Long and Winding Road
Trip Start Jun 12, 2011
131Trip End Jun 16, 2012
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
Abandoned quarry stockpile
What I did
Marvelled at the amazing countryside
The Scenery in northern Ethiopia is very striking. All day we passed by gorges, pinnacles and seemingly endless mountain passes. The only thing that I can think of which comes close is the Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa, but this was easily more impressive (sorry to all my SA rellies, but at least it's another thing to add to your bucket lists)
Unlike the first world, most roadwork sites in Africa seem free of the health and safety rules which bog us down. Here an excavator had knocked a pile of rock and dirt all the way across the winding mountain road. There were no signs advising of upcoming hazards and noone to control the trickle of oncoming traffic. You just stopped because your path was blocked...simple! We figured that this wouldn't be a quick fix, so we decided to stand around and watch the works for a while. To our amazement, a dozer appeared within 15 minutes to clear the debris. His effort demonstrated why the first world imposes such strict rules. While everyone watched he pushed pile after pile straight over the edge of the mountain and into the valley below. Boulders tumbled into trees and crushed bushes. Hilariously one also knocked over a powerline that ran below. Without blinking an eye he shoved the last of the debris off the edge of the hill, nearly tipping his dozer over at the same time, then turned around and went back to his original task. With the obstruction removed, the delayed traffic jostled to squeeze through the newly formed gap.
This had set us back about an hour, but it was the road itself which was the biggest impediment to progress
We pitched the tent and prepared dinner. We soon began to realise that shapes were materialising in the darkness around us. Torchlight revealed a handful of local villagers who obviously had nothing better to do that watch tourists pitch camp and cook food...kind of like an African "Big Brother" I suppose. The actually helped to entertain us with one of the most insulting gestures I've seen in a while. My bunkmate, "Coogan" cooked up Chilli Con Carne and didn't go light on the chillies. We didn't mind since we were all starving, bu there was a bit left over at the end of the night. As a gesture of kindness we offered this to the (what we assumed were starving) villagers. Their eyes lit up and they gratefully grabbed the pot and all huddled around. About one mouthful later they reappeared and handed the pot back, still full. Not sure how Coogan felt, but we all thought it was hilarious. HAHA.
[156 days on the road]