Flight back to Addis was not until noon so I used my morning to go for a walk around Lalibela. Earl in the day is the best time to watch the local people go about their lives before they seek shelter form the heat of the day. The streets into town were lined with people walking into/from town carrying out their daily chores. Local women appear to be the beasts of burden carrying loads of either wood, heavy sacks of grains or bright yellow large containers for water all on their backs. I noticed that most older women all walk in a permanent hunch. Water is scarce and they will often walk for kilometres to collect some water from the nearly dried up rivers. Children often in tow carrying a smaller 5L bright yellow container. I not sure why but all the water containers are bright yellow. Also sharing the road are pilgrims covered in white shrouds migrating to Lalibela for the Orthodox Easter, shepard boys with their small herd of goats, farmers driving some donkeys carrying their latest crop to the local market and kids resplendent in their purple uniform making their way to school. The nearby fields are being tended by farmers ploughing the fields with a pair of steer in preparation of the wet season.
One kid, I would guess aged around 10, walked wit me for a while. After some polite introductions he proudly told me he knew all the capital cities in Africa & Europe and for me to test him. I started simple with England, quickly he replied London that was too easy. On we went Germany-Berlin, Netherlands-Rotterdam, Portugal-Lisbon, Switzerland-Bern. He was good. I tried to trick him with Luxembourg but he was up to the task Luxembourg City he promptly replied. I tried some Eastern European countries that I wash;t even sure of the answer but he always replied within a few sends. Lastly I said Australia, first he said Vienna but when I clarified the country he said that is not in Europe or Africa but the capital is Canberra. We said our goodbyes at the hotel as it was now time to leave.
Lalibela airport is very small. At the airport before you can enter the terminal you are required to show your ticket and passport t a well armed military guard. Once you have passed this check it is off with your shoes, money belt, belt & even your shirt all which need to pass through the x-ray scanner. Only minutes after checking in my luggage we were called to board. It was 1 hour early and was soon advised by a Norwegian girl who now lives in Ethiopia that local planes leave when they are ready and not to the schedule. Now the boarding gate in no more than 20m from the airport entrance but again I had to take off the shoes, belts and shirt for yet another x-ray scan. I'm not sure what contraband I could have acquired in this 20m!
Back in Addis Ababa my driver Effem invited back to his place to meet his family and join them for the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony. Now you all know I'm not a coffee drinker but is is a honour in Ethiopia to be invited and would be rude to decline the invitation. It was an interesting experience lasting about 40 minutes where the host washes, roasts and finally brews the coffee beans over hot coals. The coffee is thick like turkish coffee. The ritual usually involves drinking 3 cups of coffee but I settled for just the one. Afterwards we visited the Mercato, the largest outdoor market in Africa.
Back breaking work 2
Back breaking work 1
Spices, The Mercato, Addis Ababa
Orhtodox priests, Trinity Church, Addis Ababa