blog, Apr 10/07
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2 comments:

Steve H. said...

Any decision on Eritrea yet?

The ark is in Aksum, housed in the St. Mary of Zion church. You'll need all of your adventurer skills to sneak past security.

bubba said...

steve h.,

I think I'm going to keep the Eritrean option open for now... As for the ark, the ethiopians are probably charging a hefy ticket price for a sneak peek. can't stomach that...