Psycho caterpillars

Trip Start Jun 08, 2005
Trip End Aug 18, 2005

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Flag of Ethiopia  ,
Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Day the Fourteenth - in which not a lot happens. We see the same stretch of road as two days ago, only from the other side of the bus. Oh, and camels.


Up at 4.30am for a little scuffle in the dark as we tried to find someone to unlock the gate for us. I love these night-time exchanges with a man who is swaddled in a white cloak and doesn't speak any English and is half-asleep...

We walked down to the bus station, where we did our usual 'one on, on off' thing. I stood with the bags at the back waiting for the dude to haul them up, and Stef went to find a seat. Had we known the bag dude would be so...well, male, we would have swapped roles. He wanted 10 birr for each bag, which I was not prepared to give him. He just sneered at me and walked off; his unspoken threat was that he wouldn't take the bags up unless I paid up. So I just stuck my head in the bus, called for Stef, and sat in the seats he had vacated, while he took the bags up himself. Honestly, we were quite prepared to pay what we usually pay - 5 birr for both - but instead they get all puffed up and then they get nothing. Stef stayed outside a while to check that the dude didn't take exception and remove our bags from the roof.
To his credit he didn't. We left at about 6am and throughout the course of the day every bus in the country overtook us. The journey dragged on, not helped by the fact that we'd travelled this road only 2 days previously. We practically crawled all the way to Nazret - I swear we were on the slowest bus in the history of man! There were loads of police roadblocks - presumably to prevent contraband entering from Somalia - so the slowness was compacted by the on, off, start, stop, etc. We weren't ID'd but my bag was searched. When we stopped in the Rift Valley and got off I was once again amazed at how hot it gets there. We didn't eat lunch, only snacked on bread, peanuts and bananas. This was a good choice since having a full stomach on a bumpy long bus ride can be uncomfortable. Either that or it makes you drowsy when combined with the heat and the rocking motion.

We were awake when we passed the lake again, so we managed to get a photo of a herd of camels.

And some dramatic green-on-black volcanic landscape

I love the scaffolding they use in developing countries - bamboo or eucalyptus or whatever local materials they can get hold of.

And adverts are often painted by hand onto walls and the sides of shops and bars.

We got to Nazret at 3.30pm and had to get a minibus to get to the hotel. It was nice - well, it had a good shower and 2 beds and that made it heaven. While we were showering it started raining, so we headed out in our raincoats to find food. The place we had chosen turned out not to serve food anymore, and the next hour was spent trying to find somewhere that did. We found a bakery with some pretty yummy bread so we bought some for tomorrow's bus. Continuing on, we turned down a side street and ended up in a courtyard area with some rough seating. People were eating injera! Yey! We sat down and when the guy came to take our order, he recommended the special - kitfo. Raw meat? Oh why not... As it was, it tasted great and when we got back to our room we discovered that we'd accidentally stumbled upon 'the best kitfo in the country' according to the guidebook. One of the things that came with it was some strange grey doughy things the thickness of thin-sliced bread. On further investigation we have found it is called kocho and it's made from the ensete, or false-banana plant. Fascinating huh?.
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