Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ethiopia: Road to Harar, Friday

Photo credit: Ethiopia-Eritrea RPCVs

Arrived at Meskel Square to take the Skybus from Addis to Harar. The bus wasn't full and I didn't have a seatmate.

Scenes from the drive:

Photo credit: Bereketgezahegn
Lake Beseka! The road goes right through it. To my right, in the distance, I see what looks like a magical kingdom on the shore.

I see what the Bradt guide refers to as the Rift Valley Wall, beyond the crumbly, lava leavings amidst bright green foliage. We are close to the Awash National Park.

Tukul villages.

Camel trains. I am entranced by camels - there's a mythology about them that evokes romance, adventure, shivery danger, exotica, and extreme vistas.

The bus driver swerves frequently to avoid camels, cattle, even large birds in the road. I'm toward the back of the bus, so perhaps I feel the swing of our big vehicle more than those in the front. Fortunately, I am not one of those cursed with motion sickness.

A rural cemetery where the graves are large dirt mounds encircled by rocks, with sometimes a "standing" rock set into the mound. Reminds me of what Ayano told me about in the Bale Mountains - if a parent dies and is buried away from home, his children insert rectangular stones into the earth, where they stand in honor of the deceased, each stone representing a child.

Photo credit: Say No to Plastic Bags
As we get closer to Harar, we pass through "blue bag" towns - where blue plastic bags, once filled with fresh chat, litter the roadsides. Ugly.

In one such town, I see women wrapped in fabric the color of semi-precious stones --> turquoise, citrine, amethyst, topaz, lapis lazuli. For good measure, there are also rubies and emeralds.

Fields of chat on hillsides.

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