Saturday, October 3, 2009

Ethiopia--Day Three

Poor Dan was sick pretty much this whole day, so I have to write about it instead. This was our greatest adventure day! I convinced the guide our guest house uses to take us to a place called Durba that I had read about in a travel book. I had picked it because it sounded both interesting and somewhat easy to get to. A relative term, as we were to learn. Our guide had never been there, but was willing to try. After driving on a main road out of town—which boasted some great sites because we saw a traditional funeral taking place on the side of the road, and it was “flag day” so we saw a bunch of horses dressed up for what I think was going to be a small parade-type thing—we turned off onto this dirt road.
Just one of the normal sites. So many donkeys!

This is where it got interesting. We would travel for a few minutes, and then our driver, Solomon, or the guide would yell out the window “Durba, Durba” and ask directions. They would keep telling him it was further. Even though it was only an hour out of town, they already spoke enough of a different dialect, that our guide sometimes had a hard time communicating. (I should also mention that the North must be more dangerous because we had to stop twice for police to check the vehicle and ask us where we were going. Our guide had also forgotten to get some vital paperwork from the guest house, so he had to bribe the guards to let us back into the city on our way home.) After doing this for some time, and traveling on a very rough road, we finally made it into Durba where we then found some local willing to show us where the waterfall was—the intended destination. Out of nowhere, we found ourselves driving on the side of a huge ravine. There isn’t much water that flows down the waterfall, but the drop is spectacular.

Also, this was one of those scene from National Geographic because once out of the car, we were surrounded by all the local children who proceeded to follow us everywhere we went. Even more strange was one of the local youths started asking us, in great English, about American politics. Turns out, he is an Ethiopian law student who was home for the summer. At the top of the waterfall, there was a whole family of baboons that we got to get pretty close to and watch for a while—well, as close as I was willing to go.
If you look closely, you can see one of the males, and behind him, many of the village women washing clothes in the river.

By the time we headed back, A had figured out what a novelty American children are (I think they see American tourists every once and awhile, but not American children since both I and A got quite a bit of attention everywhere we went). He would wave at every person we passed through the bus window and revel in how excited people were to wave back at him.

Since Dan was sick—which was not due to the food as I’m sure you are thinking. If it had been the food, we would all have been down, since we all ate the same things, and he didn’t have any of the normal food sickness symptoms—we just went back to the guest house and hung out there. Unfortunately, I don’t think Dan remembers much of this day at all. At the guest house, A, being his normal charming self, got nearly all the workers—a guard, a small boy who must live in the back part of the house, and the driver Solomon—to play different games with him. By the time we left, they were all deeply in love with A. They all gave him hugs and gifts when we left.


Shannan said...

Mike this is so exciting! I can totally relate to everything. How cool that the boy went with you. We took ours as well. What a cool experience and yet it's hard too! Beware..the hard doesn't end when baby comes home. Lots of adjustments still to be had. Good luck. I am really happy for you and still totally jealous of your cool Italian life.
Love Squash

Shannan said...

I meant to say boys...not boy. And sorry I use cool like every other sentence. I need to go to bed! please email me offline when you can. We changed our blog address.