"New York", Ethiopia
Trip Start Dec 25, 2008
41Trip End Mar 28, 2009
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We started our day with an incredible sunrise and breakfast (unfortunately, no bula fir fir available :() with Endale, Demake, and our friend Hids - we'd met Hids in Lalibela and, just by coincidence, ended up at the same hotel in Arba Minch. We then made our way to the Konso region - about 3 hours south. Our first stop was in a village called Gesergio, also known as "New York", due to the towering sand formations resembling skyscrapers. We weren't sure if we'd be able to go, due to safety reasons, but Endale did some "reconnaissance" and felt that things were ok - apparently, "faranji frenzy" had gone to the extreme in Gesergio, and there had been instances of kids attacking cars if denied water bottles or pens
After Gesergio, we went to Machekie, another Konso village nearby. Walking around the maze of orderly walkways, hemmed in by stone walls and interlocking wood fences, was amazing - set up in such a way for protection and to keep cattle from roaming. There were several compounds in the village, each for a separate clan - we visited the chief's, which included a number of thatch-roofed huts. We then headed to the Konso market - a much livelier one than the Dorze market we'd visited just a couple of days earlier and a feast of colorful, fascinating sights for the eyes
On our way home from the market, we visited a Derashe village, a people located just north of the Konso, and bought some roadside fruit (I think the highlight of Lydia's day). We ended up with a pile of bananas and mangos in the back of the car - as soon as you stop your car on the side or the road, tons of kids run over with bowls of fruit - you've got to buy the whole thing, which still costs next-to-nothing. Following a long, but wonderful, day on the road and with the incredibly interesting Konso people, we wound down back at our hotel. After Lydia left our hut for a minute to check on our laundry, her report back pretty much epitomized much of our trip in Ethiopia: "I have news from the village: our laundry isn't ready yet, the UN is here, and there's a sheep outside." After a lovely dinner at our hotel, we dug into some of the day's fruit "catch" and called it a night . . .